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Community Foundation Awards $300,000 in Capacity-Building Grants

Eighty Four, PA – The Washington County Community Foundation recently awarded a total of $300,000 in capacity-building grants to 14 local 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.

Meadowcroft Rockshelter at dusk
Meadowcroft Rockshelter

The largest amount overall was granted to arts and cultural organizations, including the largest single grant of $100,000 to the Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, part of the Senator John Heinz History Center family of museums, for a new interpretive trail. The trail will invite visitors to explore a prehistoric path from the expanded visitor center, past the site’s recreated 16th-century Monongahela Indian Village, and along Cross Creek to the Rockshelter. According to Meadowcroft, “Visitors will walk through a natural environment which has barely changed since prehistoric people camped there. In addition, along the trail there will be interpretive elements about the prehistoric flora and fauna which were part of Western Pennsylvania’s past and, in many cases, remain on the property.”

“The prehistoric trail and other improvements of Meadowcroft’s current expansion have the potential to transform the organization,” remarked Betsie Trew, WCCF President & CEO. “Through our capacity-building grants we seek to support such transformational projects for local charities.”

Meadowcrofts 18th c Frontier Trading Post
Meadowcroft’s 18th Century Frontier Trading Post

National Duncan Glass Society received a $25,000 grant to renovate a previous lower-level storage area into an accessible education center which will enable the Society to accommodate larger bus tours and group learning sessions. As part of the renovation, modern audio and visual technology will be installed.

Washington Symphony Orchestra received a $20,000 grant for a new website and social media marketing to increase awareness and to reach a more diverse audience. Old Schoolhouse Players received a $15,000 grant to purchase new microphones for ADA compliance and to provide a better visitor experience for all patrons. The Bradford House Historical Association received a $10,000 grant for an audit which will not only help to manage the organization but will also open doors to new funding sources.

In the health and fitness area, AHN Canonsburg Hospital received a $20,000 grant to purchase a DEXA Scanner for bone density and Penn Highlands Mon Valley Hospital received a $20,000 grant to purchase an ACIST Injector used for interventional cardiology. Washington & Jefferson College received a $15,000 grant to purchase an anatomage table, which will be used in its new nursing program in partnership with UPMC Washington. Memories in the Makin’, which provides an equine therapy program in Avella, received a $15,000 grant to purchase accounting software and a computer workstation.

Two grants were issued in the education area, including a $10,000 grant to IUP Research Institute/PennWest California for a strategic plan to ensure the longevity and sustainability of the Student Association Farm in California, PA. Trinity Area School District will use its $10,000 grant to purchase a laser cutter and 3D chocolate printer to empower students’ creativity and innovation.

In the community improvement and economic development area, a $15,000 grant was issued to the Mon Valley Alliance Foundation to transition to a cloud-based accounting software program.

In the human needs area, a $15,000 grant will enable Food Helpers to purchase a software system that centralizes donor engagement and helps to strategize growth.

In the animal welfare area, a $10,000 grant to the Washington Area Human Society will be used to renovate an existing building into a storage facility. In addition to providing storage for financial and medical records, the renovated space will enable the Society to store pet food donations in advance of periodic distributions to low-income pet owners.

The Foundation’s next capacity-building grant cycle opens on August 1 and closes on October 1. Nonprofit organizations who would like to be considered for a capacity-building grant should contact the Foundation at 724-222-6330 to discuss their project in advance of submitting an application. Grants normally range from $5,000 to $50,000.

The Foundation relies on contributions to provide grants and other charitable services. Gifts are welcomed via or by contacting the Foundation at 724-222-6330.