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Students issue $8,414 in grants to five local organizations

by on May 10, 2018 12:16 PM

STATE COLLEGE — Thirteen Centre County high school students awarded $8,414 to five local nonprofits at the conclusion of their year-long participation in Centre Philanthropic Actions Created by Teens, a program of Centre Foundation. Recipient organizations of the Centre PACT grants included Out of the Cold, Central Pennsylvania Community Action, AIDS Resource Alliance, Housing Transitions and Center for Alternatives in Community Justice.

In October, the students kicked off the program by selecting the theme “Securing Physical and Emotional Safety for Community Wellness.” Over the course of the program, they created their own grant application, sent out a request for proposals, reviewed 20 competitive applications and solicited donations — all of which guided their granting decisions. 

“It has been truly remarkable watching this group of young philanthropists grow during the course of the program,” said Molly Kunkel, executive director at Centre Foundation. “They remained committed to their mission and to making our community an even better place to live, learn and work.”

The students began the program with $2,253, which was provided by a fund designated to Centre PACT. They then raised $6,161 from 43 community supporters.

On April 29, students, parents, donors and nonprofit representatives gathered at Centre Foundation’s office for the check presentation party.

To start the evening, Kunkel introduced Hope Bodenschatz, the Centre PACT program coordinator, who was a member of the first Centre PACT class and is now a sophomore at Penn State.

Next, Centre PACT students Jasmine Cao and Jackie Feffer explained the program’s mission to the audience. Check presentations followed.

Woojin Lee and Sanjana Kuchipudi presented $1,924 to Kendra Gettig, of Out of the Cold, to help the organization provide homeless guests with safe transportation to medical appointments, work and other places.

Saoirse Hopp, Grace Handler and Abby La Porta presented $1,924 to Susan Hawthorne and Donna Gill, of Central Pennsylvania Community Action, for their Freedom Program, which will provide victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault with a variety of services, such as counseling, financial support, clothing, workforce training and nutrition.

Bea Belmonte and Brontë Clingham-David presented $1,120 to Wes Chicko, of AIDS Resource Alliance, for its mental health counseling program. The amount will provide 35 hours of in-house counseling to 12 clients.

Claire Jin and Baron Cao presented $1,500 to Ginger Cain and Jennifer Stahl, of Housing Transitions, for their life skills training program, which provides group outreach support to shelter residents in an effort to help them achieve more independent lifestyles.

Jackie Saleeby and Bella DiNallo presented $1,946 to the Center for Alternatives in Community Justice for their Youth Aid Panel, which allows juvenile first-time offenders to have charges dropped and court fines lessened in exchange for their completion of alternative service projects.

Perfect attendance awards also were presented to Belmonte and Clingham-David. Also recognized were the group's graduating seniors: Belmonte, who will attend DePaul University; Clingham-David, who will attend Sarah Lawrence College; DiNallo, who will attend Penn State University; Feffer, who will attend Harvard University; Handler, who will attend Boston University; and Saleeby, who will attend the University of Pittsburgh.

Centre County high school students may apply to join the Centre PACT Class of 2018-19 during fall recruitment, which will open in August.

For more information, visit or call (814) 237-6229.




This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.
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