Penn State Shenango Grads Launch Gift Box Company

Penn State Shenango Grads Launch Gift Box Company

SHARON, Pa. – Two recent alumnae of Penn State Shenango have created a subscription box company aimed at helping alleviate loneliness felt by seniors.

Following their clinicals in western Pennsylvania nursing homes and assisted living centers last September, Penn State Shenango occupational therapy assistant students Ali Izzo and Holly Masters formed Purpose: The Therapeutic Subscription Box.

The two recently moved into the VenturePointe incubator at eCenter@LindenPointe to work with Penn State faculty, eCenter staff and other tenants to further develop the company. Purpose is expected to launch in August.

“Ali and I both noticed the loneliness, sadness, and, in some cases, the disconnect our patients had with their family. It truly breaks your heart,” Masters said in a release. “We came up with the idea of creating quarterly and special occasion gift boxes that family members, especially those who live out of town, could send to their parents and grandparents several times a year to keep connected.”

The quarterly subscription box will feature three to five functional items designed around themes such as cognition, personal care or fine motor skills, as well as three photos, a personalized message and a newsletter. Boxes for holidays like Mother’s or Father’s Day, Christmas and birthdays will also be available.

Izzo and Masters graduated from Penn State Shenango from the occupational therapy assistant program and are currently enrolled in the human development and family studies baccalaureate program.

The two developed the idea for Purpose during a course requiring students to design a mock nonprofit organization.

“When Holly and Ali approached me about the possibility of developing a for-profit in a nonprofit development class, I agreed on the condition that they learn both, and they did,” said Claudia Brown, who led the class, in a release. “Purpose is the perfect marriage between the ideals espoused by social service and the economic realities addressed by business.”

Added Izzo, “The course gave us the opportunity to speak to residents and ask them questions, understand their needs and concerns and find out what they would like to see in their special gift boxes.”

Purpose is accepting orders and the first boxes are expected to ship in early August. For more information, visit

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.