In 2009, Greg and Jodi Perlman established ALL WAYS UP with a simple, yet compelling mission: To help hardworking, low-income individuals improve their lives. Since then, All Ways Up has expanded its reach to provide support to individuals and community-based organizations throughout the United States.
The Perlmans have a long history of supporting individuals and organizations that are working to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. As owners of thousands of Section 8 housing units across the country, Greg and Jodi were struck by the rampant generational poverty they saw, and the difficulty many individuals, couples and families had in breaking free of it. They realized that at these properties, they had the resources to identify — and lend a helping hand to — those working hard to better their lives. With this idea, ALL WAYS UP was born.
ALL WAYS UP started by offering a scholarship to any high school graduate who lived in Section 8 housing and enrolled in a two- or four-year college or university. These students were given scholarships of up to $2,500 a year to ease the financial burden of college. After seeing the impact of this initial effort, ALL WAYS UP soon began to offer Section 8 residents other services, including summer camp scholarships for children and home ownership down payment grants for couples and families saving every spare penny to buy their first home.
As ALL WAYS UP began to evolve, it discovered another way to create positive change: To partner with community-based, non-profit organizations that were running programs for low-income, hard-working, motivated participants.
The first such partnership was created with the Social Justice Learning Institute’s Black Male Youth Academy, whose success rates were astounding. This partnership allowed ALL WAYS UP to expand services beyond Section 8 housing to other low-income residents in the community.
In 2012, ALL WAYS UP broadened its charity partner outreach by launching the Bridging the Gap Awards (BGA), a grant program that assists smaller-sized non-profits working hard to help low-income residents all around the country. Through partnerships with these grass-roots charities, ALL WAYS UP has expanded its giving programs to include college scholarships and an annual UP Through Education Summit for students entering their first year of college. To date, through the BGAs and other initiatives, ALL WAYS UP has funded more than 60 community partners and over 600 education scholarships.
In 2014, what began as the Perlman Foundation, officially became ALL WAYS UP. This change reflects the organization’s expanding base of partnerships, widening reach and continuing devotion to create unique and powerful ways to bridge the gap between ambition and achievement. ALL WAYS UP is proud of the many “ways up” being taken by those we serve — low-income youth and families with a demonstrated commitment to elevating their lives, with a primary focus on post-secondary education.
In addition to ALL WAYS UP and its focus on education, in 2019 Greg and Jodi formed a new 501(c)(3) called The Change Reaction. The Change Reaction is a revolutionary movement that amplifies the power of giving and reminds people that the kindness of strangers still exists. Through partnerships with community-based organizations, The Change Reaction connects hardworking people experiencing financial hardship with individual donors ready to provide immediate assistance. These generous donations are called Angel Funds—grants that are given to our partner organizations, which we call Change Agents. These grants support specific needs of the participants in the Change Agents’ organizations by making an immediate, direct impact where it’s needed most, whether it’s providing transportation to and from the hospital for parents of children battling life-threatening illnesses or giving first month’s rent to a senior citizen struggling to secure permanent housing on a low, fixed income. Caseworkers share the needs of the individual recipients with Angel Fund donors, creating a one-on-one connection to real-life people with real-world challenges.
The result is an unprecedented return on investment in giving — making a difference not only for the ultimate recipient, but also for the caseworker who is able to personally impact the lives of individuals and families they serve, providing funds quickly and with flexibility beyond the standard mandates of their organizations. This act of generosity uplifts everyone it touches with a renewed sense of purpose — and power — uniquely fulfilling the dreams of the doers as well as those who receive.