May 24, 2021
The Washington County Community Foundation (WCCF) recently awarded a $100,000 grant to the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum (PTM) in support of the Museum’s $17 million On Track for the Future capital campaign. The grant was issued from the Foundation’s Acorn Fund, a pooled fund that accepts contributions from many separate donors.
“We’re very pleased to support the Trolley Museum’s capital campaign,” said James H. McCune, WCCF Chairman of the Board. “The Museum is an incredible resource for Washington County both in terms of its educational value as well as its draw as a major tourist attraction in the region. This project is going to transform the Trolley Museum and we are excited to be a part of it.”
The PTM was initiated in 1954 with just three trolleys and a dream to be more. Today, the Museum is a nationally significant trolley museum as well as a unique heritage and tourism attraction for Washington County. It has enjoyed tremendous visitor growth in recent years, now exceeding 30,000 visitors annually.
The PTM’s expansion will include a new Trolley Street that will connect the current Trolley Display Building with a new Welcome & Education Center. Trolley Street will be an outdoor display where visitors can tour and ride trolleys, visit the newly restored Wexford Station, and enjoy a small park area. Consulting with experts in the field, the PTM is designing exhibits and programs to provide educational experiences in history and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) areas. This immersive, educational experience will be unique in the United States, and will enhance PTM’s role as a resource for educators and learners of all ages.
PTM Executive Director Scott Becker recognizes that community support for the project has been critical. He commented, “The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum sincerely appreciates the ongoing support of the Washington County Community Foundation. This significant gift symbolizes the tremendous community support that we have received to improve our facilities so that we can provide a quality immersive educational experience to all that visit us!”
In addition to strong support from individuals and institutions in Washington County, the PTM has been successful in securing significant financial contributions from individuals and institutions outside of Washington County, including the Allegheny Foundation, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the 20th Century Electric Railway Foundation, the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation, and the EQT Foundation. Additionally, the Museum has been successful in securing governmental support, including a sizable Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant through the PA Department of Community & Economic Development.
“When the Trolley Museum informed me a few years ago of this very ambitious campaign, I thought it was unrealistic, given the size of the organization and its small staff,” remembered Betsie Trew, WCCF President & CEO. “But the Trolley Museum assembled a dynamic and well-connected campaign committee that has already raised about 85% of their $17 million goal! That is quite impressive and makes me very optimistic that the fundraising goal will soon be achieved!”
Construction is already underway and is estimated to be completed in the second half of 2022. Local contractor Waller Corporation is the general contractor on the project, and many of its employees and its subcontractors are based in Washington County.
About the WCCF
The WCCF promotes and facilitates local philanthropy in an effort to improve the quality of life in Washington County. In addition to issuing grants to local non-profits, the Foundation also facilitates WCCF Gives, an annual day of giving that benefits more than 100 local charities. This year’s day of giving is scheduled for September 16. To learn more about the Foundation’s activities, please visit www.wccf.net.