2017 Field-of-Interest Grants Open! $54,125 Available, Apply by Oct. 27

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Centre Foundation is pleased to announce the opening of the field-of-interest grant application period this month, which will offer $54,152 in grants. “Local charitable organizations are encouraged to apply for this year’s Centre Foundation Field-of-Interest Funds,” noted Molly Kunkel, Executive Director at Centre Foundation. “We are proud to house these 14 funds that have focuses including specific geographic areas, specific types of programs, or unique populations or areas within in Centre County.” At Centre Foundation, each fund starts with a donor and a unique legacy.  The funds that make up the Field-of-Interest competitive granting cycle are no exception.   “Our donors are passionate and have a drive to make a difference in various places around the County, or for specific neighbors in need,” explained Kunkel. “Through these Field-of-Interest Funds, donors are able to make an impact in an area that matters deeply to them, as well as make a meaningful difference in the community.” The J. Alvin and Vera E. Knepper Hawbaker Memorial Fund continues this family’s local legacy, providing annual grants for vital health and education services across Centre County. The Louis E. and Patricia H. Silvi Fund is another fund that carries on the priorities that were valued by a local couple. The Silvis’ commitment to children is remembered each year as their fund provides grants to early childhood education programs that serve families in Centre County. Centre Foundation is delighted to offer grants from 14 unique Field-of-Interest funds.  Like the Hawbaker and Silvi Funds, each fund has a story about a visionary donor and passion that impacts a specific part of Centre County.  While the fund stories are available online year-round, this competitive grant cycle is open once a year each fall.    For more information on each fund and to learn how to apply for Centre Foundation’s 2017 Field-of-Interest grants, please visit or call 814-237-6229.  Applications are submitted online and are due by Friday, October 27th at 5:00 pm. “We are always happy to answer questions and assist organizations through the grant process,” noted Kunkel. “We look forward to supporting many inspiring projects that will enhance our community.”---Apply for 2017 Field-of-Interest grants by clicking here. Read 2017 Field-of-Interest FAQs by clicking here. See what happened in 2016 by clicking here. 

Giving Circle Members Distribute $15,000 in Grants

(See more event photos here!)After members’ votes were tallied, the $10,000 Giving Circle grant was awarded to Hearts for Homeless, which will use the money for its day shelter. “With this grant from the Giving Circle members, Hearts for Homeless will be able to reopen our daytime shelter for another year,” explained Ginny Poorman, Founder & Executive Director. “The shelter provides protection from the harsh winter, as well as meals, essential items, support for finding a job, and connecting with other resources that one may require.” Nearly 100 people gathered at Above the Valley in Centre Hall on August 30th for the annual reception of Centre Foundation’s Giving Circle.  Established in 2006 as part of Centre Foundation’s 25th anniversary celebration, the members have distributed $124,000 so far, supporting important projects and organizations that serve Centre County.  This year, another successful membership drive ensured that the runner-up organizations also received grants. “I’m happy to announce that Discovery Space and Bellefonte Art Museum will each receive a $2,500 grant due to the expanded membership and generosity of our Giving Circle members,” announced Molly Kunkel, Executive Director of Centre Foundation. In June, there was an open call for grant applications.  Members then ranked over 30 applications; the top three organizations were asked to attend the reception to present their unique grant ideas before the full membership.  The Bellefonte Art Museum will use the grant money toward their tenth anniversary celebration next summer. Entitled “Co-Creating: An Imagination Celebration,” it will feature free events at the museum and throughout the community in conjunction with numerous partners who work in a multitude of artistic mediums.  Patricia House, Executive Director, presented the idea to the Giving Circle members – replete with visions of Lego walls, community murals, and artistic takes on food and nature. Amy Koll, Member & Visitor Relations Manager, and Lori Fisher, Gallery Manager, were on hand to answer Giving Circle members’ questions and show them a few samples of artists’ work that are featured in the gallery. As Discovery Space moves into their new, expanded facility on North Atherton Street, they plan to use their grant money for a new Pollinator Exhibit. Executive Director Michele Crowl and PSU Center for Pollinator Research partner, Christina Grozinger, presented the educational idea to the Giving Circle members.  Grozinger challenged the attendees to think what food and drink options would be left to enjoy without our winged pollinator friends (hint: not many). The exhibit will similarly encourage children to consider the world around them, exploring the lives of bees through cooperative play and engagement in science practices. There was also a brief presentation by last year’s $10,000 grant recipient, Interfaith Human Services (IHS), about the impact this grant had in the community. Wendy Vinhage, Executive Director of IHS, updated the Giving Circle members about the Financial Care Program, which has enjoyed an expansion into the Philipsburg area - thanks to last year’s grant.“This grant allowed us to expand our financial care program, helping more low-income families budget their finances through one-on-one money management counseling,” explained Vinhage.  “By helping more people with money management, we are putting them on their way to self-sufficiency.”Previous recipients of Giving Circle grant include Park Forest Preschool, House of Care, Discovery Space, Housing Transitions, Strawberry Fields, and the Community Help Centre. More information about the Giving Circle program is available at more event photos here!)   

$255k in Scholarships Awarded to 138 Local Students

This fall, 138 local students will embark on their post-secondary careers, thanks in part to community members who have established scholarship or award funds at Centre Foundation.   “We are thrilled to be able to facilitate so many students furthering their educations,” noted Molly Kunkel, Executive Director at Centre Foundation.  “Donors and community members understand the value of education, whether that is at a two-year college, four-year university, or at a trade school. They have established more than 140 scholarship funds with us, and have entrusted Centre Foundation to administer applications and awards to deserving students every year.”   In total, $255,135 was distributed through this year’s scholarships to 138 students attending 35 post-secondary schools. Students from all five Centre County school districts received funding.   Lynn Sidehamer Brown established the Dr. John L. Brown Jr. Memorial Scholarship at Centre Foundation in honor of her late husband to encourage students to follow in his mathematical footsteps.  This year’s scholarship recipient was Joey Feffer, a US Presidential Scholar, member of the US National Linguistics Team, and participant in Centre Foundation’s high school philanthropy group called Centre PACT (Philanthropic Actions Created by Teens).   “I am one of five children, I live in Boalsburg, and I have been involved with the school district through academic clubs and athletic pursuits almost all my life,” explained Feffer.  “I plan to attend Harvard University to study applied math with a focus in either economic theory or evolutionary biology. Extracurricularly, I plan on continuing many of the activities I pursued in high school; I plan to run on the Harvard Club track team, participate on the Harvard Debating Union, and help educate low-income Boston youth in some capacity. After college, I intended to go to grad school and become a professor and researcher in my intended field. This award will help offset the costs of college and will encourage me to continue my pursuits in the area of mathematics.”   The Stella Jedrziewski Wawrynovic Scholarship Fund issues eight scholarships annually in the Clearfield and Philipsburg-Osceola school districts. Her commitment to the community lives on each year as these students pursue their educational dreams thanks to her generosity.   With the Wawrynovic Scholarship that she received, Annie Kost will attend Pennsylvania College of Technology this fall.   “I have dreamed of being a nurse and making a difference for as long as I can imagine…I plan on attending medical school to either become a nurse anesthetist or nurse practitioner,” noted Kost. “Through receiving this great scholarship, it will greatly help my family and I pay for various college necessities; and for that, my family and I are very grateful that you awarded this scholarship.” This year, a newly established scholarship was able to grant its very first scholarship. The Catherine C Ye Memorial Scholarship was established and funded by many friends and family members in the community and beyond.   Hanna Yu will attend the College of Arts and Sciences at New York University this fall, thanks in part to the Ye Scholarship.   “I really enjoyed being part of the journalism program at State High,” said Yu.  “I was the newspaper co-editor-in-chief in eleventh grade and this past year I was the yearbook co-editor-in-chief. I learned a lot about planning, leadership, and understanding the community I live in. I'm not sure what I'll major in at New York University, but I'm thinking of something math related. I might join the paper there. Attending NYU is pretty expensive so this scholarship will help my family pay part of it. I'm excited to move to a big city this fall. “I didn't know Catherine Ye but I knew Amy [her sister], and I remember how the whole Chinese community was impacted when she passed away,” continued Yu. “I hope what I do can help carry on her legacy.”   One of the two scholarship recipients from the Roy D. and Kathyrn K. Shoemaker Scholarship Fund was Justin Kurtz.   “At Penn State I plan to major in Plant Sciences with a minor in agribusiness management,” Kurtz explained. “I hope to someday become an entrepreneur by starting my own business to help production agriculturalists and become a good steward of the land. I am proud to be part of the Penn State class of 2022 and I hope to make you proud knowing I am a product of your financial support. Thank you so much!”   The Clare Fund Award for Performance Arts: Drama, Musical Theatre, or Dance was issued to Justin Shondeck this year. His talent and future plans match the spirit in which this award was established.   “I will be attending Ithaca College pursuing a degree in Musical Theatre,” Shondeck said.  “I am one of the 14 accepted students this year out of the 1900 applicants for this program, dedicated to educating students on not only using theatre as a form of industrial entertainment, but also as an art form that branches thousands of years of human culture. With this degree, I am hoping to work as a professional actor in New York City and internationally, I am particularly interested in both the West End in London, as well as creating a fusion performance blending my skills as a singer, dancer, and circus performer. I also want to use theatre as a social platform where I can talk about current issues such as the stigma facing people with special needs, as well as racism in the performing arts industry. At some point in the future, I am planning on pursuing a Master's Degree in either Theatre, Voice, or Dance, and teach that subject in a University. Thank you for helping with this amazing opportunity!”    “Scholarship season is one of my favorite times of the year,” explained Ashley Pipe, Grants & Scholarship Coordinator.  “We get to learn about the stories and incredible accomplishments of our county’s best and brightest. I’m always honored to work with the school districts and scholarship fund holders to facilitate the annual scholarship process.”   High school seniors wishing to apply should work through their respective school districts in the spring, when the application period opens.   If you are interested in establishing a fund of any type, Centre Foundation is happy to assist you in reaching your philanthropic goals.  More information is available on our website, or you can call our office to make an appointment.  

Centre PACT 2017-2018: Student Recruitment

Centre Foundation is looking for Centre County high school students who are interested in making an impact in their community!  Fall recruitment is now open for Centre PACT (Philanthropic Actions Created by Teens). Applications and letters of recommendation are due by Friday, September 15, 2017.  Meetings will be held monthly during the school year, beginning on Sunday, September 24th from 5:00 - 7:00 pm at Centre Foundation's office in State College (1377 Ridge Master Drive, State College, PA 16803). “Centre PACT is a great vehicle for students from across the county to come together, discuss issues facing their peer group, learn about potential solutions that non-profits offer, and ultimately fund the proactive program that they think will be most effective,” explained Molly Kunkel, Centre Foundation Executive Director.  Centre PACT is a hands-on philanthropy program that will help to hone students’ leadership, communication, professional, philanthropic, and networking skills.  This unique program and the volunteer hours it entails will be a highlight on resumes and college applications.  Centre PACT participants will also learn how to become more engaged Centre County citizens. “This is a student-driven, hands-on, community-focused group that will discover more about Centre County, each other, and themselves,” noted Kunkel.  “Last year, this group awarded over $8,000 in grants to six local non-profit organizations!  We can’t wait to see what this year’s group of student leaders will accomplish.” Applications are available here. For more information about Centre PACT, please contact Irene Miller, Centre Foundation’s Development & Events Coordinator, at (814) 237-6229 or by email at the impact of the 2015-2016 Centre PACT students here!Click to see the impact that the students of Centre PACT 2016-2017 had in our community!