This is part of a weekly series that highlights the organizations or people behind one of the Foundation’s funds, and a grant that is associated with that fund.
Housing Transitions, an organization that provides a variety of housing services to local residents, will receive a $10,000 grant to replace the front porch of its emergency shelter, all because a group of about 40 people decided today, over lunch, that they deserved it.
But getting that grant wasn’t a piece of cake. Representatives from Housing Transitions, the Mountaintop Area Swimming Pool Association, and Central PA Community Action gave presentations to the Community Foundation’s Anniversary Circle, a special giving circle created in 2005 in anticipation of the Foundation’s 25th anniversary, that gives its members an opportunity to be directly involved with the granting process.
A donation of just $500 to the Anniversary Circle Fund buys members the chance to be part of a huge grant that makes a huge impact on the community.
Anniversary Circle members Nickie Askov and Janyce Mose served on the Anniversary Circle Committee this year. It was their job to invite different organizations to apply for the grant. After looking through the applications that they received, the two of them pared the list down to the three organizations that they thought were most deserving of the grant.
Mose said she was attracted to the Anniversary Circle because of the opportunity to be part of something that would immediately be used to make an improvement in the community, and because of the opportunity to get a closer look at issues that need to be addressed.
“It gives me a chance to see what the needs in the community are in a little more detail, and to have a part in trying to help specific groups,” she said.
This year, Allison Snyder presented for the Mountaintop Swimming Pool, which didn’t open this summer because of its need for drastic repairs. She talked about how valuable a community pool is, in terms of encouraging kids to be active and giving them a healthy, fun environment to play in. Stacy LoCastro presented for Central PA Community Action, which wanted the grant to fund its Utility Termination Prevention Program, which helps low-income people who are struggling to pay their bills.
Though the vote was extremely close, it was presenter Ron Quinn, from Housing Transitions, who the Anniversary Circle members found most convincing. He talked about how important the porch is to the residents of the emergency shelter, and how it serves as their main social area, allowing them to interact with each other, as well as with people who live in the neighborhood.
Past grants have gone to local school districts, Strawberry Fields, Park Forest Day Nursery, Interfaith Mission and Community Help Centre.
For more information about the Anniversary Circle, and how to join, call the Centre County Community Foundation office at 814-237-6229 or e-mail Executive Director Alfred Jones, Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org