By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A North Philadelphia foundation today gave grants to 20 nonprofit organizations that are helping to revitalize the North Philadelphia area.

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At $1,000 each, Alston-Beech Foundation grants will go to pay for, among other things, travel for a college tour, uniforms for a pee-wee league, and supplies for a mobile studio that brings art to the inner city.

“The organizations are really the unsung heroes and backbone of the community,” says Ken Scott, president of Beech Companies, “from the Blackhawks‘ Pop Warner League football team to North Central Victims Services.”

Scott says they choose the 20 awardees from more than 50 applicants for the biannual grants to help ease the burden at a time when budget cuts are too prevalent.

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“It can be used for operations and to keep the doors open,” he says of each grant.

One awardee, the African-American Chamber of Commerce, will use the money to help ex-offenders start businesses, according to its executive director, Shalimar Thomas.

“The top five participants will receive $1,500 in startup funding plus a five-year membership to the African-American Chamber of Commerce,” she tells KYW Newsradio.

Other awardees include Mothers in Charge, Art Sanctuary, and MenzFitz.

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