Skip to main content

Presidential Awards

Rewarding Organizational Improvement and Organizational Excellence

Presidential Award

Presidential Awards are presented at two levels: the Silver level that includes a $25,000 grant and the Crystal level that includes a $10,000 grant. The deadline for both levels is July 1.

A charity is only eligible to receive the Crystal award one time, and the Silver award one time, and may not receive both awards in the same year. However, a charity that previously received the Crystal award may apply for the Silver award, provided that they meet the eligibility.

The creation of the President’s Crystal Award (formerly the President's Choice Award) in 2008 recognized the 10th anniversary of then Executive Director Betsie Trew. The creation of the President's Silver Award in 2023 commemorated Trew's 25th anniversary at the Community Foundation.

President's Silver Award: $25,000 Program Grant


  • Annual audit (not just a compilation or review);
  • Board-approved Strategic Plan;
  • Board-approved Annual Operating Budget;
  • Board financial support to the charity at 100% on an annual basis;
  • Established and enforced Board term limits;
  • Defined recruitment process to secure new Board members;
  • Board-approved policy on Board member responsibilities;
  • Annual CEO (or highest-ranking employee) performance review, using established evaluation form; and
  • Annual registration in WCCF Gives.


  • The impact of the program to the targeted audience; and
  • The impact of the program to the general community.

President's Crystal Award: $10,000 Unrestricted Grant


  • Have an operating budget of less than $250,000;
  • Have been in existence for at least three years; and
  • Provide a program in at least one of the eight funding areas supported by the Acorn Fund.


  • Quality of programming;
  • Community impact as gauged by the number of people served, programs offered or other measurable component; and
  • Improvement in the organization’s financial position since inception or over the last five years.

2023 Silver Honoree

Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern Pennsylvania

DVSSP CEO Lisa Hannum and Board Chairman Mike Mc Claine cropped
DVSSP CEO Lisa Hannum and Board Chairman Mike McClaine are all smiles after receiving the inaugural President’s Silver Award. The $25,000 grant will enable the organization to purchase a new website.

Calling for Help, Finding a Lifeline

After 10 years of marriage, Jennifer knew it was over. She needed to return to Pennsylvania to make a fresh start. Although nothing was more difficult, she left her children in the custody of her estranged husband, as he would be better able to financially provide for them. Jennifer and her children managed the distance as best they could.

Several years passed. Then, Jennifer suffered one of the most traumatic events that a mother can experience: the suicide of her 15-year-old son. Understandably, the event triggered a deep depression. However, Jennifer dealt with her grief by abusing drugs and alcohol. The addiction led her to a life of crime. In time, Jennifer recognized she needed to cope in a healthier way and reached out for professional help. She enrolled in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility and successfully completed the program.

At two years sober, she met Santiago. Not long after their relationship began, a baby was on the way. But by that time, Santiago had become verbally and emotionally abusive.

The severity of his abuse increased during their three-year relationship. When Santiago picked her up and slammed her down on the sidewalk, Jennifer reached a turning point. She knew she had to get away from him for her and baby Olivia’s safety.

It was then that Jennifer turned to Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s (DVSSP) for help. After making a call to the DVSSP hotline, she and Olivia entered the safe house where they were provided with shelter, counseling, and domestic violence education.

Although the physical abuse she had endured caused her severe back and hip pain, Jennifer was diligent in her role as a waitress. She was granted full custody of Olivia who, at just three years old, needed special care for diabetes and thyroid issues.

Despite her triumphs, Jennifer still had one last obstacle to overcome. Due to her past drug and criminal history, she was not eligible for public housing. So, she searched for a landlord who would give her a chance. Through her persistence, Jennifer found a cozy house on a farm to rent.

Because of her strength and determination, she and her daughter now live peaceful lives.

2023 Crystal Honoree

Washington Christian Outreach

WCO presidents choice award
WCO Treasurer William Rauch, Secretary Debbie Boardley, and Vice President Gary Beam said the charity will use the $10,000 grant as part of the Crystal Award to make some repairs to their facility.

Reaching Out with Love: Providing a New Beginning

Fleeing a very violent domestic situation, Jackie and her three children were forced to leave their  belongings behind as they sought safety in their new community. A local domestic violence shelter provided temporary housing for the fragile family, giving them time to heal and to adjust to their new surroundings.

But even after securing more permanent housing, it was a struggle to feed her family and to make ends meet. And so, Jackie turned to the Washington Christian Outreach where she and her children were welcomed with loving arms.

At the Outreach, Jackie was able to secure a hot meal for her children on a daily basis. She could shop in the Outreach store for clothing, personal care items and household items that they needed. Jackie had limited financial resources, but that didn't matter. The Outreach never turned her away.

When her children were enrolled in school, the Outreach provided them with backpacks filled with school supplies, coats and shoe vouchers. At Easter, the family received Easter Baskets, and at Christmas they received a box filled with nutritional foods and a voucher to purchase protein items.

Through the years, Jackie and her family have grown stronger and the horrors of their past life have become a distant memory.

Jackie is very grateful for the support of the Washington Christian Outreach. She said, "They have been so helpful to me over the years. I don't know where I would be without their support-most likely homeless."

In addition to the tangible assistance Jackie and her children received from the Outreach, they also received unconditional love.

"We want to reach out to others who need to see the love of Jesus Christ and provide basic support to them," said Debbie Boardley, Board Secretary.

With the help of the Outreach, Jackie's family has found both love and peace.

Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

~ Proverbs 14:31