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Community Foundation Awards $250,000 in Capacity-Building Grants

Eighty Four, PA – The Washington County Community Foundation recently awarded $250,000 in capacity-building grants to 23 organizations from a variety of component funds. Capacity-building is defined as any activity that increases the nonprofit’s operational, programmatic, financial, or organizational maturity.

Drum Student At Lesson
Joshua Savanino, Mon Valley Academy for the Arts drum student, taking a lesson.

The majority of grants were issued for financial process improvement, which is a focus area of the Foundation. Arc Human Services received $15,000 for advanced accounting software. Burgettstown Area Senior Citizens Center and the Washington County Cultural Trust each received $5,000 for basic accounting software. The Johnson-Shaw Foundation and Washington Area Senior Citizens Center each received $10,000 to purchase basic accounting software and related computer equipment. A $15,000 grant will enable the Mon Valley Academy for the Arts to initiate an independent audit and a $15,000 grant will enable the Washington County Watershed Alliance to contract with a consultant to create a fundraising and financial management plan. The Mon Valley Performing Arts Academy received $5,000 to contract with an accountant to develop a financial tracking system.

Communications is another focus area for the Foundation, and two grants were issued in this area. Little Lake Theater received $15,000 to secure a new website, that not only will increase visibility for the charity but will assist with donations and ticket sales. Payne Chapel AME Church will increase its visibility with a $5,000 grant for signage and brochures to help preserve the history of the African American individuals who were buried in the cemetery in the mid-1800s.

Gordon Anderson, Kevin Yavoich, Donora VFD; and Joel Koricich, Collinsburg VFD, suiting up for a practice dive.

Facility improvement grants were issued to four charities. Donora Volunteer Fire Department received $10,000 to purchase a storage unit for specialized rescue equipment that will reduce response time for river-related incidents. Low Cost Spay Neuter Washington County received $15,000 to replace electrical wiring in their new facility, which was recently purchased to increase services. Peters Creek Historical Society received $5,000 for upgrades to their electrical system and to paint the Colonial Room at the Enoch Wright House. Washington County Historical Society received $30,000 to repurpose two areas in the LeMoyne House into a production studio and conference room.

Five program expansion grants were awarded, including $35,000 to Bethlehem-Center School District to create a computer science and STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) learning center for all students. Titanium Titans received $5,000 to purchase STEM equipment to help students broaden opportunities in the workforce. The Mon Valley Jeep Emergency Response Team received $5,000 for a thermal imaging camera to improve life-saving search and rescue efforts and the South Hills Children’s Choir received $5,000 for a computer and specialized software to increase accessibility for students with disabilities. SPHS Crisis Intervention Services received $5,000 for keychains with QR codes for ready access to mental health information.

Three grants were awarded for technology. The Fort Cherry Education Foundation received $15,000 to improve internet speed in all school buildings and Southwest Training Services received $10,000 to replace old computers and add a new printer with networking capabilities. Meals on Wheels @ the Crossroads received $5,000 to purchase new office equipment and computers.

SW Training Services
Patrons of Southwest Training Services in the computer lab.

A data management grant of $5,000 was awarded to Dress for Success Pittsburgh to contract with a consultant to improve understanding and usage of its new customer relationship management software.

“The impact of our capacity-building grants program, which cumulatively has granted over $5 million to local nonprofits since it was initiated in late 2017, has been transformational for many charities,” remarked Betsie Trew, President & CEO.  “With its ongoing success, we remain committed to our capacity-building grants program and will provide two open and competitive cycles in 2024.”

For more information, including the grant application process, please visit the Foundation’s website at