Invigorating Civic Life

  • March 05, 2018

The Pew Charitable Trusts applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public, and invigorate civic life, as these recent accomplishments illustrate.

Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia

Philadelphia's Broad Street Ministry offers up free meals five days a week to people in need. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Care for the vulnerable

Those in the Philadelphia region who need the most help—disadvantaged children, youth, and their families and the frail elderly—receive assistance from organizations best equipped to serve them. The Pew Fund for Health and Human Services identifies such nonprofits and has awarded more than 300 of them some $230 million to help make a difference in the lives of needy Philadelphians through approaches grounded in evidence-based best practices and years of experience.

Arts and culture

How can a city’s arts and cultural life be invigorated? By supporting the bold initiatives of organizations with a record of success. Since 2005, the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage has helped foster a vibrant cultural community by granting more than $89 million to artists and arts and cultural institutions in Greater Philadelphia, such as the Philadelphia Zoo, Opera Philadelphia, The Franklin Institute, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Penn Museum at the University of Pennsylvania. Each year, the center also awards Pew fellowships in the arts, supporting the growth of visual artists, writers, choreographers, and other types of artists—including two who went on to win Pulitzer Prizes. The investment in ambitious, imaginative projects that showcase the region’s cultural vitality and enhance public life has, to date, enabled some 5.5 million people to experience more than 2,700 cultural events, including exhibitions, performances, and history programs.

Trust Magazine Winter 2018

Tourists visiting the Liberty Bell Center at night linger beside the iconic symbol, which sits across the street from Independence Hall (reflected in the window). (Joe Sohm/Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)

U.S. history in Philadelphia

The rebuilding of Independence Mall, involving public and private partners, revitalized a landmark with special meaning not only for Philadelphia but also for the nation. Parts of the Mall, first built in the 1950s, had become underused and had fallen into disrepair decades later. Starting in the 1990s, Pew and partners began a renaissance, and by 2006 three important civic buildings—the National Constitution Center, the Independence Visitor Center, and the new Liberty Bell Center—and updated landscaping had restored the Mall to the beautiful and vibrant place first envisioned half a century ago.