We are the Adam and Maria Sarah Seybert Foundation for Poor Boys and Girls of Philadelphia, or “The Seybert Foundation” for short.
- Founded in 1914 as the Adam and Maria Sarah Seybert Institution for Poor Boys and Girls, an independent foundation that makes grants to nonprofits serving disadvantaged children and youth in the city of Philadelphia.
- Ten-member volunteer Board of Directors and one staff member
- In 2013, the Board voted to make all grants in the form of General Operating Support, in recognition of the scarcity of this type of funding for nonprofits. (Seybert works to encourage other funders to consider providing Gen Op funding)
From the earliest days…
In the 1910s, Seybert Trustees worked in partnership with Children’s Aid Society and the Society to Protect Children from Cruelty to address homelessness among Philadelphia’s children, founding a permanent home known as Children’s Village. Seybert’s Board determined “to help, rather than to compete, with existing agencies and to meet, if possible, the demands for immediate care for short periods,” working with children in crisis and seeking placements in stable home situations.
In 1918, Seybert’s Board recognized that there was a need for better diagnosis and treatment of the mental health of traumatized children in its temporary shelters, and it worked to establish and fund a Department of Child Study in Philadelphia, consisting of a psychological clinic and a day school for children in the shelter system, an effort that continued through 1924, and led to developments in child guidance throughout the city.
Into the 21st Century…
In one of the most meaningful strategic shifts in the foundation’s century of giving, in 2013 Seybert’s Board of Directors converted its grantmaking program to one focused on providing exclusively General Operating support. Recognizing the need for flexible dollars, Seybert directs its General Operating grants to smaller-sized organizations primarily dedicated to benefiting Philadelphia’s disadvantaged children and youth.
In 2017, Seybert Foundation completed a historic merger with another small foundation, the Western Association, to combine our charitable assets and lower our collective overhead for maximum grantmaking impact.
With 1 in 3 of Philadelphia’s children living at or below the poverty level, the need for our funding is dire. The need for us to coordinate our efforts is even greater.
Trends we’re seeing in funding requests related to children:
- Safety & Violence/Trauma
- Incarceration and its effects
- Health- both physical and mental
- Reduction of services/opportunities in public schools
- Changing demographics of the City
- Always learning about emerging needs…
This is the goal of small funders like Seybert, whose real potential lies in connecting with (and forging connections among) nonprofit partners who know the landscape and can conceive solutions. “1+ 1= 3″
Maintaining a diverse Board
Seybert strives to recruit Board members who have real, meaningful connections to the population we serve, whether through their professional expertise, their personal backgrounds, or both.
Learning through Partners
Did you know?
The bell that sits in the tower of Independence Hall was a gift of the Foundation’s founder, Henry Seybert, to the City of Philadelphia on the occasion of the centennial of the Declaration of Independence in 1876. (The original Liberty Bell, famously cracked, was moved at that time.)