A Helping Hand: How Are Nonprofits Impacting Our Communities?


Aaron Gibbs and Jenny Roberts are setting out to find the people, places, and stories behind Philadelphia’s Nonprofit organizations.
Photo Credit: Jayna Schaffer

Aaron Gibbs is a senior at Temple University studying Journalism. When he’s not writing, you’ll find he spends most of his free time online shopping, reading fashion blogs or watching sports. “Finding new heaters on SoundCloud” is also a passion of his, which has come in quite handy while DJ’ing house parties. Previously, Aaron has interned for Live Nation during the Made in America Festival in 2016. Currently, he is interning for the Philadelphia Eagles Web Team for their 2017 season.

Jenny Roberts is a dual major senior at Temple University, majoring in journalism and political science. As the supervising editor at The Temple News, she spends a majority her time deleting oxford commas from writers’ drafts. She enjoys covering education, art and culture stories. She’s previously interned at The Reading Eagle, a newspaper in Berks County. Aside from her journalistic duties, Jenny can be found eating Mexican food or watching historical TV dramas on Netflix.

Current coverage of Philadelphia’s nonprofit organizations:

Other than the city’s prominent news publications erratic coverage (such as Philly.com), many reports of Philadelphia’s nonprofit community comes via Generocity.org, a news site devoted to reporting the local impact of non-profits, while also providing those looking for positions in local non-profit organizations with the access to apply for them. The Philanthropy Network of Greater Philadelphia connects philanthropists in the Philadelphia area in order to put together non-profit organizations, but doesn’t cover the events members end up putting together.

Why the topic needs more coverage:

As Journalists, one of our main goals is to inform the public and shine a light on issues within our communities. While nonprofits give their best effort in this area, our platform is larger and can reach a wider audience. If journalists have the opportunity to help assist nonprofit organizations in spreading their message, while also reporting the problems in communities, it will enable more individuals to be supported in their life goals and live more comfortably through nonprofits.

We’re the right people to cover this because:

Aaron has always had a passion for helping others and has seen what non profits have been able to do for communities and institutions from a distance. Covering this beat allow him to interact with non-profit organizations behind the scenes, cover their events in Philadelphia communities, and get a real sense for how these organizations all come together.

Jenny is passionate about reporting in the community and a beat on nonprofit organizations would allow her tackle that head on. Also interested in the issues of social justice, Jenny sees nonprofits as a way for her to report on individuals who have the same the spirit.

Three interesting ideas we hope to explore:

Philly Aids Thrift: Nestled right off the busy South Street strip, Philly Aids Thrift has been a fixture in the South Philadelphia/Center City area since 2005. But, I have heard rumblings about dwindling profits for the aids fund that it supports around the city. Are these reports true? How much did they donate last year compared to previous years? How are store profits? New initiatives for fundraising in the near future, and if so, how can people be apart of it?

Philadoptables: Philadoptables is a nonprofit that helps out local rescues with their mission to save animals in need. Philadoptables provides needed supplies, monetary support, and helps raise awareness for animals in need. How are they contacted to help out these different rescues? How do they select which ones to aid, and which ones not to? Do they hold events themselves to raise funds (so they can continue to provide monetary support)? If so, how can people be apart of them.

Art-Reach: Over the past 23 years, Art-Reach has been committed to increasing community access to the arts for underprivileged individuals in the Philadelphia area (of all ages). Programs such as the ticketing program (providing donated and/or discounted tickets to people that other wise wouldn’t be able to attend these events) and their In-Facility program (bringing the arts to participating schools and other various agencies) are just two ways Art-Reach is bringing the arts to those who would otherwise not have had the opportunity to experience the them. What some events they bring through their programs? How can individuals get involved? What is the story behind its creating? What have been some difficulties the organization has run into over its 23 years? How have they overcome them?

These are all organizations and questions we’d love to delve into while on this beat.

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