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Community Foundation Issues Grants of More Than $230,000 to Public Libraries

Eighty Four, PA – The Washington County Community Foundation (WCCF) recently awarded $231,500 in grants to public libraries from its Community CARE Fund. The grants will support staffing, program enhancements, facility improvements, equipment and furniture purchases, and technology enhancements.

Both the Donora Public Library which received $25,000 and the Monongahela Public Library which received $24,500 will use their grants to provide greater handicapped accessibility to their facilities. Monongahela will also be combining a portion of its grant with moneys received from a Local Share Account grant to upgrade its HVAC system.

Monongahela Area Public Library 3
Monongahela Area Public Library received $24,500 which will be used to provide greater handicapped accessibility and upgrade its HVAC

The Frank Sarris Public Library will utilize its $25,000 grant to create an outdoor space for programming. A current stone-covered area will be transformed into an outdoor learning center, complete with a pergola, outside furniture, water fountain, and a bike rack. Burgettstown Community Library will utilize its $20,000 grant to purchase a new security system and for staffing to restart its children’s programming, which was discontinued during the pandemic. Avella Public Library will also use a portion of its $25,000 grant for increased staffing, along with the purchase of computer equipment. Other equipment purchases are planned for the Charleroi Public Library which received $25,000, the Chartiers-Houston Public Library which received $7,000, the Fredericktown Public Library which received $5,000, and the Heritage Public Library which received $25,000.

Program enhancements are planned at Citizen’s Library which received $18,000, the Mariana Public Library which received $7,000 and the Bentleyville Public Library which received $25,000. Bentleyville will use a portion of its grant to implement a Storywalk program. A Storywalk is a fun, educational activity that places a children's story, literally a book taken apart, along a popular walking route in the community. Bentleyville will share the Storywalks with each of the five municipalities within its service area. Different activity stations related to the book will be created during the walks, and at the end, the children will be given a book to add to their home libraries.

Four libraries, Avella, Bentleyville, Charleroi and Heritage, will utilize a portion of their grants to purchase new mobile friendly websites with content management systems. To further assist these libraries, the WCCF will provide oversight and technical assistance to the development of these new websites and will also provide periodic workshops for the libraries to enable them to learn how to utilize the content management systems to keep the information on the websites current.

“We believe that with proper financial and technical support, our community libraries can become vibrant community centers,” said Betsie Trew, WCCF President & CEO. “Already, many of our libraries provide services beyond the traditional library services. We are confident that the new websites will help Avella, Bentleyville, Charleroi and Heritage to both improve their services as well as to help generate additional financial support from their local communities.”

The Foundation is also working with the California Public Library which provides its programming out of an historic 1910 train station. The California Public Library wishes to improve the former train station platform for outdoor programming, and plans to purchase a pergola and other outside furniture to complete the space. But first platform brick which is original to the facility needs to be repaired and re-laid to eliminate tripping hazards and to improve the aesthetics of the space. The Foundation anticipates that a grant for this project will be announced later this summer.

In the past three years, the WCCF has awarded more than $650,000 to local public libraries, with most grants awarded from the Community CARE Fund. With assets of more than $50 million, the WCCF is the largest publicly-supported grantmaking foundation in Washington County. For more information, please visit