Organizational Budget Narrative (Please include any additional information or context about the organization’s financial situation you wish to share.):


BSM seeks multiple sources of funding to support general operating and program specific expenses. Historically, funding sources have included various foundations, corporations, faith-based institutions, and individual donors. In 2014 BSM received a $3.5 million challenge award, paid out between 2014 and 2017, to expand the Hospitality Collaborative, our flagship program. Part of that funding was reserved to increase our development staffing to establish a larger budget to sustain our growth. Since then, we’ve continued to make gains annually across all revenue streams. In 2014 we raised $227,000; in 2018 we gained new philanthropic supporters across all revenue streams, allowing us to raise $2,253,655. We continued this upward trend in 2019 with a streamlined development department and increased focus on individual donors, events, and foundations. As we navigate an increasingly challenging economic landscape alongside increased COVID-19 related essential costs and growing demand, your partnership remains critical.



Please signify the type of support you are requesting from Life Science Cares:


Programming (new or expanded)


Project Title:


Hospitality Collaborative


Total Project Budget (if applicable):




Requested Amount:




In which Life Science Cares Area of Focus is the requested project’s work?


Basic Human Survival


Description of Need (What is the issue you plan to address? What are the demographics and number of people you plan to serve, if applicable?):


Poverty, unemployment, and hunger are critical issues in Philadelphia. The city is burdened with debilitating poverty rates that rank Philadelphia the poorest of America’s 10 biggest cities, and the city with the highest deep-poverty rate. More than one in five Philadelphians are food insecure. The Hospitality Collaborative (HC) addresses the needs of these vulnerable Philadelphia residents. The majority of our HC guests are currently homeless or housing insecure and lack even the most basic needs: food, clothing, shelter. In 2019 the HC served approximately 6,191 individuals: 79% have lived on the streets or in a shelter for a year or more; 62% have a criminal background; 57% have been diagnosed with mental illness; 49% have a disability; and 27% report substance abuse disorder (with many more choosing not to disclose). Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic we were already growing increasingly concerned about on-going threats to our nation’s social safety net programs, including SNAP, Medicare, and Medicaid, the very programs our guests rely on the most to regain stability. Philadelphians were falling through the gaps in these programs, reflected in the uptick in our services: compared to 2018, meals served increased by 12% in 2019 to 71,116; 9% more guests sought mail services, jumping to 5,015; and onsite medical visits more than doubled to 1,770.

Today, COVID-19 is creating significant strain – exacerbating the challenges of vulnerable Philadelphians and taxing an overburdened social safety net system. A June Northwestern University study found that food insecurity in the nation had doubled overall since the pandemic despite the stimulus measures. According to Feeding America, Philadelphia hunger rates will jump from 16.3% in 2018 (the most current data available), to 21.2% in 2020 due to the pandemic. Without help, many of our guests are unable to progress towards a more stabilized status, including securing housing and employment or gaining access to appropriate behavioral and medical health care.

Specific Activities (Please detail what activities you intend to undertake as a result of the grant. Include information about service delivery and timelines.):


The HC addresses the needs of extremely vulnerable Philadelphians through three primary activities, all delivered through a trauma-informed approach and in compliance with CDC social distancing guidelines: 1) Meals: Nutritious meals are served 5 times per week to an average 370 adults per meal. 2) Basic Needs: The ability of our trauma-informed approach to decrease anxiety while fostering trust encourages our guests to access services offered in tandem with our meals, including personal care items, clothing, assistance with ID procurement, and a mail service, currently serving over 3,000 Philadelphians, which allows our guests to prove residency, seek employment, and obtain public benefits. 3) Case Management Services: A team of 3 case managers and 5 interns help guests connect to stabilizing services and supports, including medical and behavioral health services; public benefits and legal assistance; workforce development; COVID testing; and housing assistance, including quarantine housing for guests testing positive for COVID-19. During normal operations (pre-pandemic), these services are provided on-site through collaborating partners, who work in partnership with our case managers to ensure coordinated, comprehensive care. Today, our case managers support telehealth access to these partners for our guests and continue to coordinate care.

Evaluation (What are the anticipated results? What methods will you use to measure your progress? What does success look like?):


BSM launched a comprehensive evaluation program in 2013 under the guidance of consultants from Yale Medical School and through a grant from the Scattergood Foundation. The evaluation program is guided by a theory of change: An individual’s feelings of support, hope, and safety are directly linked to the likelihood of accessing and benefiting from social services. While many support systems and services are available in Philadelphia, research, and our own anecdotal evidence, suggests that our ability to develop trust and meaningful relationships with our guests leads them to seek and use stabilizing services. Our measurement process is comprised of annual surveying, beginning with a statistically significant sample of guests to gather demographic data, a needs assessment, and preliminary outcomes. Initial outcomes from our 2014 sample were consistent with our logic model: there is a positive relationship between length of attendance at the HC and participation in stabilizing services, receipt of benefits, and positive outcomes. This measurement process has been repeated annually since 2015 and results remain compelling. Compared to their HC peers who have been coming for a shorter period of time, the longer guests participate in the HC the more likely they are to access on-site services; be enrolled in SNAP and Medicare/Medicaid benefits; and have higher membership, emotional connection, overall sense of community, and safety scores. Guests who attend the HC more frequently (3 or more days per week) are more likely to be housed than homeless and have higher hope scores. We are encouraged by these findings and their implications on the success of our trauma-informed approach to service delivery. By addressing our guests’ most critical immediate needs, within the framework of a trauma-informed service delivery model, we are proving that our guests can attain stability, housing, and an improved quality of life.

Does this project already have support from life science companies? If so, what is the nature of that support? BSM is grateful for the past support of Life Science Cares.


In 2019, we received a $10,000 award for the Hospitality Collaborative. In addition, Life Science Cares generously awarded BSM with two grants in 2020—one for $40,000 and the other for $75,000. This support towards general operating expenses helped us to keep our doors open and crucial life-sustaining services available to our guests during the onset of the pandemic.



Is there any other information not captured elsewhere regarding your organization, project, program or initiatives that you believe will help the Life Science Cares team in evaluating your request?


The Coronavirus pandemic has been the most challenging issue we have faced since our inception. Our initial programmatic response to COVID-19 included installation of hand-washing stations outside our building as well as in four other locations across the city. After washing their hands, guests entered our building and received a packaged to-go meal, instead of our usual sit-down meal. Pre-packaged essential personal care items were also provided, including hand sanitizer, feminine hygiene products, adult diapers, underwear, and socks. Demand for meals increased by over 60% in just a few short weeks as Philadelphia entered a hunger crisis among the closure of other critical food providers. Staff was working long hours at a fast pace in makeshift masks to assist 500+ individuals daily. Keeping staff and guests safely distanced became untenable. On April 13, in collaboration with Project Home, Prevention Point Philadelphia, and SEAMAAC, we launched the Step Up to the Plate initiative, moving our most life-sustaining operations (food, personal care, mail service) outdoors. Additional partnerships between caterers and human services organizations across the city has helped Step Up to the Plate serve over 300,000 meals across the city since its launch in April. Well over 2,500 meals are being distributed weekly.

Through multiple hubs across the city, guests are receiving bagged meals. Collectively, hubs are serving meals every day of the week. Many hubs also provide access to health care and COVID-19 screenings; hand washing stations; personal care items, clothing, and face masks; assistance with stimulus funds, census completion, and voter registration; mail service; and through city outreach and case management services, guests are getting help with housing, benefits, unemployment, identification, and behavioral health services. By gaining access to these services, thousands of our neighbors are maintaining their stability while others have been able to enter the health care system, perhaps for the first time, or improve their housing status.

Today, we are entering a new phase of pandemic operations. We are continuing to provide outdoor meals to an average 370 people each day, and managing a safe flow of guests in and out of our building to provide socially distanced access to clothing, personal care, mail service, and case management services, including access to benefits and identification procurement. We are grateful to our many philanthropic supporters who helped us weather the immediate financial impact of COVID-19. Our continuing challenge is to meet the increased need and demand for meals and services alongside increased operational expenses for COVID-19 related equipment and supplies as the economy continues to falter.


How does your organization or program differentiate from other organizations doing similar work? Are you executing or proposing to execute an innovation in program or service?


BSM has a niche role in Philadelphia – we are a well-established "first responder" for vulnerable populations, and we provide these services through a unique collective impact model that combines the resources and strengths of best-in-class Philadelphia service providers to effectuate transformative change. Our programming promotes community and civic engagement and supports the social framework of our flagship program, the Hospitality Collaborative (HC). Based on numerous studies about the link between poverty, trauma, and social isolation, BSM employs an innovative, trauma-informed model of care to mitigate the traumatic effects of living with chronic scarcity. When guests visit they find they are welcomed, there is enough for them, and this is a safe space that does not cause anxiety. Feeling an increased sense of safety, trust, and engagement with others, they develop a sense of hope and begin accessing the stabilizing services offered in tandem with our meals. Our ability to foster trusting relationships is a primary key to our success.

As we continue to manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, BSM remains committed to addressing hunger and poverty in Philadelphia and supporting our most vulnerable neighbors as they progress towards improved stability and quality of life. Access to medical care and COVID-19 testing and treatment; access to specialized services for returning citizens; and access to eligible benefits, including mail service and identification services remain priority areas for service expansion. As we continue to manage safe social distancing requirements, developing telehealth options for our guests is an area of future growth. We are also bracing for an expected massive wave of behavioral health needs. BSM case managers have caseloads that are twice as large as they were at this time last year. BSM will have an important role in addressing behavioral health concerns in individuals experiencing deep poverty and housing insecurity in the coming months and years.