WCCF receives $500,000 Richard King Mellon Foundation grant for Brownlee House

July 08, 2016

The Washington County Community Foundation (WCCF) is pleased to announce that it has received a $500,000 grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to complete the rehabilitation of the first floor and central staircase of the historic Brownlee House in Eighty Four, home of the WCCF.  

In its grant-making, the Pittsburgh-based Richard King Mellon Foundation focuses on regional economic development and conservation, along with education and human services and nonprofit capacity building. 

This grant recognizes major efforts of the WCCF to build capacity in the county’s nonprofits with training and fundraising opportunities, and also its work to preserve the Brownlee House, built in 1848 and donated to the WCCF in 2013 by William and Dr. Saundra Stout.  

“We are delighted in so many ways with this extremely generous grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation,” said Betsie Trew, President & CEO of the WCCF. “In addition to enabling us to move forward with preserving a building on the National Register of Historic Places and an historic symbol of Washington County, the grant importantly recognizes the efforts of the WCCF to grow and nurture philanthropy in Washington County and to serve as a resource for local charities.”

WCCF moved to the Brownlee House in April 2015, after completing extensive rehabilitative work to the second and third floors of the House. With the Richard King Mellon Foundation grant, rehabilitative work will move forward to prepare the first floor for use as a Scotch-Irish heritage museum. The Foundation hopes to open the heritage museum to the public in 2017.

Trainings offered by the WCCF allow Washington County’s nonprofits, which rely heavily on volunteers and operate with very tight budgets, to achieve more than they might otherwise, to the benefit of county residents. Trainings have included effective nonprofit management practices, using technology and social media, writing effective human interest stories, nonprofit development techniques, maintaining ethical standards, and more. 

The primary fundraising opportunity provided by the WCCF for area charities is a county wide day of giving, WCCF Gives, which has helped to raise $1,700,000 for local charities since its inception. The next day of giving is scheduled for September 13, 2016.

The Richard King Mellon Foundation grant is the largest single private foundation grant the WCCF has ever received for any project, and also the largest single gift received for the Brownlee House. Including the donation of the House itself, the amount received from all sources supporting the overall Brownlee House project now totals $1,425,000.