Centre Foundation awards more than $54,000 in annual grants

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State College, PA – Centre Foundation recently selected 25 local organizations to receive grants from this year’s field-of-interest funds, totaling more than $54,000. Each September, organizations are invited to apply for funding from these 14 funds, which were established by original donors to support various causes and/or geographical areas in Centre County. “We are really excited about the broad impact we can make with these grants,” explained Executive Director, Molly Kunkel. “Although it was a challenge to select recipients from the 79 total applicants, we are pleased to fund projects that will serve residents from all over the county.” The grants will fund programs that focus on education, health and social services, animal welfare, at-risk youth, environmental awareness, and the performing arts. The Carolyn A. Petrus Memorial Seeing Eye Dog Fund, which provides funding to organizations that raise, train, and match seeing-eye dogs to people who need them, will grant $13,902 to The Seeing Eye. This grant will provide instruction for Centre County residents partnered with seeing-eye dogs in upcoming classes. The Counseling Service Fund, which supports organizations that provide direct behavioral and mental health counseling services in Centre County, will divide its $9,356 grant among two organizations: ·         Centre County Women’s Resource Center will receive $7,356 to increase availability of therapy services for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. ·         CORE Guidance will receive $2,000 to subsidize mental health services for individuals and families struggling to cover out-of-pocket expenses due to high insurance deductibles. The William W. and Helen S. Litke Memorial Fund, which provides aid and assistance for the deaf and hearing impaired, will grant $8,219 to Centre Volunteers in Medicine to provide financial assistance and case management for low-income individuals to participate in hearing aid programs.The Patricia Farrell Music Fund supports all types of music programs – especially those focused on children – and is named after a former chair of Centre Foundation, an active community volunteer, a Penn State professor, and a musician. This year, the $7,213 grant will be divided among five organizations: ·         Penn’s Woods Music Festival will receive $2,000 for a new children’s program, Penn’s Woods Music 4 Kids, which will cultivate a love of music in children ages 3-18 in Centre County. ·         Pennsylvania Centre Chamber Orchestra Society will receive $2,000 to provide opportunities for young musicians to learn from and perform with world-class musicians at no cost. ·         State College Area School District Education Foundation will receive $2,000 to replace worn-out musical instruments used by elementary school children. ·         State College Choral Society will receive $713 to inspire children and young adults to pursue music through choral singing by performing a free holiday concert. ·         Central Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association will receive $500 to support the Triolo Music Competition for talented middle and high school musicians in Centre County. The J. Alvin and Vera E. Knepper Hawbaker Memorial Endowment Fund, which supports organizations that provide vital health and education services across Centre County, will divide its $3,628 grant among three organizations: ·         Centre County Youth Service Bureau will receive $2,000 to provide healthy food and snacks to at-risk youth who attend their after-school youth centers in Bellefonte and Snow Shoe. ·         Aaronsburg Civic Club will receive $1,000 to expand their programming, which will include after-school art and cooking classes for children. ·         ACRES Project will receive $628 for purchase of Chromebooks to be used for tech-based programs that promote independent living and pre-employment skills for individuals with autism. The Ruth E. Rishel Charitable Fund focuses on Rishel’s home community of Penns Valley.  This $2,022 grant will be divided among two organizations: ·         Schlow Centre Region Library will receive $1,011 for their Climate Change Listening Tour sessions in Penns Valley, which will facilitate discussion and inspire local action on climate change. ·         Centre Hall Library Association will receive $1,011 to expand collections and purchase assistive technology aids for use by patrons with low or impaired vision. The Ben Franklin Fund supports community projects in Centre, Clearfield, Huntingdon, and Mifflin counties, carrying out Franklin’s commitment to giving back to Pennsylvania communities. This fund’s $1,907 grant will be divided among three organizations. ·         Centre Region Parks and Recreation will receive $1,022 to support their Youth Scholarship Program, which provides camp scholarships and reduced-cost pool passes for at-risk children. ·         Cen-Clear Child Services will receive $500 to purchase diapers for their Young Parent Group project, which serves young or teen parents in Centre and Clearfield Counties.  ·        YMCA of Centre County will receive $385 for their Connecting the Pieces program, which provides networking, support, and recreation for families of children with special needs. The Centre Children's Fund, which supports organizations that provide services to at-risk children, will grant $1,615 to the YMCA of Centre County for their aforementioned Connecting the Pieces program.The Philipsburg Area Fund will divide its $1,545 grant among two organizations: ·         Mountain Top Fire Company will receive $795 to increase the safety and capability of emergency utility vehicles through the purchase of LED lights and various tools. ·         Skills of Central Pennsylvania will receive $750 to educate Philipsburg community members on signs and symptoms of behavioral health issues. The Proud to Be An American Fund, which supports non-profit organizations that display, encourage, or promote patriotic observances—especially on the 4th of July, will grant $1,340 to Central PA July 4th to support Central PA 4th Fest. The Centre County Medical Society Fund, which promotes healthy lifestyles for children, will divide its $1,058 grant among two organizations: ·         Park Forest Preschool will receive $740 to purchase new outdoor play surface material in order to maintain state standards of safety for young children.·         Easter Seals Western and Central Pennsylvania will receive $318 to expand their Therapeutic Recreation programs to include a new after-school program, which will serve children with special needs.The Louis E. and Patricia H. Silvi Fund, which supports at-risk children, especially in the areas of early childhood education programs that improve the health, care, and education of young children, will grant $1,002 to Easter Seals Western and Central Pennsylvania for their aforementioned Therapeutic Recreation program. The Mattil Family Fund  will divide its $904 grant among two organizations: ·         Centre County PAWS will receive $452 to fund their Spay/Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides low-cost spay/neuter vouchers to those in need in Centre County. ·         Pets Come First will receive $452 to support their cat spay/neuter program, which helps to eliminate the number of neglected and abused animals in our community. The Andrew and Madaline Rishel Family Fund, which supports Christian churches in Penns Valley, will grant $440.21 to Calvary Penns Valley to offer Financial Peace University scholarships to four families.For more information about all of Centre Foundation’s granting opportunities, please visit our website, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or contact our Grants & Community Impact Coordinator, Rachael Hartman ( | 814-237-6229). To learn more about setting up your own fund to support a passion near to your heart, please contact our Executive Director, Molly Kunkel ( | 814-237-6229).

Purple Lizard Maps Joins Relief Effort in Puerto Rico

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Although Hurricane Maria slashed through Puerto Rico more than two months ago, many of the worst-hit towns are still recovering and remain in great need. Purple Lizard Maps, a local cartographic design firm dedicated to making beautiful maps for people who love to explore, has taken initiative to help with Puerto Rico relief efforts. They have partnered with the Puerto Rico Community Foundation to establish the “Recovery NOW – Western PR and Central Mountains Fund.”  Taking advantage of the knowledge and skills of the local community foundation, the Recovery NOW Fund will be directed towards areas that were already economically disadvantaged but are now in extreme need due to the hurricane’s aftermath.  Centre Foundation is happy to promote this project created by a Centre county business and implemented by the Puerto Rico Community Foundation to help Puerto Rico residents find the relief they need.HOW TO DONATEOnline:   Select “RECOVERY NOW FUND” from pull-down menuBy Check:Make check payable to:  Fundaciόn Comunitaria de Puerto RicoWrite on memo line: PR Recovery NOW FundMail check to:Purple Lizard MapsAttn: Recovery NOW194 Polecat Rd.Centre Hall, PA 16828OR mail directly to:Puerto Rico Community FoundationPO Box 70362San Juan, PR 00936    

And We're Off!

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The excitement in the air was palpable on Sunday, October 15th, the eve we commenced our Centre PACT journey. Each of us, students residing in Centre County, eagerly anticipated the opportunities to come—a chance to cooperatively collaborate with like-minded peers and to manifest positive change within our beloved community. Centre Foundation’s Executive Director, Molly Kunkel, introduced us to Centre Foundation, explaining its mission and critical impact on our community. Since its inception, Centre Foundation has supported our community through its investments in local community members and nonprofits, even providing scholarships for students! Following this inspirational introduction (and Chinese food!), we jumped right into brainstorming and sharing our passions. Synthesizing these individual ideas, we democratically achieved our overarching theme: “Securing Physical and Emotional Safety for Community Wellness.” This theme encompasses the most important aspects of the hierarchy of needs: physiological and safety necessities. The safeguarding of these essential needs, which enable people to reach their full potential, will be our driving force in negotiations and decisions to come. We look forward to learning more about the world of philanthropy, interacting with local non-profits, and making a difference within our community.  -          Aja, Baron, & Jasmine

Centre Foundation Awards $100,000 Grant to Strawberry Fields, Honors Mimi Barash Coppersmith

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State College, PA – While celebrating a record-breaking year of philanthropy, Centre Foundation recently announced this year’s $100,000 Centre Inspires grant recipient as Strawberry Fields for their proposal of a coffee shop that employs people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Centre Foundation also named Mimi Barash Coppersmith as the 2017 Oak Tree Award recipient.“The Centre Inspires granting program encourages innovative programs to create transformation for our community,” explained Molly Kunkel, Executive Director at Center Foundation. “Strawberry Fields’ coffee shop idea is brand new to our area, and has the potential to truly change the lives of everyone involved.”The coffee shop, which has not yet been named, will be modeled after Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, located in Wilmington, N.C. Dr. Roy Love of Nittany Valley Chiropractic Center had first experienced Bitty & Beau’s while visiting his daughter at college.“And I kept going back. I don’t even drink coffee, but it was the experience and warm feeling that I got from the employees that kept taking me back,” said Love. “I knew that a coffee shop like this would be well received in State College, so I proposed the concept to Strawberry Fields.”Strawberry Fields is finalizing the location of the coffee shop and plans to open in late Spring 2018.“Strawberry Fields is honored to be the recipient of the 2017 Centre Inspires Award,” said Cindy Pasquinelli, CEO at Strawberry Fields. “This coffee shop is a joint effort of many local partners who share our dream of a future that holds inclusion, acceptance, and employment for an underserved group of people. We are proud to have Centre Foundation join us in this new venture.”On hand to congratulate Strawberry Fields was last year’s grant recipient, Centred Outdoors, proposed by ClearWater Conservancy. The program was designed to connect people with nature through guided family-friendly outings. The tours achieved record engagement this summer with nearly 2,000 residents signing up for one of the nine tours.Another strong supporter of Centre County was recognized last night with Centre Foundation’s annual Oak Tree Award. This year’s award was presented to Mimi Barash Coppersmith, long-time resident of State College and dedicated philanthropist. As an additional honor, the creation of the Mimi Barash Coppersmith Women in Leadership Fund was announced. Created by Barbara Palmer, Mimi’s longtime friend, the fund creates a lasting tribute to Mimi’s success and her role in encouraging and mentoring local women in leadership roles.  In addition to her many accomplishments in the community, Mimi has established two funds at Centre Foundation and has been instrumental in opening a third.  Since its inception in 2005, the Mimi Fund has grown to $20,000 and has supported the ongoing work of Centre Foundation. In 2013, Mimi established the Mimi Barash Coppersmith Fund for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA), which has grown to $73,000 and has provided camp scholarships for girls throughout central and northeastern Pennsylvania. Most recently, Mimi worked with her daughter Nan Barash to establish the Bon Bon Fund, which will provide scholarships to State College High School students who experienced the loss of a parent. The evening also featured remarks from Dr. Richard Alley, the Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Pennsylvania State University and 2007 Nobel Prize winner for his contributions to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He shared with the audience the importance of engaging and understanding our local environment and what we need to know to keep it healthy.  “Dr. Alley is not only very well known for his research on climate change but also for his engaging style of presenting that research, as shown in the PBS mini-series he hosted, Earth, the Operator’s Manual.  We were honored to have him speak to us about the importance of caring for our environment, which emphasizes what Centred Outdoors had been doing all summer,” noted Kunkel.More than 200 community members attended the dinner, which is held each year in appreciation of donors who have utilized Centre Foundation as a way to make an impact in our area by establishing non-profit organizational endowment funds. Donors can also be engaged and make an impact through the Foundation’s Giving Circle, Centre Gives, Centre PACT – Philanthropic Actions Created by Teens, or by joining the Campbell Legacy Society for future gifts.For more information or to get involved with Centre Foundation, please contact Shalen Perehinec ( | 814-237-6229).

Centre Foundation Celebrates Record Breaking Year of Philanthropy

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Community Foundation to host annual dinner on Wednesday, Nov. 1 at The Nittany Lion Inn STATE COLLEGE, PA – Centre Foundation will host its annual end-of-the-year dinner on Wednesday, Nov. 1 at The Nittany Lion Inn to celebrate another successful and record-setting year of philanthropy in Centre County. At the event, Centre Foundation will announce the newest Centre Inspires project and the 2017 Oak Tree Award winner, recognition of service, commitment, and passion for the foundation. The program will also include remarks on engaging with our local environment, given by Dr. Richard Alley, whose contributions to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won a Nobel Prize in 2007.“Each year, I’m amazed by the generosity of this community, but this year was literally one for the record books,” expressed Molly Kunkel, Executive Director of Centre Foundation.This year, three records in particular were set by the local community:·         Light Up State College: In February, the community broke a Guinness World Record by making and lighting 5,226 ice luminaries on Allen Street in Downtown State College. The event was co-organized by The Make Space and Centre Foundation.·         Centre Gives: The sixth annual 36-hour online giving event raised more than $1.4 million for the community and broke last year’s record by 20 percent. More than 100 local nonprofits benefitted from the community’s generosity, which has invested over $5.4 million since the Giving Day was established in 2012.·         Centred Outdoors: The guided nature tours achieved record engagement this summer when ClearWater Conservancy launched the program through the community foundation’s Centre Inspires grant. Nearly 2,000 residents signed up for one of the nine tours hosted by the program. Centre Foundation believes in the organizations that are working to create a better future for the community. Each year, Centre Foundation distributes hundreds of grants to nonprofits in order to continue making Centre County the best place to live, work, and play.