Skip to main content

Community Foundation Awards $710,000 in Capacity-Building Grants

Eighty Four, PA – The Washington County Community Foundation (WCCF) awarded a total of $710,000 in capacity-building grants to 24 organizations in 2022.  Capacity-building is defined as any activity that increases the non-profit’s operational, programmatic, financial, or organizational maturity.  The grants, which were issued from a variety of component funds and ranged from $10,000 to $100,000, supported facility improvements, program expansions, communications, financial process improvements, and technology.

Release Capacity Building Grants Ginger Hill Grange in Autumn
The Ginger Hill Grange adorned for Autumn, awaiting the seasonal activities.

The majority of the capacity-building grants were awarded for facility improvements, including a first-time grant to the Ginger Hill Grange of $25,000 for a new floor in its facility, which was built in 1913. According to the Pennsylvania State Grange website, the Grange, also known as the Patrons of Husbandry, “is a fraternal family organization dedicated to the betterment of the American way of life through community service, education, legislation and fellowship. It is the oldest agricultural and rural advocacy organization of its kind in the United States.”

“At one time Washington County had many granges, which served our many agricultural communities,” remarked WCCF President & CEO Betsie Trew. “But sadly, only three granges in Washington County remain today. With this grant, we wanted to help the organization preserve its charming facility in Nottingham Township, which is used for a variety of community events.” The Salvation Army will use its $50,000 grant to renovate the kitchen in its Donora facility which is used for a variety of food distribution programs in the Mon Valley. A $50,000 grant to Food Helpers will enable an expansion of its warehouse and office space in Brownsville to accommodate increased services throughout Washington County.

The second-highest total was for program expansion. Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Aid will use its $50,000 grant to initiate a driver’s license suspension advocacy program that will benefit both workers and businesses in Washington County. According to Brian Gorman, SPLA Executive Director, driver’s license suspension advocacy has been an unmet need in Washington County for decades. He said, “I’ve been practicing since 1999; it’s never not been an issue. We have pretty tough license suspension laws in Pennsylvania, and people have been struggling with them the whole time.” Without a driver’s license an individual’s ability to secure and maintain employment is significantly impaired. The grant will provide for staffing to initiate the program.

A $50,000 grant will enable the Thomas Campbell Apartments to expand its outdoor programming by converting five wooded acres into a walking trail and outdoor recreation space for residents. And a $25,000 grant to the Washington Hospital Foundation will support a new retention program for nurses.

Communication grants were issued to five organizations. Grants of $10,000 each were issued to Connect, Frank Sarris Library, and Southwestern Pennsylvania Area Agency on Aging for new websites. The Literacy Council of Southwestern Pennsylvania and the Bradford House Historical Association each received $25,000 grants for new websites and other marketing initiatives. All five organizations will also benefit from ongoing technical support and training as a member of the WCCF Website Cohort.

Three grants were awarded to improve financial processes, including a $100,000 grant to CASA for Kids to collateralize a line of credit, $20,000 to Strive for a Better Tomorrow to purchase accounting software and accounting services, and $10,000 to the Venetia Heritage Society for accounting and communications software.

Technology grants were issued to four organizations. The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum received $25,000 for new software to enhance its data management capabilities. Receiving grants of $10,000 each to purchase computer equipment for clients and/or employees were AMI, Watchful Shepherd, and the Center for Community Resources.

A complete schedule of grantees is available on the Foundation’s website at Nonprofit organizations who would like to be considered for a capacity-building grant in 2023, and who did not receive a capacity-building grant in 2022, should submit a one-page letter of intent via the Foundation’s Submittable grant-management portal by April 1. Requests may range from $5,000 to $50,000. Additional information about the application process is available in the “For Grant Seekers” section of

In addition to capacity-building grants, the Foundation also provides program grants and unrestricted grants. In total more than $3.5 million in grants was awarded in 2022 to over 100 local nonprofits including public charities, school districts and other educational institutions, fire departments, municipalities, etc. The Foundation relies on contributions to provide its charitable services and welcomes gifts via its website or by contacting the Foundation at 724-222-6330.