WITH THE ECONOMY in a slump and the jobless rate still high, more and more people are turning to local nonprofits for help with basic needs - from food to housing to child care. In fact, some people who supported these nonprofits in the past are now looking to them for assistance.

Unfortunately, many of these organizations are struggling, too. Faced with funding cuts and a decline in contributions, many have been forced to scale back at a time when even more people need their help.

Recognizing that a recovery is still some way off, leaders from several of Philadelphia's most venerable nonprofits have come together to create a solution and chart a new course for building support and raising the dollars necessary to fund long-valued programs.

This new coalition is called Give Philly - and it consists of seven of the city's leading nonprofits serving children and families:

Boys & Girls Club of Philadelphia.

Cradle of Liberty Council - Boy Scouts of America.

The Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia.

Settlement Music School.

Travelers Aid Family Services of Philadelphia.

United Cerebral Palsy of Philadelphia & Vicinity.

YMCA of Philadelphia and Vicinity.

These are Philadelphia organizations you know well, organizations that dedicate each day to making our region a better place for everyone, especially for those who need the most support, guidance and attention. Practically every family in our region has been touched by at least one of them at one time or another.

Together, we serve more than 370,000 children, adults and families each year, and collectively we have been operating in Philadelphia's neighborhoods and communities for an average of 115 years.

We hope the Give Philly partnership will be a new model for the nonprofit community. We are partnering on programs and operations by sharing resources, ideas and best practices, as well as a coordinated marketing and development campaign. This helps us operate more efficiently, increase capacity and ultimately maximize the impact of our services.

Just as important, Give Philly is focused on helping people right here at home. When people support Give Philly, they know that their dollars are going to directly benefit children and families in their community. Since the Philadelphia Foundation is providing "back office" support to Give Philly free of charge, 100 percent of every donor's gift goes directly to the agencies that they choose to support, without any deduction for administrative or handling fees.

Given the times we live in, our services are needed now more than ever. Give Philly will help ensure that these vital organizations will be there for the people who need us most.

Jeffrey Waldron is the chief professional officer for the Boys & Girls Club of Philadelphia, a Give Philly organization. For more information about Give Philly or to make a donation, visit www.givephilly.org.