Centre PACT Students: Grant $8,495 to Six Local Organizations

Centre pact 2017 2018  8 495 raised and granted
A group of Centre County high school students awarded $8,495 to six local non-profit organizations as the culmination of their year-long participation in Centre PACT (Philanthropic Actions Created by Teens), a program of Centre Foundation. “I am tremendously excited about the impact our funding will make for all the organizations we have chosen to support,” said Aja Kukic-Bartoo, a member of Centre PACT. In September, the students kicked-off the program by selecting the theme of “Educating and Inspiring Youth for a Healthier, Brighter Future,” which guided their granting decisions in April.  “Since September, these amazing students have rolled up their sleeves and learned about philanthropy in a very hands-on way, learning everything from granting to fundraising,” said Molly Kunkel, Executive Director at Centre Foundation. “They have made such an impact, and in the areas that really speak to them. It’s been so inspiring to watch these young philanthropists grow during the course of this program.” After creating their own grant application process and putting out a request for proposal, the students reviewed the applications.  Finalist organizations received a site visit from a cohort of the students so that they could view the program up close, see the impact, and ask the staff questions. “The grant application process and site visits allowed the students to learn more about the nuts and bolts of granting, as well as provided them with a window into how non-profits operate,” explained Kunkel. The students began the year with a $1,000 granting pool provided by Centre Foundation and $2,000 from a recently opened endowment fund for their group, but quickly realized their appetite for impact was much larger.  So, they began a prospecting campaign that ultimately raised $5,495 from 37 community supporters. “The students’ dedication to expanding their impact was commendable, allowing them to make grants to six organizations,” said Kunkel. Students, parents, community supporters, and non-profit representatives were on hand for a check presentation party, which also marked the end of the program’s second year. Centre PACT students Joanna Switala and Emma Riglin presented $750.00 to Front & Centre Productions of Philipsburg. “I’m excited about giving money to Front & Centre Productions,” noted Riglin. “I have experienced their program and their impact.  They truly provide great programs for youth in Centre County, especially Philipsburg which is so important.” "It is an honor to be receiving a grant from the amazing young philanthropists of Centre PACT,” said Stephen Switala, Executive Director of Front & Centre Productions.  “We are excited to utilize the grant to offer a Children's Choir to our community as another outlet for youth creativity through the arts.  INSPIRE Children's Choir will offer young vocalists the opportunity to sing with others while spreading a message of inspiration, self-worth, and encouragement through music." Ann Marie Paul and Kukic-Bartoo presented $872.50 to Darren and Anne Narber of Penns Valley Youth Center (PVYC), which serves 6th – 12th grade students in the Penns Valley area.  The funding will establish a new Integrative Arts Program, helping students to strengthen their success in and out of the classroom. This was the second year that PVYC received a grant from Centre PACT students.  Darren Narber noted his appreciation for the growing relationship with Centre PACT students, whose financial support has positively impacted students attending PVYC. Joey Feffer, Patrick McNutt, and Katherine Kim presented $872.50 to Debbie Lower and Gail Addison-Guss of Park Forest Preschool (PFP) for the Love of Arts program.  This grant will provide funding to enhance the music and art programs with more instruments, art easels, and other materials needed for open-ended arts activities. Kim remarked that this grant would “give every kid the opportunity to become the best that they can be.” “With this grant, the children at Park Forest Preschool will be painting, dancing, playing instruments, and singing to creatively support the development of the whole child,” said Addison-Guss, board chair of PFP. Bella DiNallo, Brontë Clingham-David, and Grace Handler presented $1,000.00 to Marisa Vicere of the Jana Marie Foundation (JMF), also a second-time recipient of a Centre PACT grant. Paul added that “it’s really great that the Jana Marie Foundation’s JAM sessions are now fully funded because they are the first co-ed creative expression programs that Jana Marie Foundation has.” “We are so grateful for the support of Centre PACT,” said Vicere, President of JMF. “Because of their ambition and dedication to improving Centre County, Jana Marie Foundation can continue our efforts to enhance creative thinking and mental well-being of adolescents, ages 11-17, by offering J.A.M. Sessions. Art, music, and creative expression are lifelong sources of resilience, self-confidence, and happiness. Thanks to Centre PACT, young people will have the opportunity to experience the benefits of creative expression.”Nick Feffer, Saoirse Hopp, and Will Wagner Henne presented $2,000.00 to Andrea Fisher of the Youth Service Bureau (YSB) for the Neighborhood Outreach program.   “After visiting the Youth Service Bureau site and hearing about all the work they do in the community, I feel very confident in granting this money to their program and believe it will make a very positive impact,” said Jackie Saleeby, reflecting on the students’ site visit to YSB. “Their program to reach out to less privileged children could change their lives so early on,” added Centre PACT student Caroline Sparrow.  Fisher commended the students’ efforts, noting that the grant will provide six months of program funding. The Neighborhood Outreach program sends staff into the field to interact with at-risk youth who experience family strife and poverty.  The YSB staff members provide healthy snacks, activities, mentoring, homework help, and hope. The final grant of the evening was presented by Sparrow, Saleeby, and Joy Zhu.  The students presented a $3,000.00 grant to Bella Bregar and Barb Alpert of the ACRES Project, which provides support for individuals with autism. “The ACRES project is close to my heart because I have a family member with autism,” Clingham-David shared. “Knowing that I can improve the lives of people like her in my own community is very important to me.”  “After going on a site visit and meeting people involved with ACRES, I am excited to see the impact their after-school activity will have, both in the short-term and long-term,” reflected McNutt. “We are so humbled to receive this grant,” said Bregar, Executive Director of ACRES Project.  “It will allow us to provide a nine-week social group program, free of charge to young adults or high school students.  It will provide a safe space to discuss and learn about friendship, social differences, and how to handle uncomfortable social situations. We are so excited to be able to offer this group.”  Perfect attendance awards were also presented to Emma Riglin and Joanna Switala, students from the Philipsburg-Osceola School District who travelled to State College for the monthly Centre PACT meetings.  Graduating high school seniors included Nick Feffer (Dartmouth, Biology), Joey Feffer (Harvard, Applied Math), Emma Riglin (Pennsylvania  State University, Public Relations), and Katherine Kim (Carnegie Mellon University, Biology). Two Class of 2017 - Penn State students who helped found the Centre PACT program and served as collegiate advisors for the past two years were also recognized, Carver and McQuillin Murphy.  The Murphys saw the program grow from a concept, to a pilot program with seven students raising $5,000, to this year’s program with 18 students. Centre County high school students may apply to join Centre PACT during fall recruitment, which will begin as schools reopen in August and September.  For more information, please visit or contact Irene Miller, Development & Events Coordinator (814.237.6229 | pictures from the grant check party:Read more about the Centre PACT program:March 2017 - Centre PACT hands-on impact!Click to see the impact that the students of Centre PACT 2015-2016 had in our community!

Centre Inspires update: Centred Outdoors project launches!

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Clearwater Conservancy, along with many partnering organizations announces today that registration is officially open for Centred Outdoors, an open invitation to free guided adventures at nine outdoor destinations around Centre County during the summer of 2017.   Melissa Freed, Nature Center Supervisor at Millbrook Marsh Nature Center explains, “Centred Outdoors provides opportunities for people of all ages and fitness levels to explore some of the most beautiful areas in Centre County. Whether you visit the sites on your own or attend a guided hike, there are amazing things to discover at each destination.”  On Sunday, June 11th, the public is invited to the Family Fishing Picnic from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Tussey Mountain, co-hosted by Spring Creek Chapter Trout Unlimited and ClearWater Conservancy. This event marks the official kick-off of Centred Outdoors and will feature fishing and food, children’s activities, fly tying and fly casting stations, kayaking, guided and other wilderness workshops (email to register).  Beginning June 18, Centered Outdoors events will take place every Sunday afternoon from 2-5 pm and every Wednesday evening from 6-9 pm until August 20.  Events will feature guided hikes and additional outdoor activities for everyone to explore, appreciate, and discover the natural locations in Centre County. Participants who track their progress will earn credit on the Centred Outdoors website and be eligible to win end-of-summer prizes for taking the “Centred Outdoors Challenge.” “We encourage everyone to participate in Centred Outdoors this summer. When we take a time-out from our busy schedules to disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature, we increase our physical and mental wellness, develop a greater appreciation for the wild outdoors, and are reminded to engage with the local organizations who work to conserve, protect and restore the beautiful region where we all love to live,” explains Deb Nardone, Executive Director at ClearWater Conservancy, “Centred Outdoors is all about healthy places, healthy people, and healthy nonprofits.” Centred Outdoors destinations include the Arboretum at Penn State, Bald Eagle State Park, Black Moshannon State Park, Barrens to Bald Eagle Wildlife Corridor, Millbrook Marsh Nature Center, Mount Nittany, Poe Paddy Tunnel, Spring Creek Canyon, and Talleyrand Park. For more information on Centered Outdoors to register for the program, visit    Patients of Mount Nittany Health will have a unique way to participate in the Centred Outdoors Program through Prescription PARx.  Virginia Wray, DO, CNSC, bariatric medicine, Mount Nittany Physician Group explains, “This summer, as part of the Prescription PARx program, I am excited to be writing prescriptions for patients to spend time being physically active in nature. Getting started on an exercise program that works best for each individual is important, and thanks to Centred Outdoors, patients can participate in guided adventures or explore sites on their own — at their own pace — no matter their fitness level. Research shows that spending time in nature while being active helps decrease high blood pressure, lowers blood sugar levels and decreases anxiety. These health benefits can be made through this unique community partnership, which directly addresses the pressing health issues of diabetes and obesity, as identified in the 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment. Every positive lifestyle change, whether big or small, helps in our journey to better health!” Faith Ryan, Executive Committee Chair of Centre Moves and Director of Centre County Office of Adult Services adds, “Centred Outdoors is a great opportunity for you and your family to get moving and enjoy all that nature has to offer. Centre Moves is proud to support and partner for this initiative because we believe that both physical activity and strong community ties are the keystone to healthy living.” Centred Outdoors is made possible by the 2016 Centre Inspires grant, awarded to ClearWater Conservancy by Centre Foundation. Clearwater Conservancy partnered with many community organizations to develop and implement the program, including Mount Nittany Health, Centre Moves, Penns Valley Conservation Association, Penn State Sustainable Communities, Millbrook Marsh Nature Center, Get Outdoors PA, Spring Creek Chapter Trout Unlimited, and Mount Nittany Conservancy. “Centre Foundation’s staff and board members are excited for the launch of Centred Outdoors, the third program funded by the Centre Inspires grant program,” said Molly Kunkel, Executive Director at Centre Foundation.  “Centred Outdoors will encourage people of all ages and abilities to get out and explore the natural beauty that surrounds us. No matter where someone lives or how much experience they have in the outdoors, the guided hikes will be a fun and healthy way for people to have a stress-free outing. ClearWater Conservancy has expertly partnered with many other local organizations so that these outings will really deliver for the participants.  Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly outing, a guided exploration of a yet-unexplored trail, a healthy ‘PARx’ recommendation, or a learning experience with flora and fauna sightings – Centred Outdoors will have something for everyone.”###The mission of ClearWater Conservancy is to conserve and restore the natural resources through land conservation, water resource stewardship and environmental outreach across central Pennsylvania.  

Centre Gives: $1.4M Total Community Impact

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Community members gave back to the place they love in a major way over the past 36 hours – raising well over a million dollars from over 8,700 gifts to benefit non-profit organizations serving Centre County. “We live in such a tremendously generous community,” said Molly Kunkel, Executive Director of Centre Foundation.  “Each year, the response is absolutely amazing! Since Centre Gives began in 2012, we’ve broken records every year –in participating organizations, in gifts, and in dollars raised.” Voted “Best Fundraising Event,” part of the popularity of the online giving event is the way donors’ gifts go further when made during the 36 hours of Centre Gives. “Donors know a good deal when they see it,” noted Kunkel.  “Gifts go further during Centre Gives, stretched by the $200,000 stretch pool and $25,000 in prizes.” Each year, Centre Foundation provides a $100,000 stretch pool and prize money.  This year, the Hamer Foundation added a $100,000 gift – increasing the stretch pool to a total of $200,000. “We are so grateful to the Hamer Foundation,” added Kunkel. “Their generosity will be felt across Centre County, from Philipsburg to Penns Valley and everywhere in between.  Organizations working in every charitable field imaginable will be able to feel the impact of this gift.” The more an organization raises, the larger its share of the pro-rated $200,000 stretch pool. “In addition to the stretch pool, there are also many prizes during Centre Gives,” Kunkel said. “The prizes add a fun and competitive flair that donors enjoy vying for on behalf of their favorite organizations.” Prizes based on most unique donors help level the playing field for organizations; they are also distributed in pairs, one for a large organization and one for a small organization. “Top 5 Overall” prizes of $1,000 for most unique donors during the entire 36 hours of Centre Gives were awarded to Centre County PAWS, Schlow Library, ClearWater Conservancy, The State Theatre, Centre Volunteers in Medicine, Centre Wildlife Care, Pets Come First, State College Area Roller Derby, Penns Valley Conservation Association, and TriYoga. Other organizations received a $500 prize for having the most unique donors during a given ‘power hour’ included: Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania, Camp Kesem - Central PA, Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, Centre County Housing & Land Trust, Centre County PAWS, ClearWater Conservancy, Discovery Space, Grace Prep High School, Nittany Greyhounds, Park Forest Preschool, Penns Valley Conservation Association, Penns Valley Youth Center, Schlow Library, Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited, State College Area Roller Derby, The State Theatre, and TriYoga. Organizations receiving $250 randomly drawn “Golden Ticket” prizes included:  Centre County Library & Historical Museum, Juniata Valley Council Boy Scouts, Centre County Historical Society, and the State of Hope Foundation. Finally, there were a few pre-event prizes given out to organizations participating in the March Success Series trainings and Facebook Challenges: Center for Alternatives in Community Justice, ClearWater Conservancy, The State Theatre, Nittany Beagle Rescue, State College Area Roller Derby, and Our Children’s Center Montessori School. Since Centre Gives began in 2012, about $5.4 million has been invested in the local non-profit network.  Community members’ generous gifts have supported local non-profit organizations working in the areas of arts, animals, education, environment, and health & social services. Centre Gives 2017 is sponsored by many forward-thinking members of our community, including the Hamer Foundation, Knight Foundation, First National Bank, PSECU, Balfurd Dry Cleaners, and Tom and Sara Songer of the Torron Group.  To learn more, please visit and save the date for next year: May 8-9, 2018!

Day 1 of Centre Gives Tops $500,000 in Gifts

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Centre County residents demonstrated their love of place by donating more than $500,000 during just the first day of Centre Gives – an online giving event that began at 8:00 am on Tuesday, May 9. “Day one of Centre Gives has been incredibly successful,” said Molly Kunkel, Executive Director at Centre Foundation. “At six o’clock this evening, the community had already donated over $500,000 from over 3,400 donations.” Combined with the $200,000 stretch pool and the prizes awarded so far during the event, this means that the current community investment topped $700,000. “Donors are savvy and they know that their gifts go further during Centre Gives because of the stretch pool and prizes,” added Kunkel.  “Centre Foundation puts up a $100,000 stretch pool.  This year, the Hamer Foundation generously added $100,000 to the stretch pool!  In 2016, gifts were stretched an average of 16%.  This year – with a doubled stretch pool – we know donors are excited about the impact that their gifts will have on the organizations receiving the donations.” Many ‘power hour’ prizes were also distributed during the first day of Centre Gives.  Schlow Library and TriYoga each received a $500 “Kick-Off Prize.” “The ‘power hour’ prizes are awarded based on number of unique donors, not total amount raised,” stated Kunkel. “This helps level the playing field.  Each ‘power hour’ comes with a pair of prizes, one for a larger organization and one for a smaller organization.” Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Grace Prep High School, Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania, Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, ClearWater Conservancy, and Penns Valley Youth Center also received ‘power hour’ prizes during the first day of Centre Gives. Some prizes were given out earlier during the March Success Series trainings and during the pre-event Facebook challenges.  Those recipient organizations included Center for Alternatives in Community Justice, ClearWater Conservancy, The State Theatre, Nittany Beagle Rescue, State College Area Roller Derby, and Our Children’s Center Montessori School. More prizes will be distributed during the second day of Centre Gives.  These include several more power hour prizes, four random ‘golden tickets,’ and the “Top 5 Overall” set of prizes.  A prize in the amount of $1,000 will be awarded to the top five small – and large – organizations with the most unique donors during the entire 36 hours of Centre Gives. Since Centre Gives began in 2012, over $4,000,000 has been invested in the local non-profit network.  Community members’ generous gifts have supported local non-profit organizations working in the areas of arts, animals, education, environment, and health & social services. Centre Gives 2017 is sponsored by many forward-thinking members of our community, including the Hamer Foundation, Knight Foundation, First National Bank, PSECU, Balfurd Dry Cleaners, and Tom and Sara Songer of the Torron Group.  To see why this event was voted “Best Fundraising Event,” follow the fun on social media using #CentreGives. Make sure to support your favorite local organization before the fun ends at 8:00 pm on Wednesday, May 10th!