Pascale Sykes Foundation, Proponent of the Whole Family Approach, Announces Plans to Sunset in 2022

Invested 30 years in community organizations strengthening communities and working, low-income families in New Jersey and New York

(Vineland, NJ) — The Pascale Sykes Foundation announced it will close its doors in 2022 as part of its original spend-down plan. Since 1992, the Foundation has advocated for and funded innovative, holistic social and economic development programs to transform the lives of working, low-income families.  

“Our decision to sunset the Pascale Sykes Foundation was based on our fierce dedication to our mission: changing culture to focus on the integrity, independence and well-being of the intergenerational working low income families, ” said Frances Sykes, President of the Pascale Sykes Foundation. “We knew our work would be most effective if we awarded a select number of significant grants within a short time frame rather than spreading out our funding in smaller grant amounts, preserving our corpus.”

The Foundation has invested roughly $60 million in more than 75 NJ and NY-based community organizations and initiatives over the past 30 years. 

The Pascale Sykes Foundation was founded on the premise that working families shouldn’t experience a crisis before they can access the resources and support needed to navigate the system and reach their full potential. To this end, the Foundation spearheaded the Whole Family Approach, an innovative, family-led strategy which equips adults and children in the family with the tools and support to set, plan for and achieve their goals together. 

The Whole Family Approach focuses on practitioners in the field working alongside families with two dependable adult caregivers through individualized goal setting, organizational collaboration, and consistent personal support to families. The Foundation funds collaboratives of agencies that make available a range of personalized tools to families seeking to set and reach their goals. Each collaborative meets regularly to share information, evaluate families’ progress and assess any changes required in service. These teams of agencies work together with family units towards one family plan, avoiding the older examples of the solitary social worker or the competing priorities and disjointed supports that often occur when agencies do not coordinate their efforts for one family. This holistic approach gives families the guidance and support to strengthen their relationships, establish financial stability, achieve child and adult well-being and accomplish their long-term goals. 

“Many of the current social service systems approach family well-being from an individualistic and crisis-oriented perspective,” said Sykes. “The Whole Family Approach, focusing on whole people within their family environment, encourages collaboration among service providers to address the goals of children and their caregivers together. We know this approach works and encourage other organizations to adopt this model, which can be effective in various situations.”

Since 2011, the Pascale Sykes Foundation has implemented the Whole Family Approach in 26 different collaborative nonprofit efforts across Southern and Central New Jersey and New York City. Evaluations of the Whole Family Approach by the Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs and University of Pennsylvania show it is effective in a range of settings — rural, urban and suburban — and enables families to work together in realizing any number of goals, ranging from education to financial stability and health. 

“The Pascale Sykes Foundation was one of the first in the region to use data to drive their work,” said Christine Healey of the Healey Educational Foundation. “By using data, the Foundation and their grantees were able to develop specific and measurable goals that would lead to real impact.”

“Fran and the Foundation team have worked long and hard through its network of collaborating grantees to make a difference in the region,” said Michael Jeary, a Foundation Board member. “It is important now for other funders to continue building on this philanthropic legacy, particularly as families and communities work to recover from the trauma inflicted by COVID-19, so devastating to the integrity, livelihood and social well-being of many families. There is no shortage of work to be done, but there are viable solutions and the Whole Family Approach has proven to be one of them.” 

Much of the Pascale Sykes Foundation’s funding decisions throughout its tenure have been based on input it received regularly from the community. During community listening sessions in its early days, the Foundation heard from countless South Jersey residents that without a car or accessible public transportation options, they lacked the ability to travel to and from work, and access other necessities day-to-day. In response, the Foundation began investing in and partnering with public transportation efforts and concerned residents, to create community shuttle programs, in the South Jersey region. 

The Pascale Sykes Foundation has also long funded, partnered with and launched initiatives to encourage economic growth in the Southern New Jersey region. In 2014, the Foundation partnered with New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC) to launch THRIVE South Jersey, an initiative developed to address economic hardship in the targeted four-county region of Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem, and Western Atlantic Counties. THRIVE has offered flexible, affordable capital through non-traditional loans and capacity building assistance to generate quality jobs and improve economic opportunity across the four-county area. 

In the spring of 2020, at a time when many small businesses nationwide struggled to remain afloat, the Pascale Sykes Foundation and NJCC expanded the THRIVE initiative to provide emergency funding for small businesses and nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also recently donated $1 million to NJCC and the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ) to support Black business enterprises (BBEs) grappling with the economic downturn.

As part of its South Jersey Economic Initiative, the Foundation launched, an interactive news site promoting local attractions and events, community news and other resources to encourage community connection and economic vitality in the four-county region. 

The Pascale Sykes Foundation will continue to fund its current grantee organizations through the end of the 2021-2022 grant year. Until that point, Sykes and the Foundation’s partners encourage new funders to learn more about the Whole Family Approach and consider funding organizations that implement it. 

“Families are the foundation upon which strong communities are built. But too many of America’s working low-income families are one crisis or one paycheck away from falling into poverty,” said Sykes. “We have seen families move into stability. Every family’s goals are achievable. Families just need the tools and social support to achieve those goals as all family members work together. We are proud of our accomplishments over the last 30 years and look forward to other funders taking the lead in funding the future of the Whole Family Approach.”