Circuit Trails Community Grantees Announced

Alexsys Frierson, Graduate Fellow
Alexsys Frierson, Graduate Fellow

PEC is excited to announce the launch of the first Circuit Trails Coalition Community Grant Program. With funding from the William Penn Foundation, the program supports community-led projects along multi-use trails in the Circuit Trails network, which spans southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. The program invests in community organizations to support neighborhood priorities through engagement, activities, and increased access to the region’s trail network. 

The program provides one and two-year grants of $1,000 to $10,000 per year for projects that increase a sense of welcome, belonging, and safety among under-represented groups on the Circuit Trails – a direct response to the Circuit Trails Coalition’s 2020 Equity of Access to Trails study. After reviewing 43 applications, the Circuit Trails Coalition selected ten grantees, listed below. The awarded projects are set to launch in April 2023 and will continue to activate the Circuit Trails through 2023 and 2024. 


With a total of $150,000, PEC and the Circuit Trails Coalition are proud to support the following organizations’ projects: 

9th Street Youth & Community Center Environmental Youth Corps Program, Chester, PA

The 9th Street Youth & Community Center serves the youth of Chester, empowering them to reach their full potential academically, socially, and spiritually in a safe environment. Their program, 9th Street YCC Environmental Youth Corps, serves between 10-15 students annually, engaging them in their environment. Circuit Trails Coalition Community Grant Program-funded activities will take place along the Chester Creek Trail in Eyre Park, and include tree planting, tree tending, tree maintenance, summer habitat projects, adding basketball equipment, installing picnic tables, and hosting mentoring/life skills workshops. 

Superior Arts Institute – #AdvocacyThruArt – Use Our Parks! #onthecircuit, Camden, NJ

#AdvocacyThruArt is a project created by the Superior Arts Institute, an art-based organization that serves the Camden City community. The project will engage Camden youth in learning about the Circuit Trails by creating, filming, and producing content that celebrates the trail and creates a heightened sense of belonging in urban green spaces. Superior Arts’ youth program, Camden Society of Filmmakers, will develop a series of short videos featuring Camden talent held in Camden parks and trails that will redefine what it means to get on the Circuit Trails. 

Artworks Trenton – Artworks Trail Jam, Trenton, NJ

Artworks Trenton promotes artistic diversity by fostering creativity, learning, and appreciation of the arts. Community Grant Program funding will allow Artworks Trenton to partner with Trenton Cycling Revolution’s Community Outreach Garage (COG) on the “Artworks Trail Jam.” The event will bring artists and community members together to create new art along a section of the D&R Canal Trail, increasing awareness of the trail and making it more accessible to the community. Artworks Trenton intends for adventures on the trail to be more scenic, colorful, and inviting for residents and visitors. 

Chester Upland Youth Soccer – Chester Bike Rodeos, Chester, PA 

Chester Upland Youth Soccer strengthens the communities it serves by mentoring youth, engaging families, and promoting healthy living by providing after-school and weekend soccer programming, mentorship, and nutrition education for children in the traditionally underserved, suburban Philadelphia communities of Chester, Upland, and Eddystone. Its Youth Development United division provides soccer families with access to additional worthwhile activities including martial arts, dance, career discovery, and cycling. The Community Grant Program will fund Chester Bike Rodeos, which will take place two times per year and will include riding lessons, bicycle safety, and activities that encourage people to maximize health and wellness benefits while enjoying Chester’s Delaware Riverfront Trail and the Eyre Park Levee Walk along Chester Creek in Delaware County.

Mid-Atlantic Youth Anglers & Outdoors Partners – Circuit Trails Fishing and Birding Training and Experiences, PA + NJ

Todd Pride is the Founder and Lead Coach of the Mid-Atlantic Youth Anglers & Outdoors Partners training operation. Founded in 2008, Todd and his team of trainers facilitates fishing, birding, wildlife, and conservation training activities to youth and their supporting adults across the Philadelphia region. The Circuit Trails Fishing and Birding Training and Experiences program will offer a free, monthly public fishing and birding training and outing from April through October along the Delaware River Greenway at Lardner’s Point, the Delaware River at Camden-Cooper River/Park, and the Schuylkill River and trail tributary areas in Norristown. Adult and youth participants will access waterways and open spaces along the Circuit Trails to learn how to fish and bird, and to learn about the connection between fishing and birding species and their habitats in need of protection within each trail’s ecosystem environments. 

East Trenton Collaborative – East Trenton Tactical Urbanism, Trenton, NJ

The East Trenton Collaborative (ETC) is a community organization and development initiative that engages partners, supports businesses, and builds the power of residents to make East Trenton a great place to live, work, and play. ETC’s East Trenton Tactical Urbanism project incorporates a mix of outreach, low-cost physical improvements, and programming to increase access to and sense of safety on the D&R Canal Trail and the streets that connect to its entrances in East Trenton (Mulberry Street and Sherman Avenue). East Trenton Collaborative’s main goal for this project is to create equitable access to the D&R Trail by installing traffic calming infrastructure, creative wayfinding, and public art. This work will build on and incorporate improvements identified in a neighborhood Traffic Safety Audit conducted by ETC staff and residents.

Exploring Nature with Disability Pride PA, Philadelphia, PA

Exploring Nature with Disability Pride PA is a project to find ways for our communities to come together again in 2023-2024 after the isolation and physical separation of the pandemic. Disability Pride PA, a nonprofit organization that promotes visibility and cultivates pride while advocating for an inclusive world, will produce activities along the Delaware River Trail from South Philly to Northern Liberties. Activities will include Walk & Learns, Picnic along the Delaware Trail, Disability Arts, and Making Music with PHONK Philly.

Get Fresh Daily – Get Fresh Families Outside, Southwest Philadelphia, PA 

Get Fresh Daily, an organization that provides healthy living education through culturally relevant programs that center the Black community, is expanding their Youth Environmental Wellness Initiative by launching Get Fresh Families Outside. Get Fresh Families Outside is an initiative to teach campers how to ride a bike, while inviting families to ride with their children and enjoy the Circuit Trails. Program events will take place on the Bartram’s Mile Trail and the Cobbs Creek Trail. 

Healing Through the Land, Philadelphia, PA

Healing Through the Land is about reclaiming our relationship to the land, our community, our ancestors and ourselves. The Healing Through the Land initiative will engage community members with workshops, walks, and other activities. These educational adventures aim to reconnect and elevate Black and Brown people to nature for holistic healing to inspire and build upon community sustainability in tangible ways. This initiative will inspire interest, participation, and create excitement by collaborating with local wellness professionals to explore culturally relevant ways for Black people and other communities of color to enjoy nature and hone these practices to continue the healing work for themselves and future generations. Events will be held on trails such as Cobbs Creek, Bartram’s Mile Trail, John Heinz Trail, and many more.

Hike+Heal, Philadelphia, PA

Hike+Heal Wellness, LLC is a diverse women’s hiking hive offering healing hikes and grounding experiences to increase overall physical, mental, and spiritual wellness. Hiking is at the center of what they do because it clears the mind, by providing a sense of calm and peace while reducing stress, anxiety and depression. Hike+Heal takes a holistic approach to make hiking accessible for women of color through welcoming and safe programming, community connection and incorporating various healing modalities in their offerings.