By Kyle English
Executive Director, Community Foundation of W. Pa. and Eastern Ohio
SHARON, Pa. – The Community Foundation of Western PA & Eastern OH spent the years of the pandemic ensuring that our organization was nimble enough to respond to our region’s needs, some of which changed on a daily basis.
Existing programs were reinforced while new programming was developed to make certain the generous citizens throughout our footprint were able to have their desired impact in the community.
One such program that was launched, Lifting Individuals for the Trades, provides support to students who are learning a new trade but had to give up income to do so.
With the average age of those applying for assistance being 31, the program has now helped more than 30 people remove the financial barriers that were keeping them from starting a new in-demand career with a local employer.
Through the past 41 years, the Community Foundation of Western PA & Eastern OH has operated under the guiding principle that anyone can be a philanthropist and that any amount of money can make a difference.
Last year our community foundation received 6,057 separate donations that totaled more than $14.6 million. Proving that it does not take large sums of money to make a difference in someone else’s life, 87% of these donations were for $1,000 or less.
The more than 750 funds within our organization provided $9.5 million in grant funding to charitable causes, and 830 of the 2,400 total grants were for $500 or less.
The embracing of various technologies has provided an excellent opportunity to reach out to those who may have physically moved away from our region but still would like to give back to the community that provided them with so much. Fundraising events have seen success by putting their auctions online. Funds have been opened to help locals with donations received from donors now living in California, Florida, Minnesota and New York.
The Community Foundation of Western PA & Eastern OH was founded in 1981 and has 10 employees.