BDT and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation announce new initiative to help low-income families achieve economic stability

Philadelphia, July 28, 2014 – Benefits Data Trust is pleased to announce a new initiative, made possible by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, to comprehensively address low-income families’ unmet social and economic needs and help them achieve stability. A collaboration between Benefits Data Trust (BDT), the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania (CHOP) and Clarifi, this innovative project will increase access to public benefits and financial counseling for at least 1,000 Philadelphia families with children who receive healthcare at CHOP over the next year.

CHOP is the largest provider of primary care services for children in the City of Philadelphia, and over half of the families who seek care at its outpatient clinics are at or below the poverty line. Studies show that growing up in poverty can have detrimental, long-term effects on a child’s physical and mental wellbeing. While public benefits are available to assist low-income children and families, the Urban Institute reports that only 5% of working families receive the full spectrum of benefits for which they are eligible. This intervention will use CHOP clinics as an access point to connect low-income families with children to public benefits and financial counseling that will help them achieve economic stability.

As the first step of the process, CHOP patients will be screened for unmet social needs twice during well-child visits for children aged 0-5, using a simple, two-question survey developed by Drexel University’s Center for Hunger-Free Communities. Trained BDT staff will then reach out to high-need patients via telephone and direct mail to screen them for benefits, assist with collection of required application documents, and submit applications on the clients’ behalf. Clients will also be referred to Clarifi for phone-based financial counseling, which will cover how to manage a monthly budget, save money, and stay out of debt.

“By providing a comprehensive suite of services for low-income Philadelphia families, this initiative will improve their economic circumstances in both the short- and long-term and will enable them to provide a healthy environment for their children,” said Ginger Zielinskie, Executive Director of Benefits Data Trust. “We’re thrilled to have the Kellogg Foundation’s generous support for this project, and we couldn’t ask for better partners than CHOP and Clarifi.”

At the completion of the project, this initiative will be evaluated by Drexel University, Center for Hunger Free Communities. BDT and the Kellogg Foundation plan to publish key evaluation findings so that this innovative model can be replicated in healthcare centers in the Greater Philadelphia region and across the country. This initiative will work in concert with Shared Prosperity, Mayor Nutter’s citywide anti-poverty effort that is being coordinated by the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity.


About Benefits Data Trust

Benefits Data Trust (BDT) is a national nonprofit that helps people live healthier, more independent lives by creating smarter ways to access essential benefits and services. Each year, BDT helps tens of thousands of people receive critical supports using data, technology, targeted outreach, and policy change. Since inception in 2005, BDT has submitted over 800,000 applications – more than any other single entity in the country – securing over $7 billion in benefits and services. BDT employs more than 170 people and provides enrollment assistance to individuals in six states, and policy assistance to states nationwide. For more information, visit

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit