Around Town


City announces details of Zero Fare SEPTA program

City officials and program partners provided an update and additional information about Zero Fare, a new city-funded transit access pilot program that uses automatic enrollment to eliminate barriers for residents with low incomes in accessing this public transit benefit.

Zero Fare was launched in August as a two-year pilot program developed and managed by the city’s Managing Director’s Office in partnership with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and community-based partners.

The program is designed to offer relief to households with low incomes and promote “equitable” growth and opportunity. City Council approved $62 million in the budget to develop and implement the pilot program.

Elected officials gave remarks at Health Center #2, 1700 S. Broad St. (at Morris Street), on Oct. 4.

“I am excited about the new Philadelphia Zero Fare Program, and it is the most expansive transit access program for riders with low incomes in the country,” said City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson (D-2nd dist.), chairman of Council’s Transportation and Public Utilities Committee and the favorite to become Council’s new president. “This new two-year pilot program will support free SEPTA transit for 25,000 residents with low incomes and that will help program participants throughout Philadelphia have better access to healthcare, social services and employment opportunities. I hope this Zero Fare pilot program is successful so it can be expanded to include more Philadelphians in the future.”

In a recent city community needs assessment, 39 percent of Philadelphia residents in poverty cited transportation as their biggest obstacle to finding and sustaining employment.

“The benefits of this program are wide ranging with the potential to significantly improve the quality of life for many Philadelphia residents,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “We anticipate that Zero Fare pilot program participants will have better access to healthcare, social services and employment opportunities. We also hope that they will be able to visit family easier and enjoy all the benefits that Philadelphia has to offer.”

Zero Fare is funded to serve at least 25,000 residents and participants are being selected in two ways:

90% of income and age-eligible Philadelphia residents will be randomly selected to participate and automatically enrolled in the benefit program. Residents are not able to apply for this benefit at this time.

An additional 10% of income and age-eligible participants will be enrolled through partner community organizations that primarily serve immigrant and refugee communities in Philadelphia. These participants will receive a Zero Fare Key card from the organization they visited or in the mail if enrolled by phone. These partners are Esperanza, ACANA, New World Association, Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, Puentes de Salud and SEAMAAC.

2 new exhibitions at Da Vinci

Da Vinci Art Alliance Presents KAPWA, an exhibition curated by Neill Catangay, running through Oct. 22. This exhibition brings together nine local Filipino artists from the Philadelphia/New Jersey region whose work is connected by shared themes of identity and community care. By exploring different aspects of our relationship with the Philippines and the United States, examining and reclaiming one’s own sense of self and reconnecting with cultural roots, these artists shed light on the diverse experiences within the Filipino community.

From contemporary aesthetics to traditional expressions, Kapwa offers a glimpse into the rich tapestry of perspectives that make up our shared human experience. Celebrate those shared human experiences with KAPWA’s Community Day on Oct. 21 from noon to 4 p.m. at Palumbo Park (723 Catharine St.) with an afternoon of food, performance and community care.

In Gallery 2, “Formation” is a journey into the narratives of both lands and bodies, showcasing the profound parallels that exist between these two realms. This DVAA Members Exhibition invites you to explore the interplay of geological processes and human experiences, shedding light on the profound transformations that shape our world.

Running through Oct. 22, the artworks on display unveil the silent stories of continents drifting, mountains rising and coastlines eroding, drawing striking connections to the human body’s perpetual evolution. Just as tectonic forces sculpt the Earth’s surface, our own experiences and encounters etch their marks on our individual and collective identities. Through a diverse range of mediums and perspectives, “Formation” encourages contemplation of the relentless passage of time. Witness the breathtaking landscapes forged by millennia of geological evolution, while also reflecting on the personal journeys that mold our inner landscapes.

Funding expands Veterans Employment Program

Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Nancy A. Walker announced the availability of $800,000 in grant funding to support Veterans Employment Program projects committed to connecting veterans with competitive job opportunities and helping address barriers to gainful employment.

The VEP initiative is designed to help veterans, members of all Reserve units and the Pennsylvania National Guard, and spouses of veterans and service members translate their military skills to civilian life. Eligible applicants include local workforce development boards, nonprofit and non-governmental entities, community-based organizations, education and post-secondary institutions, labor organizations, business associations and economic development groups.

“Pennsylvania is home to more than 700,000 veterans – the fourth-largest veteran population in the nation. Because of their sacrifice, we must ensure these individuals have access to every opportunity they need to successfully transition back into civilian life,” Walker said. “VEP funding is not only an investment in veterans and their families – it helps employers reach an untapped labor pool that will ultimately strengthen Pennsylvania communities and the commonwealth’s economy.”

Gov. Josh Shapiro has identified workforce development as a top priority of the administration through an expansion of job training, career and technical education, and apprenticeship programs that give Pennsylvanians, including veterans and their families, the freedom to chart their own course.

According to the Coordination of Veterans Services In Pennsylvania: A Task Force and Advisory Committee Report, in March 2021, many veterans choose to engage in educational pathways after separation from the armed forces but do not complete the education due to PTSD and/or financial problems. In addition, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, active-duty military spouses earn about 26.8 percent less than their non-military spouse peers and 63 percent are underemployed, due to barriers such as interview bias, skills gaps and licensing requirements.

One grant will be awarded to a program serving only Delaware County, a region with a disproportionately high number of veteran residents than in other Pennsylvania counties while three other awards will be provided across Pennsylvania.

Successful applicants will identify opportunities for new and innovative projects to expand veteran employment opportunities, close funding gaps or supplement existing initiatives for more comprehensive services. Applicants also need to demonstrate how they would bring together businesses, education, workforce, community and other partners to achieve employment support for veterans.

Applications are due by 4 p.m. on Nov. 15.

Online tool for nonprofits

There is a new online filing option available for nonprofits, such as charitable and volunteer organizations, to apply for and renew a Pennsylvania sales tax exemption. The Department of Revenue recently launched this online application on myPATH to deliver a new, streamlined tool for its customers.

The successful completion of this project comes after Gov. Josh Shapiro earlier this year signed an executive order that called on state agencies to conduct a comprehensive review of their application processes. The purpose of the governor’s executive order is to improve the state’s licensing, permitting and certification processes for all Pennsylvania workers and businesses.

“We are proud to play a part in carrying out Gov. Shapiro’s vision of offering services that are more efficient and effective for the people we serve,” Revenue Secretary Pat Browne said. “Providing a new online application for sales tax exemptions gives nonprofit organizations a streamlined process to secure their exemption certificates as quickly as possible and renew their exemptions when they need to.”

The sales tax exemption allows institutions of purely public charity to avoid paying Pennsylvania’s 6 percent sales tax on purchases made on behalf of the institution’s charitable purpose.

Prior to the launch of the online application, nonprofit organizations were required to submit a paper application form (called the REV-72). The paper-based process resulted in a lengthy turnaround time, due in part to the volume of applications that were received and the detailed supporting documentation that was required to verify each organization’s nonprofit status. The paper-based process often resulted in incomplete applications, which required the department to request additional information from the applicants. As a result, processing was often delayed as the department waited to receive this information.

Apply to become a cop

The Philadelphia Police Department is accepting applications through Nov. 12. Applicants must be at least 20 years old and have a high school diploma. The starting salary is $61,888. Call 215-683-COPS or apply at ••

Honor Vietnam War casualties

Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 266 will be holding its annual candlelight name reading at the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Front and Spruce streets, on Oct. 21 at noon. The public is invited to honor and remember the 648 military service members from Philadelphia who died in the Vietnam War. New members are welcome. Email or call 215-722-3518. ••

Trip to Ohio, Kentucky

St. Jerome’s Senior Citizens Club invites the public to join them for a five-day trip (Oct. 15-19) to the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum, with a guided tour of Cincinnati, Ohio and Northern Kentucky. For reservations, questions or a brochure, call Diane McDowell at 267-496-2431. ••

Apply for artist residency

Glen Foerd is accepting applications for its 2023-2024 Artist-in-Residence program. The closing date for applications is Oct. 23. Glen Foerd will be accepting one regional visual artist (or artist collective) to complete a site-specific work during their residency. The selected artist will receive a stipend of $3,000 to create their works. Once selected, the Artist-in-Residence will have from Feb. 1, 2024 until Sept. 30, 2024 to complete their residency. The selected artist will create works that engage Glen Foerd’s audience and collections, which includes architecture, material culture, art and natural landscapes. The opportunity offers area artists access to Glen Foerd’s historic collections, grounds and the Delaware River. Outcomes must include a public engagement component. For application information, visit or email Alice Thompson at ••

Farm stand at Jeanes

Temple University Hospital – Jeanes Campus, 7600 Central Ave., has a farm stand that is open Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. through October. The stand is located next to parking lot C of Jeanes Campus and the Fox Chase Cancer Center Campus. Call 215-728-4861 or email ••

Parkinson’s support group

Temple University Hospital – Jeanes Campus is offering a Parkinson’s disease support group for those who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and their families. The group will meet on the second Wednesday of every other month from 6-7 p.m. at the Cheltenham Friends Meetinghouse, 7604 Central Ave. The schedule is Oct. 11, Dec. 13 (holiday party) and Feb. 14. The group is led by nurse practitioner June Ro, and will include guest speakers. To register, contact Ro at 215-707-2619 or ••

Trip to Bethlehem

The Polish American Cultural Center Museum is sponsoring a trip to Bethlehem, “The Christmas City,” from Dec. 14-16. The tour includes two night accommodations at The Windcreek Hotel and Casino; two $20 vouchers; $70 slot play; a visit to Pines Dinner Theater to see Holly Jolly Christmas, with lunch (BYOB); a tour of “The Lights on the Parkway;” a free day to gamble and shop at the outlets; a visit to the Christkindlmarkt (Christmas shopping and artisans craft markets); and round-trip motorcoach. The cost is $525 per person double occupancy or $700 single. For information and reservations, call Theresa Romanowski at 215-922-1700. ••

Support for small nonprofits

A Little Better Company, an agency focused on making the world a little better, announces the launch of its inaugural Unless Project, a grant-meets-accelerator program providing $150,000 in marketing and capacity-building services to small organizations with big ideas but limited resources.

Up to four U.S.-based nonprofits will be selected to participate in the Unless Project to turn their transformational ideas into impact.

Simon Rogers, founder of ALBC, said: “In our experience, organizations with truly new and novel ideas struggle to get the resources and buy-in they need to bring their ideas to life. Today, the ability to communicate in the right way can make or break their success, and that gap between idea and impact is where the Unless Project comes in.”

The Unless Project seeks applications from nonprofits that are working on new, novel, provable, scalable and sustainable solutions to challenges in one of ALBC’s four focus areas:

• Environmental Sustainability

• Human Health and Wellness

• Social Progress and Advocacy

• Artistic Activism

The short application process includes a five-question eligibility quiz (yes/no answers only), a short application (written or video submissions) and, for finalists, a 30- to 45-minute Zoom discussion with the selection committee.

The eligibility quiz is available now, and applications are open through Oct. 15. Awardees will be notified on Dec. 15, and then be guided through a six-month process to transform their brand, tapping into all of ALBC’s capabilities and expertise.

ALBC will cover all marketing-related expenditures along the way. Additionally, the grant will include a $2,500 stipend to cover unplanned out-of-pocket expenses.

Interested nonprofits can take the eligibility quiz at

Or sign up for an information session:

To learn more, become part of the ALBC collective or to partner with the Unless Project, visit ••

VFW looking for members

Bustleton-Somerton/CTR1 Michael J. Strange VFW Post 6617 meets on the third Wednesday of every month at American Legion Post 810, 9151 Old Newtown Road. Meetings start at 7:30 p.m. If you are a military veteran who served in a designated combat zone, you are eligible to join the VFW. Contact Commander Israel Wolmark at 215-725-0630 if you would like to join the post. ••

Register for bike ride

The closed-road, non-competitive Philly Bike Ride will take place on Saturday, Oct. 14, starting at 7:30 a.m. at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Participants can choose from a 20-mile course or a shorter 7.6-mile version, with a finish line by the iconic setting of the art museum and the shadow of the famed Rocky steps. The event concludes with a post-ride festival, free and open to the public, that features live music, wellness activities and food trucks.

The cost starts at $35, with various add-ons available. There are two special ticket deals available.

The event supports the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. A portion of proceeds from the event will support the Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling program.

Registration is open and more information is available at ••

Save at Boscov’s

The Marlyn Chakov Fein Chapter, Fox Chase Cancer Center is partnering with Boscov’s “Friends Helping Friends” on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at all Boscov’s locations, from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. The group is selling a shopping pass for $5, which can represent savings of up to 25% off purchases. Call Shirley at 215-530-6637 to purchase shopping passes. The profits of the event will be donated to Fox Chase Cancer Center to support cancer research and compassionate patient care. ••

Day dedicated to women

NBC 10 news anchor Tracy Davidson will present Lifting Your Voice, a day dedicated to women, on Sunday, Oct. 22, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at Philadelphia Country Club 1601 Spring Mill Road, in Gladwyne. The guest speaker will be Jen Croneberger, an author and former recipient of the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry’s Female Business Leader of the Year. She holds a master’s degree in Sports and Performance Psychology and a Sustainable Business Strategy Certification from the Harvard Business School.

For tickets, visit ••

South Phila. HS class of ‘68 reunion

The South Philadelphia High School Class of 1968 will hold its 55th reunion on Saturday, Oct. 21, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Waterfall Room, 2015 S. Water St. Tickets cost $60 and include buffet dinner and open bar. For tickets and more information, call Arleen Liberi [609-922-2419], Maria Leati [856-287-3734] or Stephen Michielli [267-252-2740]. ••