December 10, 2021
EIGHTY FOUR, Pa. – The Washington County Community Foundation (WCCF) is pleased to announce that its recent $250,000 grant to Washington Communities Human Services (WCHS) is already having an impact. The purpose of the grant, which will be paid over a two-year period, is to support two new staff positions and a rebranding campaign.
Since 1968, Washington Communities Human Services has been providing behavioral health services to mental health consumers and to consumers with intellectual disabilities and autism disorders. Currently, WCHS is providing services to approximately 1,900 clients. Adult services include group sessions, individual sessions and telehealth services. Youth services include individual sessions, group sessions, and school-based programs. WCHS also helps mental health consumers to access the programs of other social services nonprofits.
The demand for mental health services has increased significantly in recent years, and the WCHS leadership recognized that to address the increased need they had to make some strategic changes in the organization.
“Earlier this year our Board completed a strategic planning process which identified the need to hire a chief operating officer to streamline operations and coordinate staffing,” said Natalie Ross, Executive Director, Washington Communities Human Services. “Also identified was the need to hire a marketing and development specialist who could lead our rebranding initiative and begin our fundraising efforts. We are extremely grateful to the Washington County Community Foundation for funding these vital components of our strategic plan.”
“A significant percentage of our grantmaking over the past few years has been dedicated to increasing the capacity of our local charities to fulfill their missions,” remarked Betsie Trew, WCCF President & CEO. “This grant to Washington Communities Human Services will enable the organization to increase its capacity to provide vital mental health services to some of our most vulnerable citizens. And we are optimistic that the rebranding campaign will lead to a greater awareness of the organization to those needing its services as well as to those who are capable of supporting it financially.”
After a months-long search, the two new positions funded by the grant have been filled.
Jessica Sphar has been hired as the Chief Operating Officer. She has an extensive mental health background and previously worked as a certified school psychologist. Having earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in sociology from Washington & Jefferson College, she earned a master’s degree in school psychology from California University. Ms. Sphar holds a PA Certified School Psychology license and has completed all of her coursework for a doctoral degree in advanced studies in human behavior and hopes to complete her dissertation in the future.
Riley Bitonti has been hired as the Marketing & Development Specialist. A graduate of Slippery Rock University with a bachelor's degree in communications, Ms. Bitonti has previous marketing experience with a public relations agency as well as a formal boutique, both located in Pittsburgh.
With the staff positions now filled, the WCCF and WCHS will work together on the rebranding initiative, which likely will include a name change for WCHS and a new website. To learn more, please visit www.washcomm.net or the WCHS Facebook page.
The WCCF is the largest publicly-supported grant making foundation headquartered in Washington County. Cumulatively it has awarded more than $25 million in grants to support diverse community causes. For more information, please visit the Foundation’s website at www.wccf.net or call 724-222-6330.