The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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August 31, 2013

How the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies stays true to its namesake in 2013

— The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies prides itself on being a collaborative effort – board Chairman Mark Pasquerilla’s foreword in the foundation’s 2013 Annual Report stresses that nature, which allows the group to build mutually beneficial partnerships in our area through private and commercial donations.

“A community can work together around a shared vision, committed to the proposition that by working together we can best meet our similar goals and ultimately improve our community,” he wrote.

Across fiscal year 2012-13, the foundation put up more than $500,000 toward scholarships that benefited 689 students. Roughly $6.8 million was donated to the foundation from nearly 5,000 donors, putting the region above many similar organizations in gifts per capita. On average, community residents gave $30 per person to the foundation.

The foundation turned that goodwill into 35 new community funds, along with an estimated $3.6 million in grant awards to area organizations and students – slightly more than last year. And that’s with a marked decrease in donations from roughly $12 million in 2012.

The William Jr. and Karen Carter Brandon scholarship, a new addition to the foundation’s long list of academic awards, was inspired by an historic Malcolm X quote:

“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”

Created by Karen Brandon, treasurer for the Elizabeth Lindsey Davis Club, and her daughter Charvonne Holliday, the grant goes to a deserving minority student from Greater Johnstown School District. The scholarship is also awarded in the student’s second year of college, to offset many lines of funding only applicable to first-year tuition.

This year, the fruits of the foundation’s efforts can also be seen in newly revamped downtown spots and the city’s crime-stricken areas.

A $35,000 grant from the foundation added roughly 300 square feet to the Cambria County Public Library’s used book nook. The library’s unattractive and cramped lobby was refitted into a spot for bookworms to gather, with new tile, walls, carpeting, electrical upgrades and a fresh coat of paint.

The “Inclined to Read” shop also received a complimentary coffee bar from Sheetz Inc., which acts as an alternative revenue stream for the library.

Another new foundation fund in 2013 will support groups that are taking a stand against the area’s surging crime rates.

The inaugural “10 Against ‘K’rime” 10K run and fun walk at Roxbury Park was held Aug. 10, organized by the Moxham Neighborhood Watch, Roxbury Civic Group and the West End Improvement Group and funded through foundation money.

Donations to this fund can also be made throughout the year and will go toward purchasing crime prevention equipment.

Justin Dennis is a multimedia reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/JustinDennis.

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