The West Philly Coalition for Neighborhood Schools (WPCNS) was formed in June of 2010 with the aim of bringing our vibrant community and all of its resources into our local neighborhood public schools. Members of the original leadership spent a year visiting local neighborhood public schools, getting to know their principals, staff, and parent communities. In May of 2011, WPCNS made the decision to focus – at least temporarily – on the Lea School in recognition of both the potential for partnership with Lea’s school community as well as the WPCNS’s relatively limited capacity as an all-volunteer organization. In 2012, WPCNS filed for and received 501(c)3 status from the IRS, which enabled the organization to apply for and receive more and larger grants, including the Philadelphia Water Department’s Stormwater Management Incentives Program (SMIP) for the Greening Lea project.
Over the years, WPCNS’s board members have changed and become enmeshed in the Lea School community as parents, faculty, and outside program partners. At the same time, community members have always been welcome to share information about other local neighborhood schools and their needs on WPCNS’s Facebook and email list as long as the schools are district-managed.
Earlier this month, WPCNS filed its annual 990 return with the IRS, including reviewed financial statements prepared by an independent accountant. The organization now has two years of such statements, an important and not inexpensive grant eligibility milestone as many foundations limit their giving to nonprofits with multiple years of such verified financial documentation.
With this important organizational milestone achieved as well as the recent completion of the Greening Lea project’s largest phase, the board of WPCNS has been reflecting deeply on the future of the organization, its structure, and scope. The board is exploring how best to continue to strengthen our partnership and support of the Lea School, while considering how the organization’s potentially increased grant eligibility could be brought into ever larger service of our overall mission.
At this time, however, the board is not ready to make any further announcements. From our experiences over the last six years, we are highly aware of the importance of being respectful, thoughtful, and deliberate in our approach. As discussions continue over the next several board meetings, we hope to have more information to share in early 2017. In the interim, we welcome ideas for concrete action and encourage neighbors to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Amara Rockar, President
- Erin McLeary, Vice President
- Molly McGlone, Secretary
- Dell Steckel, Treasurer
- Ancil George, At-Large Board Member