Empowered Women to Give Thanks to Pearls with a Passion | News, Sports, Jobs


RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent The 2022 Pearls with a Passion grant recipients are left to right, Dr. Colby Wesner, Think BIG Pediatric Cancer Fund Inc., Shawna Meuser, Snyder Union Mifflin Child Development Inc., Jenny Hull, Family Promise of Lycoming County Inc., Tiphanie Stocks, AIDS Resource Alliance, Inc., Emily Gorski, DIG Furniture Bank and Camp Koala with Jennifer Wilson, President and CEO, First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania. Grants of varying amounts are awarded annually to programs that benefit children, individuals and families in crisis.

Members of Pearls with a Passion, a women’s endowment with Pennsylvania’s First Community Foundation Partnership, listened to the six nonprofits chosen to receive this year’s grants share how the “Pearls'” generosity enables them to respond to the needs of the people they serve.

For Doug Pertanzetti’s group, Snyder Union Mifflin Child Development, Inc., the grant will help families facing rising childcare costs get the help they need to stay in the workforce .

Sexual assault survivors will be helped to get the life-saving medications they need, Tiphanie Stocks of the AIDS Resource Alliance, Inc. told the group.

DIG Furniture Bank will be able to manage its inventory, volunteers and offer customers an online database with software purchased with the Pearls grant, according to Emily Gorski, founder.

Gorski is also the program director of Camp Koala, where the grant will benefit young people who are grieving the loss of a loved one. The need is growing, Gorski said, especially with the pandemic.

Jenny Hull, executive director of Family Promise of Lycoming County, Inc., said there were 18 families on a waiting list seeking help. Working families, but on the verge of homelessness. The money from the Pearls will help meet these needs.

The tears were evident when Dr. Colby Wesner, President of the Think BIG Pediatric Cancer Fund, Inc, told the story of a child who had undergone cancer treatment and his organization was able to help the family with financial assistance. for car payment, mortgage payments, utility bills and possibly with funeral service.

“We relieve this family of these burdens, ask them to submit their electricity bills and mortgage payments to us, so that they can focus solely on the well-being of a child,” Wesner said.

When it started in 2013, Pearls’ goal was to find 10 women who would be willing to invest $25,000 to create a $250,000 endowment with FCFP. It was designed to bring together women from diverse backgrounds around a common goal: “creating powerful communities through passionate giving.”

“The way we work as a community foundation, we invest charitable funds, so we can always preserve capital, and over time we use an expense policy to make grants in perpetuity. So this fund will be there forever,” said Jennifer Wilson, President and CEO of the FCFP.

“So this $250,000 endowment would secure at least $10,000 in annual grants. It has also allowed us to create annual memberships of $250 so that many women can participate in our program,” she explained.

To date, 227 individual women have been members over the past 10 years and have granted a total of $179,000. The fund balance is approaching $1 million.

Like a string of pearls, each of the donors or pearls come together to pool their charity dollars. Then, each year, they decide where the needs of the community are so that their donations benefit the most.

They also decide on a cause grant, which will support nonprofits in Lycoming and Union counties. This year’s cause was children, individuals and families in crisis.

According to FCFP, a total of $66,000 in requests were received from 15 organizations. Six nonprofits were chosen from this pool to receive this year’s grants.

They are:

• Snyder Union Mifflin Child Development Inc., $2,200 for the SUMMIT Early Learning Family Tuition Assistance Program, which helps provide ongoing child care to families in need during difficult times.

• AIDS Resource Alliance, Inc., $4,000 to support the Sexual Assault Survivors HIV Prevention Support Program, which provides free HIV prevention medication to victims of sexual assault.

• DIG Furniture Bank, $4,800, to implement management software to improve their ability to personalize customer service, critical to achieving their mission of instilling dignity after a crisis.

• Camp Koala, $5,000, to cover the costs of hosting six-week support groups for bereaved children in partnership with local school districts.

• Family Promise of Lycoming County, Inc., $5,000, to support The Promising Futures program to meet the housing needs of people in crisis and at risk of losing their home or the safety of their home.

• Think BIG Pediatric Cancer Fund, Inc., $5,000, for the Lycoming and Union County Family Relief Program, which relieves the stress of everyday financial expenses so families battling childhood cancer can focus on treatment and cure.



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