PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Down North Foundation announces its official launch and successful completion of its first public fundraiser. The foundation held the Down North Treehouse's first fundraising gala and raised over $80,000 to support and fund the buildout of the Down North Treehouse, a youth tech center that will be located in North Philadelphia's Strawberry Mansion neighborhood.
"This is the first of what we hope will be many wins for underserved communities in Philadelphia, like Strawberry Mansion. We are grateful to have wide support from the community and our Down North Treehouse board. Because of them we are one step closer to our goal of piloting programming and completing the buildout of tech center by 2024," said Muhammad Abdul-Hadi founder and president of the Down North Foundation.
The Down North Foundation was established by Abdul-Hadi, the owner of Down North Pizza. Through his work at Down North Pizza, Abdul-Hadi saw a greater opportunity to positively impact revitalization efforts in Strawberry Mansion.
The Down North Foundation's mission is the early mitigation of social issues that lead to the pre-school to prison pipeline. The mission is grounded in the idea of creating opportunities and initiatives that do not displace residents via change and revitalization but instead focus on empowering the existing community to be a self-sustaining part of the change. The Down North Foundation's work will be supported by a collective of local community activists, academics and Philadelphia business leaders.
"Our goal for The Down North Foundation is empowering underserved communities with the resources to counteract the impact of systems that compound their marginalization,'' said Abdul-Hadi.
The Down North Foundation will focus on three key initiatives to help create possibilities and opportunities for residents living in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood. They include:
Located in the North Philadelphia neighborhood of Strawberry Mansion, the Down North Treehouse will be a physical and technological space where children and youth can engage, imagine, gain IT literacy and life skills training, and conscientiously build the next generation of tech. The Down North Treehouse's realization is through the collective efforts and support of its co-founder Momin Sheikh, and its board.
The Growing Freedom Project is a food and seed sovereignty project conceived to transform unused/abandoned parcels of land into urban farms. The goal being to develop an urban agricultural ecosystem and supply chain. As a part of the new cohort of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Research Leaders (IRL), Muhammad Abdul-Hadi in partnership with leadership and research expertise by Ajima Olaghere, PhD and Celeste Winston, PhD will tackle food injustice and inequity with the Growing Freedom Project being a focus of their research work.
The Healing Garden Project will implement community-centric healing gardens to provide a safe and welcoming gathering space for residents. The healing gardens will provide space for food, relaxation, recreation, and socialization, which will build community cohesion and resilience. The Healing Garden Project will use nature-connectedness to address health inequity, trauma, and violence resulting from structural racism and a blighted urban landscape.
"The Down North Foundation ultimately is about empowering urban communities that have been forgotten. We believe change happens at the community level and requires imagination and reconstruction. We are excited to be able to put our ideas and plans into practice to achieve the creation of safe, inclusive community-centered places, plot by plot," said Abdul-Hadi.
The Down North Foundation is a tax-deductible 501(c)3 founded in 2022. The Down North Foundation is working to reconstruct relationships, culture, and places to create a resilient and empowered community to counteract the impact of systems compounding the marginalization of people. It is rooted in the idea that true change happens at the community level and requires imagination and reconstruction. For more information follow us on Instagram @downnorthfoundation or at www.downnorth foundation org.
SOURCE Down North Foundation