Why do you feel it’s important for your business to support our area’s nonprofits?
At LINKBANK, we are thrilled to be catalysts of positively investing in building strong communities and championing a greater community impact. LINKBANK’s mission is to positively impact lives through community banking. The founding shareholders desired to create an avenue for continually evaluating and supporting the greatest needs in our region. In response, The LINK Foundation was established as a separate legal entity and with a distinct Board of Directors, with a focus and drive to positively impact the communities across Central and Southeastern Pennsylvania. The LINK Foundation is proud to support and engage organizations and projects towards positive and measurable impact, helping to grow a vibrant Pennsylvania region. The Foundation’s funding initiatives are focused on three pillars: developing future leaders, promoting financial literacy, and fortifying personal growth—pillars that emulate the shared mission of LINKBANK. The LINK Foundation has given $252,500 to 19 local nonprofits since its first grant cycle in May 2020. [LINKBANK is a division of The Gratz Bank.]
Why do you support this particular nonprofit and what does your business do to benefit the organization?
It’s our joy for The LINK Foundation to partner with Brethren Housing Association (BHA), supporting their holistic program of stable housing, supportive services and loving relationships to individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness. Stories of impact are what moves us to collaborate with Brethren Housing to help individuals become self-sufficient. For over 30 years, BHA has been providing transitional housing for single moms with children. They offer classes from parenting to financial literacy to job readiness. It’s the stories of transformation that move us to support them as they positively impact their community, building futures filled with hope, promise and stability.
Describe your organization and the importance of corporate support to further your mission.
Brethren Housing Association is a bridge housing program for single mothers and their children experiencing homelessness. In FY 2020-21, we were able to serve 134 individuals (47 families). Through loving relationships, stable housing and supportive services, our families are successfully able to transition from homelessness to permanent housing. Despite all of the challenges that COVID presented, 74% of our families were able to move into permanent housing! None of this could be possible without the support of corporations and foundations. And while the success speaks for itself, the financial efficiency and how BHA stewards donor funding is also impressive, with $.85 of every dollar going directly to the program and support of our families. In addition to the direct impact on families, BHA is also at the center of change in our community. Since 1989, BHA has helped to transform the block where we are located by purchasing distressed and abandoned properties and rehabbing the houses into apartments. These apartments are used to serve the single mothers with children in the Transitions Program. BHA has invested over $1.5 million dollars into Hummel and Mulberry streets and has been called the catalyst for the improvements that have taken place in our area of South Allison Hill.
For 2022, what is your greatest need? In 2022, our focus is on growth and addressing the affordable housing crisis.
We’re looking at creative ways to serve our families during these challenging times. BHA is expanding into permanently affordable housing—this means providing housing to families at a rent they can ACTUALLY afford. It’s hard enough being a single mother, but trying to afford “affordable housing” at a time where $1,242 for a 3-bedroom is what’s considered fair in our area, makes it almost insurmountable (especially when coming from homelessness). So, the greatest need on that end is a) real estate and b) financial support. Another need we’re currently experiencing is help with our youth program! We offer a weekly youth program, while mom is attending life skills classes. This program is able to exist because of volunteers looking to engage with our young folks. A variety of lesson plans are taught to encourage self-esteem and support the children as they are developing self-regulation and conflict resolution skills. If you’re interested in volunteering, please visit www.bha-pa.org.