What we are working on Today!
We continue to seek your support to help empower women, girls and families to create a better life for themselves and future generations.
"Fairhill Bonaventure Wellness Community Project"
(Family & Senior Housing and Wellness Center)
Women of Excellence, Inc. is seeking to acquire vacant land next to our North Philadelphia facility located in the Fairhill section of the city. This land was the former home of the St. Bonaventure Church complex. We are seeking to acquire the property to launch our "Fairhill Bonaventure Wellness Community Project." We envision the property housing both our Family & Seniors Wellness Center, as well as, affordable housing for seniors and families within this "historically rich" and “economically disadvantaged” North Philadelphia region of the city.
Fairhill was first settled in 1718 when Issad Norris, a prosperous Quaker merchant, constructed his large country estate on 900 acres of what today is the Fairhill neighborhood. Shortly before Norris purchased his 900 acres, William Penn granted George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, land for a meeting house, burial ground and garden nearby. The Quaker burial ground was used from 1703 until the 1960s. It was one of the first racially integrated cemeteries in Philadelphia. Amongst those buried are many prominent women’s rights activists and abolitionists from the 18th and 19th centuries. The Quakers and many of those interred within the Fairhill burial grounds had been instrumental in assisting enslaved African Americans to escape slavery to the North via the "Underground Railroad."
St. Bonaventure church was designed by architect Edwin Forrest Durang in 1894 with construction being completed in 1906. This beautiful Gothic structure primarily served Fairhill’s large and growing population of German Catholic immigrants who had been drawn to the region by the prospect of work at the myriad of industries in the area, which included iron foundries, soap and textile factories, lumber and coal yards. Some immigrants were also fleeing the persecution of Catholics in Germany at the time.
After WWII, the industrial base of the Fairhill area eroded significantly, taking a heavy toll on the neighborhood economy. Both factories and families moved out and relocated to other regions leaving behind a wasteland of toxic abandon factories as property values sank dramatically. The now lower income neighborhood became home to a growing number of African Americans migrating from the South in search of employment and economic opportunities, as well as, an influx of Puerto Ricans by the 1940s in search of the same opportunities.
Over the decades, the continual declining economy and rising crime in the region has made Fairhill one of the most high need areas of the city. Fairhill has also been notoriously referred to as the "Philadelphia Badlands," due to an abundance of open-air recreational drug markets and drug-related violence in the region. --- Women of Excellence, Inc. is housed within the former convent of the once thriving St. Bonaventure parish located a few steps away from the Fairhill Burial Ground.
Amid the advent of recent events, including: the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as, its impact on senior citizens and communities of color, the need for affordable housing and the Wellness Center is even more urgent, as our nation continues to grapple with pervasive racial disparities and civil unrest. Our proposed housing units, as well as, the Family and Seniors Wellness Center will bring together partners from various health, mental health, education, social services, and cultural institutions from throughout the community to establish satellite programs and services in one central location as a resource to the tenants of our project and the greater community.
Through this project, we seek to positively impact the lives of nearly 30,000 residents who reside within Fairhill (zip code 19133), a population that is predominantly (98%) African American and Hispanic. The median household income for this area is $18,119 and the median family income is $19,839. For decades, this area has been plagued with health, education, economic and employment disparities.
Through strategic partnerships our Family & Seniors Wellness Center will also seek to provide both COVID-19 testing and vaccinations for its high risk population. Additional service offerings of the Center will include primary health care, behavioral health & life skills counseling, afterschool tutoring, youth enrichment programs, arts & culture activities; parent & family education workshops; senior citizen recreation & wellness programs; as well as, GED, education & career development programs.
The goal of this project is to improve the quality of life of at-risk populations within impoverished regions of the city, including children, youth, families and senior citizens, focusing our efforts on the (8) Dimensions of Wellness identified by SAMHSA (the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). --- Our goal is that this project will serve as a successful demonstration program which can be replicated throughout the city and beyond.
If you are interested in providing funding support to Women of Excellence (WE) and would like to connect with a member of our team, please contact us at 215-226-4999.
Donations for our "Fairhill Bonaventure Wellness Community Project" can be made online today by accessing the following secure link:
or you can forward your tax-deductible donation vial mail to:
"Women of Excellence, Inc."
Attention: Development Office
Women of Excellence, Inc.
2848-50 North 9th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19133-2044
Women of Excellence is a nonprofit 501(c)3 public charity.
Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.
- James M. Barrie