Archives: Community Service

Schools showcase achievements for area Realtors

Posted on: January 20, 2015


When local Realtors toured some of Northwest Philadelphia’s public schools, they discovered that, just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge a school by the news.

The Nortwest Philadelphia Public School Realtor Tour, organized by the Mt. Airy Schools Coalition and Elfant Wissahickon Realtors, was formed to showcase the educational opportunities and strong school programs available to prospective home-buyers in Mt. Airy and the surrounding areas, while counteracting negative opinions about the school district.

Katey McGrath, director of operations at Elfant Wissahickon and a board member of Friends of Jenks, along with Abby Thaker, of the Mt. Airy Schools Coalition, came up with the idea to arrange the tour last year…

Continue reading on The Chestnut Hill Local Website

How to protect your home when you leave for vacation.

Posted on: July 30, 2014

Summertime is the time of year when most Americans take vacation. Over 60% of us, in fact, take our vacations in July or August. On average, we are gone for about 2 weeks per season.

That said, it is extremely important to protect your house and belongings when you are gone.  Thieves can case your neighborhood, looking for houses that appear vacant and can even be as bold as ringing the doorbell to see if you are home. There are a few sensible steps to make sure your house is protected when you are way, below are a few of them:

1) Never post your vacation dates and plans on social media, and if you do, make sure your privacy settings are set so just your trusted friends can see your posts.

2) Before you leave, make sure all of your doors and windows are locked and that your ground floor curtains or shades are pulled.

3) Invest in a home security or camera system if you leave your house unattended regularly. There are now low-cost options that can help protect your valuables.

4) Make sure it appears as though you are home. Keep outdoor lights on, illuminating your property enough to deter burglars. Set some indoor lights to timers in different rooms. Leave a television or radio on, or set it to a timer, as light to moderate sound will make thieves second guess a break in.

5) If you go on an extended trip, schedule lawn maintenance. Nothing says vacant property like an overgrown yard.

6) Have a trusted family member or neighbor check on your house every day or two and report back to you. This will ease your mind in addition to appearing like you have company if someone is watching you house.

7) Don’t forget to have your neighbor or family member pick up your mail and newspapers. Burglars also check mailboxes to see if letters have been piling up for some time.

If you follow some of these simple suggestions, it will go a long way in protecting your property and easing your mind so you can enjoy your rest and relaxation. Happy Summer!


Elfant Wissahickon Realtors to host The Friends of The Wissahickon Forbidden 10k this Weekend!

Posted on: May 15, 2014

The Friends of the Wissahickon (FOW) is hosting a 10K race along Forbidden Drive in the northwest section of Philadelphia on May 18.  The 10K, 6.2-mile loop course begins at 9 a.m. and takes place in the Wissahickon Park, along Forbidden Drive and will pass by many historic points of interest including the Thomas Mill covered bridge, the Tedyuscung Indian statue and Valley Green Inn. The race is perfect for both the serious runner and the occasional runner/walker.

There will be awards for male and female divisions as well as various age groups. Bryn Mawr Running Co. will be doing the chip timing for the race.  The cost of registration is $40 per entrant. After May 1, it is $50. Register for the race at

Funds raised from the race will assist in the continued restoration and preservation of the historic Valley Green Inn and Wissahickon Park.

Click HERE for more info!

The Chestnut Hill Rotary Chili Cookoff

Posted on: April 10, 2014

The Chestnut Hill Rotary Chili Cook-off took place on Sunday, April 6th at the Lutheran Seminary on Germantown Ave.  This is the Chestnut Hill Rotary’s biggest fundraiser of the year and proceeds from the event provide funds to Jenks Elementary School, Shelterbox, Power Up Gambia, Hope Childrens Home in Guyana and many other worthy causes.

For the second year Elfant Wissahickon Realtors participated as a Rose Gold Sponsor along with the Larry DiFranco Team, the Wendy Schwartz Team, and the Louise D’Alessandro Team.  Local firefighters judged the chili entries from 12 different local restaurants and caterers to arrive at the following winners for the day:

Mt. Airy Firefighters judged these as the best in a blind taste test:





People’s Choice Awards:



Over 500 people attended the event and thoroughly appreciated the great chili while their kids enjoyed the balloon animals, face painting and magician throughout the day.

Elfant Wissahickon Realtors Partners with Face To Face Germantown for its 2014 Anti-Poverty Initiative

Posted on: April 2, 2014

From L to R: Jared E. Pontz (VP and Managing Partner, Martin Elfant, Inc.), Bob Elfant (President, Elfant Wissahickon Realtors), Susan O'Hagan Marley (Director of Development, Face To Face Germantown), Louise D'Alessandro (Partner, Elfant Wissahickon Realtors) and Larry DiFranco (Partner, Elfant Wissahickon Realtors).

Philadelphia, Pa – April 2, 2014 Elfant Wissahickon Realtors, Philadelphia’s Leading Independent Real Estate Brokerage, in conjunction with Martin Elfant Inc., Class and Northwest Abstract, and Direct Mortgage Loan Co., is proud to announce Face to Face in Germantown as its community partner for the company’s 2014 anti poverty initiative.

Face to Face is a multi-faceted service organization that works with individuals and families living below the poverty level. It is located at 109 East Price Street in Germantown and offers a Dining Room, a nurse managed health center, a legal center, social services center and children’s summer camps and after school programs for people in the region. They also have a “Washeteria” where those in need can take a hot shower and receive a new set of clothes. Face to Face serves 2,500 annually and has been a stable presence in Germantown for over 20 years.

Philadelphia’s poverty rate is at an historic high of 26% according to a recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer. On the heels of Elfant Wissahickon Realtors’ most successful year ever, the partners of the company, along with those at Martin Elfant Inc., have decided to structure a campaign that would enable the companies to mount a significant antipoverty initiative.

The companies have set a fundraising goal of $30,000. The agents and owners of Elfant Wissahickon will donate funds every time someone does business with the company. Guaranteed Rate, Mortgage Master Inc. and First Choice Loan Services, the preferred lenders of Elfant Wissahickon, are making donations each time a Buyer client of EW secures a mortgage. Northwest and Class Abstract are making a contribution for each title insurance policy placed. The principals of Elfant Wissahickon Realtors and Martin Elfant, Inc. will make an additional donation of 50% of the total funds raised after 12 months.

Home buyers and sellers will also receive information about Face To Face at the Settlement table which will allow them to make personal donations through Elfant Wissahickon Realtors. Bob Elfant adds, “The money will be used to fund an increase in the level of service provided by Face to Face, an organization that treats their clients with dignity and respect. We hope our contribution will make a real difference in the lives of people served by Face to Face.”

Some Photos From The North Light "Madness In March" 5k!

Posted on: March 25, 2014

On Sunday, March 23rd Elfant Wissahickon Realtors was proud to have sponsored and participated in the North Light Madness In March 5k!

The race/walk took place on the Manayunk Towpath and all proceeds went to benefit the North Light Community Center, a staple in Manayunk for over 75 years! Its mission is to enable people of all ages and abilities in our communities, especially those most in need, to reach their full potential as productive and responsible citizens through initiatives that support and enrich children, teens, and families.

The Empty Bowl Benefit Dinner

Posted on: November 21, 2013

The Empty Bowl Benefit Dinner, an important annual community service dinner, has been around for over 20 years.

On the night of the Empty Bowl Dinner, each person chooses a donated, handcrafted bowl. Soup donated from many businesses, schools, and individuals from Arcadia University and the surrounding community is eaten from these bowls. The bowl is then taken home to serve as a reminder of the many people who eat from an empty bowl every day.

This year, half of the proceeds raised were donated to the Philippines relief effort. Elfant’s Wissahickon REALTORS Jake Markovitz, Larry DiFranco, Rena Asher, Anita Lam, Amy Greenstein, Cathy Davis, and Chas Hendricksen volunteered their time for this wonderful event. Chas even took some great pictures, posted above. More information about this year’s Empty Bowl Benefit Dinner can be found HERE.

East Mt. Airy residents prevail as abandoned site becomes public park

Posted on: October 24, 2013

(Source: Newsworks)

Philadelphia now has six more acres of public parkland, thanks to an effort kick-started by residents nearly 20 years ago.

The wild plot in East Mt. Airy, long used as a dumping site, has languished for decades. It was privately owned, but became public earlier this month after a deal brokered by the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

“It is with great pleasure and satisfaction that I share with you that the city’s acquisition of the Wissahickon East parcel is complete. It is officially ours,” Mark Focht, the department’s first deputy commissioner, said in a statement sent out to nearby residents.

Neighbors first organized around the issue around 1995. In 2004, they banded together under the banner of the Wissahickon East Project to push for the parcel to become a community asset.

“I assumed that this day would come, but there were certainly some times that it looked pretty bleak because these kinds of changes are not so easy to make,” said Elizabeth Martens, who co-chairs WEP’s board. “The developer needed to cooperate with it, the city had to be in a position to accept the land and that takes time.”

The land was previously owned by DeSouza Brown Inc., which, at one time, considered building condominiums on the property.

The effort was halted in 2006 after a historical easement was placed on the property. The resident-led initiative, negotiated over several years, protected the land from development and effectively gave the city the opportunity to acquire the property.

DeSouza Brown later donated the land to the city after a bill to that end was passed in City Council.

Under the terms of the historical easement, the parcel, which straddles Cresheim Creek, will remain largely as-is save for a simple path. Now that it’s parkland, the city and volunteers can access it freely to make sure it stays clean.

The first cleanup is scheduled for Dec. 7.

“The goal is to have the land in as much of a natural state as possible,” said Martens.

The park, which runs along Cresheim Valley Drive off of Germantown Avenue, becomes public as Philadelphia considers creating a land bank to make it easier to put vacant properties to work.

Volunteers give Jenks art room a face-lift before opening day

Posted on: September 11, 2013

(Source: Chestnut Hill Local)

When students at J.S. Jenks Elementary School visit their art room next week, their jaws will hit the floor.

Thanks to the generosity of many community members, led by Chestnut Hill Rotary and Elfant Wissahickon Realtors, the Jenks basement art room has undergone an amazing transformation.

Calling the project a “face-lift” doesn’t seem to do it justice. Imagine a very dark, dirty, basement art room with a scattering of supplies, dried paint bottles and scraps of paper. “Depressing” and “pathetic atmosphere” were the words used by Rotarian Carol Tyler to describe the art room during a June Rotary meeting.

Denise Chapline, fellow Rotarian and member of Elfant Wissahickon’s DiFranco Team, was touched by these words and leaped into action. Together with professional photographer and Rotarian Carol Bates, Chapline launched the renovation project.

Appeals when out to Rotarians, community members, Elfant Wissahickon realtors and brokers and local businesses. As is often the case in Chestnut Hill, if you ask, people give.

Chapline’s first donor was Old City Paint & Decorating (Benjamin Moore). After writing a solicitation letter to manager Thomas Donnell, she stopped in the store to follow up. He told her he would happy to give everything she requested and he promptly responded with paint, drop cloths and brushes for the entire project.

Later that week, Bates bumped into Handyman on the Hill John O’Donovan, while shopping at Kilian’s. She told him about the project and O’Donovan jumped at the chance to help out. He dedicated three full work days and helped the volunteer crew prep for painting and repair furniture.

Chapline put out a call to fellow realtors and brokers and collected $1,000. Combined with donations from Chestnut Hill Rotary and individual donors, more than $3,000 will be dedicated for the purchase of art supplies throughout the school year.

Perhaps most stunning is the efforts of the volunteers over the last few weeks. More than 275 hours have been dedicated to clean, prime, paint, repair and organize the room.

“It took a lot of elbow grease as we cleaned, sorted papers, reorganized, and repainted,” Chapline said.

Large oak art tables were carefully refinished by Frank McCarthy, of Artisan Restoration and Remodeling, who is also making four large wooden display boards to mount students’ art work. Like so many of those involved, McCarthy was happy to contribute.

“Carol asked and I said ‘yes’ – plus, if there’s any chance to give back, I always try to do that,” McCarthy said.

For most of the last two weeks there has been a flurry of activity in the art room as volunteers from Rotary, Friends of Jenks, Jenks Beautification Committee, Elfant Wissahickon and community residents worked feverishly to complete the project before school opens.

“What makes this project so great is the collaboration between so many members of the community,” said Chapline. “Everyone is keeping the students at the heart of the project, this is so very heartwarming.”

When Central High freshman Abby Gordon saw the email requesting volunteers, she responded to earn community service hours. She arrived with her mother, Nicole, who, after seeing the project, decided she would stick around to help. Nicole just completed her degree from La Salle University and wanted to give back to the community. The mother/daughter pair worked together each day and was usually the last to leave.

“I just can’t believe how dedicated they are,” Bates said . “They keep showing up and working hard all day. We have so many amazing volunteers. That’s the only way we could have gotten this done.”

Chapline agreed. She believes that everyone in the community wants good things for Jenks but often are uncertain of how or where to act. This project was an appealing endeavor that touched people in many different ways. It was small, manageable and had a very specific outcome and time line.

She considers the art room project to be a great model for community improvement.

“We need to take bites, like this, into things that need to be done,” she said. “If we do that, and work together, we will get a lot accomplished in our community.”

The transformed art room will be enjoyed by students all year. Despite Philadelphia School District (PSD) budget cuts, students will receive art instruction from volunteers David Green Laura Eyring, a Jenks parent. Green is a PSD retired art teacher who teaches Jenks art classes three days a week, and Eyring will assist in the planning and instruction. Additionally, a group of 15 Jenks students will participate in the Fresh Artists program.

When asked about the art room renovation, Principal Mary Lynskey was silent for a moment, then took a breath and said, “This is absolutely unbelievable – they gave that room an extreme, extreme makeover. It’s just another example of how people come together when we need it most.” (Paula M. Riley)

Kid Friendly Philadelphia: ROXBOROUGH

Posted on: September 9, 2013


Roxborough— “Sandwiched between the Schuylkill River and Fairmount Park, Roxborough is a superb place to settle and experience a satisfying life in northwest Philadelphia. Over 38,000 middle-class residents live in Roxborough in over 16,000 housing units. Families stay in Roxborough from one generation to the next and welcome new residents with open arms. Crime statistics rank the Roxborough community as the safest neighborhood in the city where children play in the street and elderly residents relax on the porch on summer nights.” (source:


Gorgas Park: The site of many concerts, festivals, movies in the park, flea markets and other family oriented events. (6300 Ridge Avenue)

Kendrick Playground: Kendrick Recreation Center is a Full Service Community Recreation Center located in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia. It is a City of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation facility. Kendrick Recreation Center has many classes, activities and sports events. (5800 Ridge Avenue)


Roxborough YMCA: The Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA offers a wide range of programs for children and teens including swim lessons, youth sports, gymnastics, karate, fitness, child care and day camps. For adults and seniors, the Y has personal training, a variety of group exercise classes, yoga, zumba, water aerobics, wellness orientations and free babysitting services. (7201 Ridge Avenue)

Kendrick Rec Public Pool: Kendrick Recreation Center has many classes, activities and events. (5800 Ridge Avenue)


Philadelphia Summer Camps: A blog dedicated to Philadelphia area summer camp programs.

YMCA Summer Day Camp: YMCA Summer Camp programs are fun for children of all ages. Summer camp activities include field trips, swimming, sports and activities that campers discover the importance of living a life full of fitness and nutrition.

Pinemere Camp: Pinemere Camp’s mission is to provide campers and staff members with a group living experience rooted in the religious and social traditions of Judaism. Pinemere defines its identity by means of group processes and opportunities for personal growth. Our goal is to provide each camper with an individualized, progressive, and diverse program designed to foster new skills and to refine old ones. Pinemere is committed to offering our approximately 250 campers and 100 staff members the opportunity to become integral members of a caring Jewish camp community. At Pinemere, each person is offered a summer of fun and a lifetime of memories. (4100 Main Street, Suite 301)

Attractions/ Things To Do:

Boy and Girl Scouts: Roxborough Baptist church houses Boy Scout Troop 114, Cub Pack 114 and the Girl Scouts (Daisy Troop, Brownie Troop, Junior Troop and Cadette/Sr. Girl Scout Troop), who have been meeting at this location for more than ten years.

Children’s Sporting Teams: Roxborough Eagles, 21st Ward Junior Baseball and Softball Leagues.

Wissahickon Skate Club: This skating club is open to the public for open skating sessions year-round and weekly hockey games in the winter. Private lessons and teams also available.

Roxborough High School Tennis Courts: 3 tennis courts available (Gate Street and Manayunk Avenue)

Manayunk / Roxborough Art Center: Classes and Gallery. (419 Green Lane)

Jeannette’s Dance School: The curriculum covers a full spectrum from Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Pointe, Hip Hop & Lyrical accommodating children ages 2 through adult. (536 Green Lane)

Kid Friendly Restaurants:

Daiva’s Diner & Grille: 6750 Ridge Avenue

Bob’s Diner: 6053 Ridge Avenue

Mel’s Kitchen: 5001 Umbria Street

Custard and Cakes Creamery: 5461 Ridge Avenue

Nick’s Ices and Ice Cream: 5925 Ridge Avenue

Sweet Frog: 8500 Henry Avenue


Worn Yesterday: Gently used children’s and maternity clothing.


Roxtoberfest: The event aims to draw families with a variety of carnival activities with face painting, live music and a moon bounce. (October)

Manayunk Arts Festival: The tri-state’s largest outdoor, juried arts festival.