Since its founding in 1987, Philadelphia Folklore Project has documented, supported, and presented Philadelphia-area folk arts and culture to sustain living cultural heritage in communities. Annually, the Folklore Project offers exhibitions, concerts, and workshops to artists and communities. The organization conducts ongoing field research into community-based local arts, history, and culture, and preserves a record of Philadelphia's folklife in its archive. Projects that Center funding has supported include Dance Happens Here, which presented dancers who share their cultural lineage through movement; a community documentation training program; and the development of the Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change, which addresses urgent issues of violence against women in Philadelphia’s growing Liberian community through performances. In 2017, the Folklore Project received Center funding to present Soul Songs: Inspiring Women of Klezmer, a concert of new compositions, written and performed by three generations of women who bring contemporary meaning to klezmer music. In 2021, the organization received a Re:imagining Recovery grant to strengthen Philadelphia Folklore Project’s mission to sustain the vitality of folklife and living cultural heritage through collaborative community archives and multimedia storytelling projects through reorganized staff structures, upgraded digital tools, and a newly envisioned folk art and social change fellowship.
As the Philadelphia Folklore Project (PFP) faced a major institutional turning point with the planned retirement of its founder and longstanding director, it developed a strategic plan for 2012–16 that mapped out a path for leadership transition and developed new programming models for the future. As part of the process, PFP interviewed local and national peers in the fields of folklore, community arts, and grassroots activism, and used the data gained from those surveys to design three planning gatherings. The discussions at these gatherings, which involved PFP staff, board members, artists, and audience members, investigated the potential of PFP's past work and focused on ideas around community and cultural development, education, and documentation. They formed the basis for a strategic plan that includes clear transition steps, fleshed-out descriptions of staff skills and responsibilities, and new ideas for fundraising and integration of new media. The plan became the basis for a 2013 Project Grant, which will implement the succession plan and launch PFP's new project, the Folklore Congress. [fn]Management grants, through the Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative, were awarded from 2009 through 2013.[/fn]