Our Achievements

SOWN in Philadelphia Health Partnership Publication

"The Supportive Older Women’s Network (SOWN) created the GrandFamily Resource Center (GFRC) to serve grandparents raising grandchildren. Read this interview with SOWN staff to learn more about the evolution of the GFRC to include the integration of peer support groups and behavioral health services in primary care settings." Read here

"New Family Literacy Initiative Serves Children Raised by Grandparents"

The GrandFamily Resource Center is excited to announce a new family literacy initiative that is funded through a generous grant from the William Penn Foundation. Read here

SOWN in PCA Milestones

The social benefits of SOWN's Healthy Lives Community Groups is highlighted in "Togetherness is key at Southwest Senior Center: 'Everyone's welcome'". Read here

SOWN on WURD Radio

Coordinator of Philly Families Connect Arlene Segal spoke about SOWN's GrandFamily Resource Center on 900 AM WURD Radio. Listen here

SOWN Awarded Digital Literacy Alliance Grant

SOWN was awarded a grant from the city's Digital Literacy Alliance to provide digital literacy workshops for grandparents raising grandchildren. Read here

GrandFamily Resource Center in Philadelphia Inquirer

Amidst the ongoing opioid crisis, more grandparents are raising their grandchildren--and SOWN is there to support these grandfamilies. Read here

SOWN Awarded Sun Life Financial Grant

SOWN received a grant from Sun Life Financial's Team Up Against Diabetes. Learn the positive impact of SOWN’s Philly Families Eat Smart program. Read here

SOWN in 2016 Green Tree Article

How does an organization that works with older adults find itself also working with children? Read about SOWN's GrandFamily Resource Center in the Green Tree Community Health Foundation's Winter/Spring 2016 publication - "Across Generations with SOWN". Read here

SOWN on 6ABC Actions News

SOWN's GrandFamily Resource Center was featured on 6ABC Action News on August 14, 2014. "If it wasn't for SOWN, I'd probably be crazy by now," says one grandmother in the video. "A lot of doors opened for me that I didn't even know were out there." View here

SOWN in 2014 Penn Medicine Article

Board member and HUP employee Eileen Addis, MSS, LSW, secured a grant from Penn Medicine CAREs to provide iPads as fitness tools for grandparent-headed families involved in SOWN's Philly Families Eat Smart program. Read here

SOWN in 2013 Trust Magazine

SOWN salutes the 16,000 Philadelphians who have stepped forward to raise their grandchildren. Read what makes it work in the Pew Charitable Trust’s Trust Magazine. Read here

SOWN in 2013 Milestones Article

SOWN's GrandFamily Resource Center is featured in the April 2013 issue of Milestones, a publication by Philadelphia Corporation for Aging. Read here

SOWN in The Philadelphia Inquirer

SOWN, Penn's Village, and Ralston Center are helping Philadelphia's aging population combat loneliness. Read here

SOWN in The Pew Charitable Trusts Publication

Read how SOWN adopted a tool to collect meaningful data and build a culture of learning through the Pew Fund's Evaluation Capacity Building Initiative. Read here

SOWN in PCA Milestones

SOWN's new program for Parkinson's caregivers is featured. "'The SOWN program helps relieve that isolation [faced by caregivers] and the telephone format is convenient... Members don’t have to go anywhere or be pressured to get ready or worry. They can be at work or in their pajamas at home and still be part of the group. They can also be anonymous; and they don’t have to talk about their loved one in front of him or her.'” Read here

Important Update From SOWN's Board President

SOWN's Board President, Karen Hanson, Ph.D., released the following statement today:

"It is with sadness that SOWN's Board of Directors announces the resignation of our Executive Director of 35 years, Merle Drake, due to family health issues.

The resignation of a long-time leader presents a challenge to any organization, but this is especially so when the leader is also the founder. We are pleased that Marypat Tracy, SOWN's long-standing Director of Programs, will lead SOWN as Interim Executive Director. SOWN couldn't be in better hands during this transition period.

The organization is strong. With knowledgeable leadership and a committed staff, an engaged Board of Directors actively committed to charting the future, and your ongoing support, SOWN will continue to serve the needs of older women and their families long into the future."

February 21, 2020

"How Manayunk's Very Own SOWN has Helped Philadelphia's Older Adults for 35 Years"

SOWN is featured in Manayunk Magazine. Read here

SOWN's COVID-19 Update

Our hearts go out to our clients and to all during this difficult time. Because of our experience with providing services via the telephone, we continue to do so! Additionally, we are opening our services to new caregivers. Parkinson's Care Partners: If you are a care partner for a family member with Parkinson’s disease and would like to learn more about our telephone-based services, call Patty Davis at 215-487-3000 x 25. Grandparent Caregivers: If you are raising your grandchildren and would like to learn more about our telephone-based program, call Arlene Segal at 215-487-3000 x 11. Read about the program in The Philadelphia Inquirer's "No internet. No backup plan: What happens to seniors raising grandkids in the pandemic?" We are honored to share that SOWN has received a PHL COVID-19 Fund grant. A collaboration between United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, The Philadelphia Foundation, and the City of Philadelphia, the PHL COVID-19 Fund is providing financial assistance to nonprofits like ours during the Coronavirus crisis. Thank you to all the contributors for your support during this time. SOWN has also been selected as one of 12 Philadelphia COVID-19 Community Information Fund grantees by The Knight-Lenfest Fund, The Independence Public Media Foundation, Lenfest Institute for Journalism, and Knight Foundation, to use news and information to empower vulnerable communities to make more informed decisions and support resiliency efforts in response to the coronavirus pandemic. SOWN produces a newsletter for seniors that higlights the latest COVID-19 news, identifies services and supports, describes how to access benefits, and shares other important information.

"No internet. No backup plan: What happens to seniors raising grandkids in the pandemic?"

Philly Families Connect, a program of SOWN that supports grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, is featured on the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Read here

Ending Racism

Harlem What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore- And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over- like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode? by Langston Hughes Covid-19 is a new virus that has impacted the very air we breathe. Racism is a virus that has afflicted this country for hundreds of years. With the killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, among many,we have learned, clearly and without question, that racism also cuts off our breath and ends our lives. At SOWN, Black lives matter very much. We are committed to providing trauma-informed services that respect the dignity, strength and resilience of our clients. We are committed to being part of the march to equality. We are committed to raising our voices in pursuit of justice.

"SOWN's GrandFamily Resource Center's Response to the Coronavirus"

In Brookdale Relatives As Parents Program (RAPP) Site Bulletin, SOWN's Grants Specialist, Beth Varcoe, explains how the GrandFamily Resource Center is responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Read here

"Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and COVID-19: Overlaying Risks, Uncertain Outcomes"

This article in the American Society on Aging's Generations publication discusses the challenges faced by grandparents raising grandchildren during the coronavirus pandemic. SOWN's Philly Families Connect is listed as a resource. Read here

"GSK awards Greater Philadelphia nonprofits making a powerful IMPACT on health outcomes now more than ever"

GSK published a press release announcing the winners of the 2020 GSK IMPACT Awards for Greater Philadelphia. Read here SOWN is proud to be one of 10 nonprofit organizations in the Philadelphia region to be awarded $40,000 for working hand-in-hand with our community to improve health. GSK IMPACT Awards are presented in partnership with Philadelphia Foundation.

News from SOWN's Board of Directors

The Board of Directors of SOWN is pleased to announce that effective February 15, 2021, Marypat Tracy accepted the role of Executive Director. Previously, Marypat held the position of Interim Executive Director and worked at SOWN for many years as Director of Programs. Marypat earned a Master's degree in Social Work (MSW) at Rutgers University and is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). Marypat lives in Philadelphia with her husband and is the mother of two sons and grandmother of two boys.
The Board and Marypat look forward to working together to lead SOWN forward to impacting the wellbeing of older adults and their families in the Philadelphia region.

SOWN on WHYY's Instagram Live

SOWN's Director of Programs Lori Latimer, Family Literacy Educator for Philly Families Read Together Jessica Begley, and Newsletter Coordinator for "SOWN Together" Jill Smith gave an interview on WHYY's Instagram Live about SOWN's programs, the older adults and families we serve, and the impact of our COVID-19 newsletter "SOWN Together". SOWN is a partner with the WHYY N.I.C.E. program. Watch here

SOWN on Uptown Radio's the Talk to Reebs Show

Coordinator of Philly Families Connect Arlene Segal gave an interview with E. Marie Lambert of Uptown Radio's the Talk to Reebs Show. Arlene discussed SOWN's history and current programs, bringing awareness to the relevance and needs of older women and their families. Arlene gave us a meaningful reminder of one of the biggest gifts older women hold, which is the gift of perspective. Watch here

In the News