Foundation gives $11M in grants

(Times Leader) The Luzerne Foundation said Tuesday it awardedgrants totaling nearly $11 million to 15 local organizations as a part of its fall grant cycle.

Organizations receiving grants fall under a variety of categories such as social services, education and scholarships, arts and culture, health and wellness, youth issues, historic preservation and the environment, and neighborhoods and community development.

“We obviously look at who has an impact on the community,” said Charles Barber, president and CEO of the Luzerne Foundation. “We have limited resources, and we want to provide assistance to a variety of organizations and also organizations and programs that will benefit a broad range of people.”

In the fall, the foundation issued a request for proposal to more than 600 nonprofit organizations. About 65 organizations applied and 15 programs were chosen to receive grants. This year, the foundation awarded almost $11 million in funding. The award amounts varied based on specific criteria.

“Funding is not equal but proportional based on direness of need,” said Barber, who did not release how much each of the 15 programs received.

In 2011, social service organizations received 37 percent of overall funding, followed by health and wellness programs, which received 15 percent.

Additionally, programs in the fields of arts and culture and youth activities were each given 6 percent of the total. However, Barber said the grants serve as more than just a funding tool.

“It’s not about the money, but it’s about raising awareness of programs and services,” said Barber.

The foundation has awarded more than $40 million in grants to different organizations since 1994. This year’s recipients include:

• River Front Parks Committee for the upcoming programming season at the River Common, Wilkes-Barre.

• Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce for the Laurel Line Mural.

• Foundation for Free Enterprise Education for two Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week in the Schools scholarships.

• Catherine McAuley House for a personal development course for residents.

• Camp Orchard Hill near Dallas for Christmas at Camp providing meals and shelter for homeless men.

• Children’s Service Center for a Teen Suicide Prevention Program.

• Family Service Association of Wyoming Valley for the Help Line – PA 211 Transition.

• Family Service Association of Wyoming Valley for the National Family Week Conference.

• Care & Concern Free Health Clinic in Pittston for building renovations.

• Maternal & Family Health Services for the Nurse Family Partnership Program.

• Serento Gardens for the Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program, Hazleton.

• Luzerne County Historical Society for a countywide Internet collection database for Community Historical Societies.

• Commission on Economic Opportunity for the Veterans’ Assistance Program.

• Shickshinny Forward for the Blessing in a Backpack Program.

• Hazleton Integration Project for the Hazleton One Community Center.