MPOWER: A Community Investment Partnership
With a deep belief in the value and dignity of every human life, we are a unique community investment partnership that serves as a supercharged support engine and impact multiplier for Project HOME.
Why We Exist
Our ultimate goal is simple—to end and prevent homelessness.
To help reach this bold and ambitious objective, we've established additional markers along the way that drive accountability through measured results. With those results in mind, MPOWER is committed to the following goals:
- Develop 1,000 new units of housing to build capacity for thousands of chronically homeless individuals
- House 1,000 chronically homeless individuals from a by-name list
- House 200 young adults who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness
- Provide integrated healthcare, education, and employment services to support housing
Through these tangible objectives, MPOWER is committed to supporting Project HOME in its mission to break the cycle of homelessness for all people.
MPOWER Origins: How It All Started
Homelessness is a complex and deeply human issue that has been shown to be solvable in our lifetime. But surging social forces have put us on the verge of a new homelessness crisis. The rise in addiction coupled with growing poverty, mental illness and young adults experiencing homelessness is elevating the issue to a whole new level.
As an organization on the front lines of this issue, our Project HOME team understood the impact these new forces would create and recognized the need for updated solutions. We began forging partnerships with powerful allies to create targeted campaigns with clear objectives and a demonstrable return for social investors.
A Transformational Partner That Became A Partnership
Enter Leigh and John Middleton. In 2011, the Middletons toured Project HOME. During that tour, they saw the power of our approach to ending homelessness firsthand. Following that tour, the Middletons made a transformational gift to Project HOME, challenging the organization to end and prevent chronic street homelessness—for good.
Soon Jon Bon Jovi and other like-minded partners joined the charge and created MPOWER—a supercharged engine to not only sustain Project HOME's work, but to strengthen it.
About the Middletons
John and Leigh Middleton are passionate about helping underserved people, especially in the Philadelphia area where they were both born.
John is the managing partner and principal owner of the Philadelphia Phillies. After selling his family’s tobacco business in 2007, John and Leigh began dedicating their time and resources to philanthropic efforts to help create positive and sustainable change. Their involvement in Project HOME ignited a passion and vision for eradicating street homelessness in Philadelphia. The Middletons and Sister Mary Scullion discussed what it would take to end chronic homelessness in the City, and Sister Mary and Project HOME co-founder Joan Dawson McConnon developed a plan. In 2014 John and Leigh made a transformational contribution—one of the largest single private gifts given to an organization working to end and prevent homelessness in the nation—establishing a partnership that continues to help expand Project HOME’s outreach efforts to transform lives.
Their contributions evolved into MPOWER, an unprecedented collaborative community investment partnership underwritten by the Middletons and led by Project HOME. MPOWER serves as an impact multiplier for Project HOME’s work, leveraging public and private support from the City of Philadelphia, state and federal agencies, philanthropists, and foundations to maximize and utilize funds to the greatest benefit of others.
While their primary philanthropic focus is on homelessness, the Middletons have made significant contributions to a wide variety of philanthropic organizations in addition to Project HOME, including Penn Medicine, Teach for America, Amherst College, Dartmouth College, The Haverford School, and Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church where they are longtime members. They have underwritten the Philadelphia School District’s district-wide programming for career and technology education in the city. In 2020, the Middleton Family sponsored the PHLove Variety Show, raising more than $1.5 million for the Philadelphia COVID-19 Relief Fund.
A member of the Amherst College Board of Trustees, John was awarded its Medal for Eminent Service in 2004 in honor of his dedication to the school.
In addition to serving on the Board of Trustees for Project HOME, Leigh has also served on the Women’s Committee for the Academy of Natural Sciences and numerous committees for the Philadelphia Antiques Show and the Academy of Music.
In recognition of their philanthropic endeavors, the Middletons were honored with the Philadelphia Award in 2013 and the Crystal Award in 2018.
The Middletons have two grown children and two grandchildren.
Q & A with the Middletons
When it comes to their philanthropic efforts, John and Leigh Middleton like to start with the endgame in mind, supporting efforts that help provide permanent solutions to daunting and pervasive problems. Their involvement in Project HOME ignited a passion and vision for eradicating street homelessness in Philadelphia. The Middletons and Sister Mary Scullion discussed what it would take to end chronic homelessness in the City, and Sister Mary and Project HOME co-founder Joan Dawson McConnon developed a plan. In 2014 John and Leigh made a transformational contribution—one of the largest single private gifts given to an organization working to end and prevent homelessness in the nation—establishing a partnership that continues to help expand Project HOME’s outreach efforts to transform lives.
Their contributions evolved into MPOWER, an unprecedented collaborative community investment partnership underwritten by the Middletons and led by Project HOME. MPOWER serves as an impact multiplier for Project HOME’s work, leveraging public and private support from the City of Philadelphia, state and federal agencies, philanthropists, and foundations to maximize and utilize funds to the greatest benefit of others. For their leadership in forging the Middleton Partnership, John and Leigh were honored with Project HOME’s 2014 Golden Heart Award.
The Middletons sat down with us to about their work with Project HOME.
Project HOME: How did you become involved in Project HOME?
John: Sister Mary Scullion invited us to tour Project HOME in 2011. We were both very impressed with the organization’s commitment to not just provide temporary fixes but to find and implement solutions to eradicate homelessness in Philadelphia permanently.
Leigh: Project HOME is transforming lives and empowering people to be their own agents of change.
Project HOME: Speaking of “empowering,” your gift and efforts to help raise money for Project HOME led to MPOWER. Can you tell us what is unique about this partnership?
Leigh: We share Project HOME’s vision to end street homelessness in Philadelphia. Our commitment goes beyond financial resources—we really want to use our time, professional skills and experience to help Project HOME find and implement solutions. And what makes the partnership so effective is the combination of people, skillsets and resources to address the various challenges vulnerable people face.
John: MPOWER is a unique public, private and non-profit partnership model drawing on a powerful network of like-minded people, ideas and resources that multiplies Project HOME’s impact in five key areas: investments, relationships, resources, advocacy, and evidence. In just five years, the Partnership’s impact multiplier model has leveraged $25 million into $250 million.
That ten-fold increase enables Project HOME to draw on its resources to work on multiple initiatives simultaneously, attract more funding, and provide services to more than 15,000 people, including ending chronic street homelessness for more than 1,000 people. When other philanthropic organizations, corporate donors, and individuals learn just how far every dollar donated to Project HOME can go, they want to part of the successful efforts to end homelessness in Philadelphia.
Project HOME: You are both private and reserved and would prefer to avoid the spotlight altogether, letting the work speak for itself. Why do you consider promoting and telling others about Project HOME an important part of your philanthropic commitment?
Leigh: While we are happiest behind the scenes, we also recognize that by sharing the Project HOME story with others, we’re potentially creating more pathways to giving, and ultimately, helping more people.
Project HOME: How do you think your philanthropy and your time commitment has made a difference to the population served by Project HOME?
John: Project HOME takes the stewardship of its resources very seriously and the organization was doing amazing things before we became involved. Our involvement has enabled Project HOME to expand their work and increase the number of people helped on a broader scale.
Leigh: In being more public about our efforts we’ve been able to raise awareness of Project HOME’s success, help influence other philanthropists, and ultimately help more people.
Project HOME: What do you find most rewarding about your work with Project HOME?
John: We’ve had a chance to meet people who have been helped by Project HOME and will never forget the woman who came up to us and said, “I want you to know you saved my life. I’m now living in a house you helped fund and I’m being helped by services and programs you help support.”
Leigh: It’s incredibly rewarding to hear about the successful outcomes. Helping change the lives of others is changing ours, too.
Project HOME: What do you want your legacy to be?
Leigh: Giving back and supporting others is something that was instilled in us by our families, and we want to model those values for our children and grandchildren.
John: At the end of the day, we want to make sure that we’ve done our part to leave the world better than we found it.
Today, MPOWER is a Project HOME Community Investment Partnership drawing on a powerful network of people and ideas that multiplies Project HOME's impact in five key areas: investments, relationships, resources, advocacy, and evidence.
- Investments. We all have a role to play in ending the cycle of homelessness. We work to maximize the impact of every dollar we receive and eagerly look for new opportunities and connections that grow our capacity and ability to positively impact lives.
- Relationships. The power of this partnership is the power of "we." We bring communities together, facilitating new philanthropic connections and opportunities between generous individuals and institutions. Together, we achieve powerful results we could never have accomplished alone.
- Resources. We want to shatter the cycle of homelessness. We seek out fresh approaches and strategies to add to our collection of tools and tactics to anticipate and stay ahead of emerging challenges.
- Advocacy. Our voices will be heard. In everything we do, we strive to make sure politicians, public employees, influencers, and the general public are passionate about the issue of homelessness and working to end it.
- Evidence. We build on what works. We constantly measure our impact and establish best practices to multiply the impact of our work to protect the safety and dignity of all people.
MPOWER's growing list of partners has gone beyond helping individuals to revitalizing entire communities.
MPOWER's Visionary Leaders
Sheila and John Connors
Gloria and John Drosdick
Pam Estadt and Ira Lubert
Janet and John Haas
The Honickman Family
I Am the Vine Foundation
Independence Blue Cross
JBJ Soul Foundation
Peggy and Harold Katz
James and Agnes Kim Foundation
Stephen B. Klein
Suzanne and Robert Levin
Leigh and John Middleton
Elizabeth R. Moran
Neubauer Family Foundation
Raynier Institute and Foundation
Aileen and Brian Roberts
Marie and Jim Seward
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Inc.
A. Morris Williams, Jr.
Connie and Sankey Williams
William Penn Foundation
Deceased members are italicized.
In less than a decade, MPOWER's impact multiplier model has leveraged $25 million into $250 million to break the cycle of homelessness for more than 15,000 people.
The impact of these homes and the supportive programs that accompany them go beyond helping individuals to revitalizing entire communities. Residents are encouraged to participate in recovery-oriented activities that lead to personal growth, well-being, and self-sufficiency. These are communities with a shared vision who leverage what Jon Bon Jovi calls "The Power of We" to make ending chronic street homelessness a reality.