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Basic Needs

The Trust awards grants to nonprofits that provide direct assistance to those in our community who are in need of food, clothing or shelter. We prioritize requests that benefit disadvantaged and vulnerable children and older adults who reside within the five county Greater Philadelphia region (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties) or the City of Camden, NJ. The Trust monitors basic needs trends in the region to help us reassess and adjust our grantmaking.   June 15 by 11:59 p.m. EST December 15 by 11:59 p.m. EST
  Fall Trustee Meeting (October / November) Spring Trustee Meeting (April / May)
  • 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations in existence for more than one (1) year are eligible to apply.
  • The organization must have an established service location within the five-county Greater Philadelphia region (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties) or the City of Camden, NJ.
  • Funds must be used to address food, clothing and/or shelter needs of children or seniors living within the Trust’s targeted geographic region. Allowable uses of grant funds include:
    • Food: perishable and nonperishable food, produce, baby food and formula, prepackaged or prepared meals, related supplies or equipment deemed essential for food distribution program, grocery gift cards and vouchers.
    • Clothing: direct purchase of clothing for children or older adults; clothing gift cards or vouchers.
    • Shelter: home furniture for clients (e.g. beds, cribs), housing payments or utility bills paid directly to vendor, materials for home repair programs, supplies or items (e.g. furniture, equipment, appliances) deemed essential for the provision of emergency shelter, transitional housing, or other residential programs for children or seniors
  • Facilities Improvements: facilities renovations or repairs that directly impact clients’ ability to access and benefit from a food program (e.g., pantry) or housing services (e.g., emergency shelter, transitional housing).
  • The further away any request is from direct provision of literal food, clothing or shelter benefiting children or seniors, the less likely funding will be granted.
  • Grants are awarded for a one (1) year term. Organizations that receive three (3) consecutive years of funding must then wait two (2) years before being eligible to reapply. We make this determination based on the calendar year of your notice of award.
  • The minimum award is $5,000. There is no maximum award limit.

Click here to download a PDF preview of our Basic Needs application and guidelines, including eligibility criteria, requested organizational and program details, and the costs the Trust would consider for this program area.

If you are not sure whether your program may be aligned with the Trust’s current priorities and guidelines, you can begin the online application (completing just the program description and request budget sections would suffice), save your draft, and then email to request we take a look at your draft. We can then confirm if your potential request is generally aligned with what the Trust would consider. Given the volume of applications, we cannot guarantee time to complete a preliminary review requested later than three weeks prior to the application deadline.

  • Applications must be submitted through the Trust’s online portal. The Trust no longer accepts hard copy or emailed applications.
  • Click Apply to access our online application portal.
    • If you are a new organization applicant, you can register for an account.
    • If you are a recent applicant or grantee, you can login your existing account to begin a new application.
    • If you think that you or someone else in your organization may have previously applied to W. W. Smith, please do not create a new account. Instead, email us at, and we will verify your organization’s application history with the Trust and ensure that you have updated login credentials.

basic needs Grantee Spotlights

Rebuilding Together Philadelphia

Creating safe, healthy, and energy-efficient homes

Murphy’s Giving Market

Eradicating food insecurity around Upper Darby

Mitzvah Circle Foundation

Every child deserves a strong start

The Parkesburg Point Youth Center

Meeting the needs of over 400 at-risk youth