The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


April 26, 2010

Keeping Murtha legacy alive | Building, endowment are fitting tributes

— Has anyone done more for the financial well-being of our region than the late Rep. John Murtha?

We’ll let that debate for others.

But his family and former staff and congressional peers have vowed to keep his giving ways alive for many years to come in the form of a building and a permanent endowment.

Announced recently were the John P. Murtha Center for Public Service, a building proposed for the sprawling Pitt-Johnstown campus, and an endowment that will make grants benefiting a long list including the arts and humanities, children and youth, civic affairs, economic development, education, environmental programs, health and human services, heritage, religion and scholarships.

How very exciting.

Prospering will be organizations, groups and individuals extending well beyond the Greater Johnstown community.

“We are building a building that lives,” John P. Murtha Foundation board member Matthew Mazonkey said. The center, he added, will include public meeting rooms, classrooms and a repository with access to Murtha’s library of public papers and memorabilia.

Fundraising work is already getting under way.

In addition to sponsoring the center’s development, the Murtha foundation will invest donations and use those earnings to support nonprofit organizations across the region. 

“We’re thrilled to be working with the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown on creation of the Murtha center, and working to establish a permanent endowment that will support nonprofit organizations throughout our community,” Murtha’s widow, Joyce, said.

We’re sure UPJ is also thrilled, along with the entire community.

From every indication, the endowment will benefit many deserving groups much in the same way as the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies and Lee Initiatives, both of whom’s work and generosity in the community has been nothing short of phenomenal. 

We hope the Murtha center and endowment both become a reality sooner rather than later.

We also encourage area residents to support the fundraising efforts.


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