THE SIMPLE WAY

together cultivating a neighborhood we can be proud of

Philadelphia, PA   |  www.TheSimpleWay.org

Mission

Our mission is to cultivate a neighborhood and a world where all belong and thrive together by encouraging people to come alive in their gifts and purpose, building beloved community across all dividing lines, and advocating for justice. We desire to care, support and bolster our immediate neighbors in Kensington through listening, learning and invitation, knowing that the story of our work locally necessitates us to equip and active others to become compassionately involved in neighborhoods and communities across the country and world. Values: Collaboration: rooted in solidarity Radical Hospitality: intentional community, generosity and presence Generative Diversity: practicing inclusion that moves towards wholeness Action Oriented Justice: learning, activism and service

Ruling year info

1998

Executive Director

Caz Tod-Pearson

Main address

P.O. Box 14751

Philadelphia, PA 19134 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

23-2936437

NTEE code info

Christian (X20)

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

Emergency Assistance (Food, Clothing, Cash) (P60)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Throughout the nation, about 12 percent of people are food insecure — lacking enough food in a year to lead a healthy life, according to data from Feeding America in Chicago, the largest hunger-relief nonprofit in the country. In Philadelphia, it’s 21 percent. In North Philadelphia, food insecurity runs as high as 30 percent. In addition, our neighborhood of Kensington is "the largest open air market for heroin on the east coast" (https://web.archive.org/web/20200616075641/https://housingalliancepa.org/trapped-by-the-walmart-of-heroin/). Residents here often don't have the means to move elsewhere in the city, and are exposed to trauma daily.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Food Choice Pantry

Four mornings a week, we welcome neighbors to our Food Choice Pantry so they can select groceries. The pantry runs Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 9:30 – 12:00 pm, and on Fridays for seniors by appointment. All are welcome to come to our building, although there may be a wait to ensure every person has space and time to choose the foods they want. In lieu of money, every person who comes gets a point allotment they can use to “spend” in the store for their families and themselves.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups
Economically disadvantaged people
Adults
Children and youth

Where we work

Awards

Healthy Pantry Initiative Hero 2021

Philabundance

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Average number of service recipients per month

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Food Choice Pantry

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of meals served or provided

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Food Choice Pantry

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Calculated in pounds of food given out

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Together we want to cultivate a neighborhood we can be proud of, and we want our neighbors to thrive. We do that through providing access to resources, green spaces, and celebrations.

Our main mode of resource support is through our food choice pantry, which helps folks become more food secure. We know that to address food insecurity, the available food options must be nutritious, fresh, and unprocessed, the food must be affordable, and people must have reliable access to nutritious food at all times.

We also want to increase the number of green spaces in our community, not only to beautify the neighborhood but also to create a sustainable supply of fresh produce for our food choice pantry.

In addition, we want to encourage hope in our community. We don't want a lack of resources to be what keeps people from being able to celebrate together.



We currently have a food choice pantry, where we see close to 150 individuals shop each week. Through our pantry, while people are waiting to shop, we do our best to connect neighbors to other resources as we can. Last year we shared over 150,000 pounds of food with the community. We have worked to create consistent access for individuals to choose food that they will use and enjoy. We work to introduce new items, and provide examples of how these items might be used. We use signage to help direct people to healthier choices, and give folks as much fresh produce as we can or have to share. We also work hard to reliably provide staples so that families and individuals know what they can rely on from us, so they may be able to reallocate money/resources they would have had to spend on these things on other things.

We currently partner with Philadelphia Fight to provide free COVID testing and vaccination in our gardens once a week.

We have two vegetable gardens, and a park space that we care for and maintain. We're expanding our growing capabilities to use our own produce to share through our food distribution.

Pre-COVID, we hosted neighborhood celebrations around different holidays and significant occasions. Since COVID, we've changed the ways we do these, mostly by providing neighbors with some of the resources they might need to do it themselves. For example, in the past we've put book bags together for a back to school event. In 2020 we set up a 'school shop' where folks that come to our food pantry, could also choose the supplies their kids needed. We did the same for Thanksgiving, and Easter (provided items folks needed/wanted for these celebrations).

Each year we host a Christmas Toy Store. Neighbors register, are given a time slot, and come and shop for toys for their children. Many of the same people finding support for food participated in this store, too.

We also have a partnership with Eastern University to provide one full scholarship for a traditional student and one 50% discounted scholarship for an adult non-traditional student each year. While Eastern provides the scholarship for tuition, we provide support with books and other necessities. We have had 7 scholars graduate since the inception of this partnership.

As a hyper-local organization, we are literally in the middle of the neighborhood we serve. We have local residents that work and volunteer with us, and our Executive Director is also a local resident. This allows us to truly listen to our neighbors and respond to their actual needs. In addition, we partner with other local organizations (like Philabundance and Esperanza Health Center) which increases our capabilities for meeting our goals.

In 2021, we gave away over 280,000 pounds of food to our neighbors. We served 7,741 adults, 1,604 seniors, and 5,171 children through our Food Choice Pantry. We added 1 additional food pantry open day, including appointment times to accommodate our senior community members. We hired a staff person, Christina Arroyo. She is the fifth person from our neighborhood to be added to our staff! We built a ramp to allow for easier access into the building for people with carts or who use assistive devices. We built 3 new garden beds to grow more fresh produce to share through our Food Choice Pantry. And in December, we had almost 100 adults shop from over 800 donated toys for their children.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    People most impacted by our work are representative of the demographics of the neighborhood. About 40% Latinx, 40% African American, 15% White, and 5% Asian and other. They are poor and working class people living in the 19134 zip code. We see seniors, married couples with children, single parents, individuals, and those experiencing homelessness coming to our food distribution and neighborhood celebrations. We don’t gather other specific demographic information from people as they come in, but speculatively the majority of folks we see participating in our food distribution have not received higher education, and many of them are unemployed or underemployed.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    in person meetings/conversations,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    When elderly people waited in line for their turn in the food choice pantry, they let us know that they would get tired from standing for so long. They also told us that it can be difficult to take their carts full of food out of the door when they're done shopping. In response, we created an additional day for our food choice pantry that is open only to those aged 65 and older and has appointment times available, we installed benches outside so people could sit if they have to wait, and we installed a ramp to make it easier for people to take their carts out after they finish shopping.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Asking for feedback allows us to hear what our neighbors actually need and want, rather than leadership of the organization just assuming that our ideas are the best. There have been times where we came up with ideas that we thought our neighbors would love, but the feedback they gave us allowed us to see where we needed to go in a different direction.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection,

Financials

THE SIMPLE WAY
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

THE SIMPLE WAY

Board of directors
as of 06/13/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Leroy Barber

The Voices Project

Shane Claiborne

Red Letter Christians

Taehoo Lee

Coz Crosscombe

Michelle Campellone

Leroy Barber

The Voices Project

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 5/11/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/11/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.