And the winners are…
Volunteers of America-Ruth’s Place
Commission on Economic Opportunity- Monsignor Andrew J. McGowan Center for Healthy Living
The Millennium Circle Membership has spoken and for the first time in its fourteen year history-we have a perfect tie! In response to this voting anomaly, The Luzerne Foundation will split the 2014 grant allocation of $20,000 and present a $10,000 grant to Commission on Economic Opportunity – Monsignor Andrew J. McGowan Center for Healthy Living and $10,000 grant to Volunteers of America for Ruth’s Place. The organizations were chosen from twenty-nine initial grant nominations which were narrowed down to five finalists for presentation at the Millennium Circle’s 2014 Annual Luncheon.
During the Annual Luncheon, a representative from each of the five nonprofit finalists presented to nearly 175 Millennium Circle members and guests how the grant money would help their organization address an important need and by extension the community. Only Millennium Circle members could vote on which charity should receive the grant. Each finalist did a phenomenal job in presenting their charities need. Below are excerpts from our declared winners.
Commission on Economic Opportunity- Monsignor Andrew J. McGowan Center for Healthy Living: “There are 46,480 food insecure or hungry individuals living in Luzerne County, including of all children, will benefit from this funding. CEO’s Weinberg Regional Food Bank partners with 74 member agencies; 24 after school programs; 51 summer programs – including city parks & recreation departments, housing authorities, libraries and community centers; 15 schools and 54 senior locations – all in Luzerne County and all working with the Food Bank to fight hunger, improve nutrition, and reach the 1 in 7 people who are food insecure people in the county,” said Gretchen Hunt, spokesperson for the Commission on Economic Opportunity.
Volunteers of America for Ruth’s Place: “The funds will assist with the expansion of our service model. Currently, we rent space for the shelter, at which is not ideally suited as there remains a lack of separation of sleeping areas with common and public areas, thereby denying the women privacy.
To rectify this, our intent is to move the shelter to an empty building we own in Wilkes-Barre, but before that can take place; we must renovate and update the interior and critical systems. This transition will not only improve our service to current clients but expand our outreach in emergency shelter services for women and women with children -one critically unmet need in Luzerne County homeless services,” stated Kristen Topolski, Executive Director of Ruth’s Place.
The Millennium Circle Fund of the Luzerne Foundation was created by a special group of donors whose gifts of $2,000 to the Fund play a pivotal role in helping The Luzerne Foundation identify significant unmet community needs. The ultimate goal is to have 2,000 members and a fund that would present community grants totaling $200,000 or more each year.