Review of the Community Expansion Grant Program – April 2024

Report Date: April 3, 2024
Controller: Christy Brady

Executive Summary

Why the Controller’s Office Conducted the Review

In accordance with the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter, the Controller’s Office conducted a review of the city’s Community Expansion Grant (CEG) Program. Our objective was to review the CEG program to determine whether the city’s oversight of the fiduciary providers and distribution procedures of CEGs met its stated goals.

What the Controller’s Office Found

As gun violence faced an all-time high in 2021, the City’s urgency to roll out the CEG program led to confusion and mistrust among the grassroots community organizations who provide much needed services to neighborhoods that have been historically neglected and ignored. Significant findings included:

● Contract Confusion – While the terms of the contract between the City and Urban Affairs Coalition (UAC), the fiduciary provider for the grants, were being negotiated, the City requested UAC to send advances to the grassroots community organizations and backdated the contract when it was conformed, leaving the organizations confused about their responsibilities and expectations.

● Departmental Funding – While the funding for the CEGs was budgeted in the Managing Director’s Office, the initial contract was conformed under the City’s Department of Health. UAC was selected without a RFP being issued because of an exemption allowing the Health Department to select nonprofit vendors without following the normal bidding process.

● Lack of a Fair, Open, and Transparent Bid Process – The City did not follow a fair, open, and transparent bid process. Excluding other possible fiduciary providers can raise questions about accountability and can create a perception of favoritism or bias towards the chosen provider, even if unintentional.

What the Controller’s Office Recommends

The Controller’s Office has developed several recommendations to address the above findings including:

1) City departments should not request services to be performed by any contractor without a conformed contract in place and should refrain from backdating contracts.

2) Contracts should be conformed in the department where the services are budgeted.

3) An open and transparent contracting process should have been followed by requesting
multiple bids from other fiduciary providers.

Click here to read the full report.