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Centre Foundation Awards 17 grants for $33,000

by on December 21, 2014 3:45 PM

The Centre Foundation recently announced the recipients of the 2014 Field of Interest Fund grants.

"We received 60 applications from 33 organizations across Centre County," said Molly Kunkel, Centre Foundation executive director. "The decisions were tough, but our staff and our board members ultimately decided these were the right projects to fund at this time."

This annual granting cycle will distribute funds to organizations in State College, Bellefonte, Penns Valley and Philipsburg and will fund programs that focus on education, food, at-risk youth and the performing arts. This year's grants will support a wide range of projects like a BMX bike track in Philipsburg, equipment for a new radio station in Penns Valley, training guide-dog users and financial literacy courses for Girl Scouts. People across the county will feel the impact of these and the many other grants.

The Philipsburg Area Fund's $1,427 grant will go to the Philipsburg Borough's Slabtown BMX Track project. With the help of local volunteers, experts from Camp Woodward, and now the support of this grant, the BMX track is being upgraded, re-surfaced, and re-designed as a modern pump track. This project will provide additional options to Philipsburg's youth and families to enjoy this unique sport in a safe setting.

The Centre County Medical Society Fund promotes healthy lifestyles for children, making its $1,023 grant a perfect partner for Central PA Community Action's Fresh Food Program. With tight budgets, high grocery store costs, and an increased demand on non-perishable food bank items, the diets of low-income families and children consist of many processed foods that are high in salt and sugar. This not only leads to health issues, but also teaches poor dietary habits. The program will allow qualifying families to balance their diets by accessing fresh fruits and vegetables from local vendors by using vouchers from this program.

The Counseling Service Fund, which supports organizations that provide behavioral and mental health counseling services in Centre County, made two grants totaling $8,895.

Centre County Youth Service Bureau will use its $5,500 grant to provide group counseling sessions at its Stormbreak Girls' Home for abused, neglected, and/or runaway girls. Through this program, YSB's goal is to send each girl that they serve back into the community in a healthier, happier, and more resilient state.

The Community Help Centre will receive a $3,395 grant to provide education and support classes to parents of addicted children, which is a growing issue in the community. Specific areas of education will focus on parent guilt, enabling, building a support network, grieving, self-care, and learning about available community resources. Educated, prepared parents will be in a better position to aid in their children's recovery.

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 $3,767 was split among three grant applications.

The Pennsylvania Centre Chamber Orchestra will receive a $2,000 grant for a collaborative performance with the Nittany Valley Children's Choir, an experience that would bring musicians of different ages and experiences together through the universal language of music.

The Performing Arts School of Central Pennsylvania will receive a $1,000 grant to support its Youth Orchestra. The orchestra performs three times throughout the year, including a May concert entitled "Rite of Spring."

Nittany Valley Symphony will receive $767 for its outreach program, NOTES, which partners with the Learning Enrichment Program of the State College Area School District. NOTES hosts workshops for third and fourth graders from four elementary schools. The participating students and their parents will be invited to the family concert "Remarkable Kids" as a grand finale to the program.

The J. Alvin and Vera E. Knepper Hawbaker Memorial Endowment Fund distributed three grants that will fulfill the fund's focus on education and health.

The CPI Foundation will receive $2,300 to help students cover the costs of non-tuition items that are needed to complete their technical training in welding, culinary, masonry, nursing, and other fields. The fund will help students afford items like laptop computers, steel-toed work boots, and other essentials.

The Pasto Agricultural Museum will receive a $791 grant to help support outreach and programming for local elementary school students. Students learn about history, science and technology through a hands-on approach. For example, students churn butter, peel apples and twist twine into jump ropes that they can bring back to their school playgrounds.

Park Forest Village Day Nursery's $651 grant will support their "Nutritious and Delicious Foods Program" that provides their low-income, pre-school students with healthy breakfast and lunch meals.

The Carolyn A. Petrus Memorial Seeing Eye Dog Fund will grant $9,675 to The Seeing Eye. This grant will provide first-time guide dog users and users of replacement guide-dogs with an intense instruction curriculum. Approximately five to seven individuals will directly benefit from this grant, providing them with increased confidence and independence to navigate their way through daily life in our community.

The Ruth E. Rishel Charitable Fund focuses on Rishel's home community, Penns Valley. This $1,798 grant will go toward purchasing equipment for the new Penns Valley radio station, WSOV "Sounds of the Valley." The station will broadcast to the under-served valley area and feature local history, storytelling, live and recorded music, as well as programs about poetry, literature, and environmental conservation.

The Centre Children's Fund will be divided among three organizations.

CenClear Child Services will receive a $672 grant for an infant and toddler home safety program. Approximately 30 low-income families with children ages 0-3 will receive home-visits with custom safety trainings and products. CenClear's mission to reach children through families will be helped through this program and the funding of this grant.

Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA's Centre County Community will receive a $600 grant to bring a financial literacy program called "Change It Up!" to over 800 local girl scouts ranging in age from 5-17 years old. This initiative will sow the seeds of smart financial decision-making early, demonstrating the importance of planning, saving, and working hard to achieve a goal.

Bellefonte Area School District will receive a $250 grant to purchase backpacks for students who currently have no way to transport their books and other educational items to and from school. This grant will help alleviate the additional stress these students are currently experiencing while trying to get an education.

The Louis E. and Patricia H. Silvi Fund was established to support at-risk children. This year, the fund's $976 grant will do just that by supporting a program that the Centre County YMCA's Moshannon Valley branch has begun. At-risk elementary students in the Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District will receive backpacks filled with non-perishable food to help them fight hunger over the weekend. This program was recently started as school staff repeatedly heard students comment about the lack of food at home, asking for crackers on Monday morning to make it until lunch, or reports of only having a Pop-Tart since lunch on Friday. The school district averages about 40 homeless families per year and 57 percent of students are enrolled in the Universal Free Breakfast program. The backpack program and the funding from this grant will help address the local food insecurity issues that this area is experiencing.

Pets Come First will receive $854 from the Mattil Family Fund. In keeping with the animal welfare spirit of this fund, this grant will provide approximately 50 cats with spaying/neutering services.

Centre Foundation's Field of Interest Funds will accept applications for the 2015 grant cycle next year. Updates can be found online at www.centre-foundation.org/our_grants. Qualifying organizations are also invited to participate in Centre Gives 2015, which will take place in early May. The 2015 Centre Inspires grant initiative will focus on county-wide collaborations to address health and human services.

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