Community Foundation Finalizes Its Charity of Excellence Initiative Which Included $150,000 in Grants

January 14, 2021

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Eighty Four, PA – The Washington County Community Foundation recently finalized its Charity of Excellence initiative, naming Blueprints the winner of the top award which included a $25,000 unrestricted grant, and the Washington Area Humane Society as the winner of a $5,000 People’s Choice Award. The Charity of Excellence initiative was the cornerstone of the Foundation’s celebration of its 25th anniversary in 2020.

The Charity of Excellence top award of $25,000 was determined in two phases. In phase one, applicants were judged on the following criteria: Quality and variety of programming, Community impact as gauged by the number of people served relative to the operating budget, Volunteer engagement, and improvement in the organization’s financial position over the last five years. From the numerous applications that were received, twenty-five local non-profits were named Charity of Excellence honorees: Blueprints, Bradford House Historical Association, CASA for Kids, Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern PA, Donora Public Library Association, Dress for Success Pittsburgh, Friends of the Canonsburg Town Park, Genesis of Pittsburgh, Lemoyne Community Center, Literacy Council of Southwestern PA, Little Lake Theatre, Low Cost Spay Neuter Washington County, Meals on Wheels @ the Crossroads, Mon Valley YMCA, Mon Valley Youth and Teen Association, Mon-Vale Health Resources, Inc./Monongahela Valley Hospital, Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, Presbyterian SeniorCare Network, Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services, The CARE Center, TRPIL, Village of FPC, Washington Area Humane Society, Washington Hospital, and the Washington Symphonic Orchestra. All Charity of Excellence honorees received a grant of at least $5,000.

In phase two, each of the 25 Charity of Excellence honorees was asked to develop a public relations campaign to encourage visits to that charity’s volunteer testimonial on the WCCF Storybook website and to incorporate the Charity of Excellence seal in its marketing and communication materials. The public relations campaign, use of the Charity of Excellence seal, and the four criteria from phase one, were used to determine the top awardee.


“We were very impressed with the public relations efforts of all 25 honorees in phase two, and so it was a difficult decision to choose just one for the top prize,” said Betsie Trew, WCCF President & CEO. “But Blueprints, a multi-faceted charity that annually serves more than 20,000 people through its 35 programs, has achieved a level of maturity and sophistication that warrants special recognition. For this initiative, Blueprints developed a creative, professional, and comprehensive public relations campaign, which with along with the four original criteria in phase one, set Blueprints apart from the other finalists.”

“Blueprints is exceptionally honored to be designated the top Charity of Excellence in Washington County, marking the auspicious occasion of the Foundation’s 25th anniversary,” remarked Darlene Bigler, Blueprints Chief Executive Officer. “This distinction validates the community impact we strive for, as well as our journey for organizational excellence as we break barriers and build futures for children and families.”

Washington Area Humane Society

The People’s Choice Award of $5,000 to the Washington Area Humane Society was determined by the more than 1,000 unique pageviews the Humane Society’s volunteer testimonial received during a month-long contest on the WCCF Storybook website. In total, more than 5,400 votes were cast during the contest period.

“The Washington Area Humane Society values the Washington County Community Foundation and all it does to support non-profits in Washington County,” said Kelly Proudfit, Washington Area Humane Society Executive Director. “We are very grateful for having been named as one of the Foundation’s 25 Charity of Excellence recipients and we appreciate all the supporters who voted for us in the People’s Choice Award contest.”

The $150,000 in grants awarded through the Charity of Excellence initiative were issued from the Alvin and Carol Berthold Fund. Lifelong residents of McDonald, the Bertholds were longtime supporters of the WCCF. Their fund, valued at more than $6.5 million, is the largest discretionary grant-making fund of the WCCF.

“As we reflect on the 25-year history of the Washington County Community Foundation, we are reminded of the many donors like Alvin and Carol, who have chosen the WCCF to facilitate their charitable goals,” remarked Trew. “Because of the trust that our donors placed in us, the Foundation has grown from a fledgling charity with only $5,000 in assets in December 1995, to the county’s largest publicly-supported grant-making foundation with more than $50 million in assets in December 2020. Our ongoing pledge to all of our donors is to use donated moneys to improve the quality of life in Washington County, through our grantmaking as well as our other charitable services.”

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About the WCCF

The WCCF promotes and facilitates local philanthropy in an effort to improve the quality of life in Washington County. In 2020, it created the Close to Home Disaster and Emergency Fund which has issued grants of more than $500,000 to local charities responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to issuing grants to non-profits in Washington County, the Foundation also issues both need-based and merit-based scholarships to students in Washington County. To learn more about the Foundation’s activities, please visit