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Impact Stories Published September 13, 2022

The Monkey & The Elephant

black man with a baseball cap and jean jacket putting coffee into the espresso machine

Did you know that a large number of Pennsylvania youth are aging out of the foster care system without the skills they need to thrive as adults? Juvenile Law Center found that only 44% of youth experiencing foster care have full- or part-time jobs by 21 years old, compared to 57% of young adults not in the foster care system. The Monkey & The Elephant was formed to try to bridge this gap, and they’ve been successful with a little help from VIP.

The Monkey & The Elephant is Philadelphia’s first and only non-profit coffee shop employing and supporting former foster youth, and Philadelphia VIP has been with them every step of the way. When they were looking to move from a city program that provided free space to their first brick-and-mortar location, The Monkey & The Elephant needed to review possible leases of new spaces in a short period of time. They reached out to VIP seeking help in drafting and reviewing commercial lease agreements.

With the help of a VIP attorney William C. Rhodes and Chris Jones of Ballard Spahr, The Monkey & The Elephant opened their first location with confidence in their lease. When the pandemic hit and The Monkey & The Elephant faced more legal questions, they reached out to VIP’s new Ask an Attorney program for help.

VIP matched the organization with another volunteer attorney, Eric M. Schweiker from Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, for a one-hour consultation on employment and unemployment assistance. They were able to move forward with this information, and continue serving the Philadelphia community.