Tribune Staff Writer

The Mighty Writers were awarded a $20,000 gift from Dranoff Properties during a holiday party on Tuesday evening.

About 50 students from the Mighty Writers, their teachers and Executive Director and Founder Tim Whitaker attended the event hosted by Carl Dranoff in the lobby of his residential building at 777 S. Broad St.

“Providing excellent and equitable educational opportunity for all children is a must for a city of our stature,” Dranoff, CEO and founder of Dranoff Properties, said in a statement. “We can’t continue to accept a high school dropout rate that hovers at 40 percent. The Mighty Writers are innovators, doing great work that is having an impact. Together we hope to achieve Tim’s goal of moving from worst to first in student literacy.”

In addition to money, the contribution includes books, supply drives in six Philadelphia residential properties and the launch of employee volunteerism to support the nonprofit in the upcoming year. With Dranoff’s help, the Mighty Writers will launch a pilot program at the Rivera Recreation Center, 320 N. 5th St.

Founded in 2009, Mighty Writers teaches kids to think and write clearly. The organization offers free programs for students from elementary through high school at centers in four diverse Philadelphia neighborhoods, including a bilingual location for Spanish-speaking students. The program reaches some 3,000 Philly kids a year through after-school academies, writing workshops, mentorships and teen scholar programs.

“Expanding the program beyond the walls of our four permanent writing centers will allow us to reach thousands of new students in the neighborhoods where they live,” Whitaker said in a statement. “Travel barriers are a big obstacle to participation, which is why it is imperative to take the power of writing to where the kids are.”

Giving back will be the focus of Dranoff’s 20th anniversary celebration and will continue through 2018.

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