Local Families Receive Relief from Economic Turndown

Like any single parent to two school-aged children, Amanda was used to juggling a lot: school schedules and activities, playdates, two part-time jobs – including one in the restaurant industry – the list goes on. Amanda was already struggling to make ends meet when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Like millions of other Americans, Amanda was laid off from both of her positions. She immediately applied for unemployment compensation, but she still hadn’t received confirmation of her eligibility, let alone any benefits, by the time rent was due. There was an eviction moratorium in place, but her landlord was still pressuring her to pay up.

The support of individuals, foundations, and corporate partners made it possible to quickly ex- tend help to Amanda and her family. With donated funds, Open Hearth was able to pay Amanda’s April rent, giving her some breathing room until the backlog of unemployment filings could be processed. This also took away some stress so Amanda could focus on getting internet service for her kids’ virtual schooling and support them through these trying times.

Donors’ generosity provided critical funding for another single parent in our community. David had been working as a chef when all business came to an abrupt halt. Like Amanda, David’s unemployment benefits were delayed, and he was coming up short when it was time to pay his rent. Open Hearth was able to direct donated funds to David’s landlord to ensure David and his young daughter could remain stably housed.

Over the past six months, Open Hearth has been able to meet the urgent needs of dozens of families who lost income and were struggling to remain in their homes. We’ve also been able to help with budgeting, goal setting, and social service referrals so each client has a plan to move forward.

Back in the Driver’s Seat

It takes a lot of determination and resiliency to regain a sense of independence once it has been lost due to a disability. It had been over five years since Phoenixville resident Chris had his own vehicle. Without one, getting to doctors’ appointments, picking up groceries, and even visiting his grandchildren had become difficult. As someone on a fixed income, Chris was especially grateful to learn about Open Hearth’s Family Savings Partner Program (FSP) and his eligibility to participate in this matched savings program. FSP helps those saving for a car, first home, or education by offering a match for every dollar saved.

“Thanks for all you have done for me and all the people you have helped.“

For seven months, Chris diligently made monthly deposits into his individual development account (IDA) to reach his goal of saving $1,000. Along the way, Chris participated in Open Hearth’s free financial education on topics relevant to his savings goal, such as Car Buying – Put Yourself in the Driver’s Seat and Good Credit – How to Get It (workshops are now offered virtually). Program staff also worked directly with Chris to develop a budget that would afford him a cushion so that he’ll have the funds available to keep his car in good repair.

After completing all the program requirements, Chris was eligible for $1,000 in matching funds. Along with his savings, this was enough for Chris to purchase a new-to-him car that will get him to wherever he needs to go. Upon reaching his goal, Chris felt such a sense of accomplishment and empowerment and expressed how this vehicle will allow him to decrease his reliance on others and increase his sense of autonomy. Moreover, Chris acknowledged how beneficial it was for him to participate in the financial education because he felt armed with the knowledge and confidence to make an informed purchase.

Open Hearth thanks all the donors who made Chris’s success story possible!

Open Hearth Announces Public Phase of Capital Campaign for New Headquarters

open hearth phoenixville pa

Already raised more than 65 percent of $1M goal

SPRING CITY, Pennsylvania, (September 1, 2021) – Open Hearth, Inc. is announcing the public phase of its capital campaign “Home Is Where the Hearth Is” to raise funds for the renovation of the nonprofit’s new headquarters in Phoenixville, PA. The building, located at 701 S. Main Street, will serve as home to Open Hearth’s programs and community building initiatives, with the objective of fostering a stronger, healthier community for generations to come. To date, Open Hearth has raised over $650,000; more than 65 percent of its $1 million capital campaign goal.

In 2019, Open Hearth’s Board of Directors recognized the organization had outgrown its current location. As the need for services has expanded, additional staff have been added. While searching for a new rental space, Open Hearth connected with two Phoenixville residents, Janice and Paul Hartmann. When the Hartmanns learned of the organization’s need, they decided to make the most generous donation—a 4,000 square foot building located on one acre of property in the center of Phoenixville. 

“The new building will be a place of hope for our clients and partners as they are welcomed into a location that is both accessible and inspirational,” said Kelly Raggazino, Open Hearth’s Executive Director. “Our new home will reflect the high standards of service set by Open Hearth’s staff, funders, and collaborators.”

The building is in need of repairs to bring it up to today’s codes and standards. Funds raised in the “Home Is Where the Hearth Is” campaign will be used to make these critical repairs.

Located in Phoenixville, the new property provides easy access and parking, increased foot traffic, and close proximity to many partner agencies. In the new location staff will be on one floor, whereas they are currently divided between two floors and 45 steps. Additional meeting space and room to grow are just a few of the additional benefits of the new space.

Lead supporters of the campaign include The Phoenixville Community Health Foundation, Chester County Department of Community Development, The McLean Contributionship, Univest, and First Cornerstone Foundation. 

Open Hearth began renovations of the property in June of 2021. The project is expected to be complete in late fall 2021.

Those interested in donating can do so by visiting www.openhearthinc.org/2021-capital-campaign/


ABOUT OPEN HEARTH As Open Hearth celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, they remain committed to meeting the needs of vulnerable members of the community from diverse racial, cultural, and geographic backgrounds. Along with other programs, Open Hearth’s staff helps low-income families and individuals find and maintain permanent housing; develop personalized budgets that create financial stability; or work towards the purchase of a car, higher education, or a first home. Open Hearth serves residents of Chester County and portions of western Montgomery County. As a recent client shared in appreciation of the assistance they received, “Thank you so much for everything you have done for me…you really have made a difference in my life.”