Discovery Space Wins $100,000 Centre Inspires Grant to Create Community Workshop
With a $100,000 grant from Centre Foundation and community donations, Discovery Space plans to develop Centre Makes, a new community maker workshop to connect people of all ages with tools and skills to pursue creative interests and prepare for careers in STEM and trades.
Discovery Space's proposal was awarded the Centre Inspires grant, which funds innovative projects that create change through community engagement, at Centre Foundation's annual dinner last week.
“We are honored and humbled to be selected for this grant,” said Michele Crowl, executive director of Discovery Space. “There’s been conversations for about five years now of people trying to make a space like this, where the community can come together to use tools and share knowledge. Never before have so many of those pieces come together at once.”
Crowl said Discovery Space has been in talks with entrepreneurs, artists, business owners and community members since February about developing Centre Makes, which will provide a permanent workshop and traveling programs to use special tools and technology that will allow all community members to create and learn.
With the Centre Inspires grant and the donations the project has received so far, Centre Makes will begin in early 2019 taking some of those tools such as 3-D printers and laser cutters for programs at schools, libraries and other community centers.
While that's happening, Discovery Space will continue fundraising and begin renovations on the 5,000 square feet of garage space behind the interactive children's science museum's location at 1224 N. Atherton St. That will serve as the permanent space for Centre Makes and will have resources for creative and scientific pursuits such as metal and wood work, larger 3D printers and laser cutters and other technology.
"This place really has the power to bring together community members from age 15 to 115," Crowl said.
The Centre County Federation of Public Libraries also was recognized for its Centre Inspires proposal to create story book walks in multiple park locations in Centre County. Centre Foundation’s Board of Directors awarded the proposal a one-time Community Impact grant of $50,000.
Last year's winner of the Centre Inspires grant was Strawberry Fields' Good Day Cafe project. The cafe, which is dedicated to employing adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, opened in August at 286 W. Hamilton Ave.
“The $100,000 is really just the beginning,” Cindy Pasquinelli, CEO at Strawberry Fields, said last week. “What came along with it was the admiration, love and respect that the Centre Foundation has nurtured and grown in this community. My hope is that Good Day Café will now pay it forward and support the foundation’s efforts to grow and improve our community.”
Centre Foundation also named Diane Kerly as the recipient of the Oak Tree Award, which recognizes an individual who has made a significant impact in the community through his or her work with the foundation. Kerly, a long-time Centre County resident and philanthropist, serves as vice president of State of the Art and trustee/manager of the Hamer Foundation. Over the past three years, the Hamer Foundation has worked with Centre Foundation to provide $550,000 to the stretch pool for Centre Gives, the annual online giving event supporting local nonprofits.
Kerly also was involved in the creation of the Millbrook Marsh Nature Centre, served on the board of Centre County PAWS, and has been instrumental in the work of the Hundred Cat Foundation.
“Diane has very quietly made a big difference in our community,” said Molly Kunkel, executive director of Centre Foundation. “I am thrilled to highlight the impact she has made and to share our appreciation.”