Twenty-five years ago, in 1994, a small group of individuals led by Frank Bevevino, established The Luzerne Foundation — a community foundation. The goal was to create a means of funding causes and organizations in Luzerne County in perpetuity — long after their days were done. The founding board members felt it was critical to have a pool of unrestricted or general interest assets to best serve the various and changing needs in the community. They created The Fund for Luzerne County to do just that.
As a recognized community foundation, The Luzerne Foundation is a tax-exempt, nonprofit, autonomous, publicly supported, nonsectarian philanthropic institution with a long-term goal of building permanent, named component funds established by separate donors to carry out their charitable interests and for the broad-based charitable interest of, and for, the benefit of residents in Luzerne County. In other words, The Luzerne Foundation is a philanthropic resource. We assist in the creation of funds for various purposes; work with professional advisors; collaborate with area nonprofits; and act as a steward of the funds under our roof.
1994–2019: 25 Years of being Here for Good.™
It was an amazing evening. On May 9, 2019 over three hundred attendees gathered under the tent at the Westmorland Club to celebrate The Foundation’s 25thAnniversary. The festivities started with the ringing of a bell and welcome from David Hourigan, Luzerne Foundation board member. Century 21 Smith Hourigan Group was also the sponsor of the evening.
Throughout the evening David announced the nonprofit recipients of $10,000 grants which were sponsored by various company, individuals and funds and matched by an anonymous donor. A highlight of the evening was the presentation of a $25,000 grant to the Advocacy Fund for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. Ed Pashinski, representing the group, was brought to tears as were many in the room. (see full list below)
It was also formally announced that The Foundation’s new Wilkes-Barre home was to be named The Bevevino Family Center for Charitable Giving in honor of Frank Bevevino.. In 1994, it was Frank who brought the idea of starting a foundation to a small group of community-minded individuals. People from business, banking, realty, manufacturing, law and accounting, and Msgr. McGowan, all heeded Frank’s call, and The Luzerne Foundation was born.
25th Anniversary Grant Recipients
Advocacy Fund for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
Over 90,000 children in Pennsylvania are under the care of their grandparents who face challenges every day as they assume responsibility of raising their grandchildren. In many cases, the courts become involved, but many grandparents do not have the means to hire a lawyer. This grant will subsidize the cost of the initial legal consultation ensuring what is best for the welfare of the child.
ARC of Luzerne County
The TRACE program that assists individuals with intellectual and developmental disorders prepare to become active employees in the workforce following high school will be expanded to include Outside the Lines, a program that provides additional help to those with special needs.
CASA of Luzerne County
Each year the number of court-appointed special advocates and the number of children served has grown, and there is no end in sight. By the end of 2020 CASA plans to have 90 advocates helping 100 children. The grant will provide training for the new volunteers and increase CASA’s ability to provide more children with an advocate.
Catherine McAuley Center
Life skills training, budgeting and financial literacy, parenting and child safety, health and wellness, vocational training—these are just some of the services that will be provided by a case manager who will help vulnerable women and children transition from homelessness to economic independence and self-sufficiency.
Country Heart Farm
Outdoors & Unplugged is a summer children’s program that includes equine and animal assisted programs, equine assisted psychotherapy to encourage learning, wellness and healing. The program is offered at low or no cost to qualified applicants in Luzerne County.
Diamond City Partnership
Sixteen large self-watering planters on the second and third blocks of South Main in Wilkes-Barre will expand the beautification project started by the DCP several years ago. The enhanced “curb appeal” will add to the walkable, college-anchored, live-work neighborhood that is becoming a destination for shopping, dining, arts and entertainment.
Domestic Violence Service Center
Domestic violence is Luzerne County’s second highest homicide cause. DVSC provides emergency shelter and comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence and their dependent children. This includes a 24/7 hotline, advocacy, counseling and shelter—helping victims and their children on their journey to safety.
Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation
Outreach and awareness programs and environmental tours will be conducted by EPCAMR in underserved coalfield communities, opening eyes to the organization’s mission to reclaim abandoned mine lands, clean rivers and streams.
Family Service Center of NEPA
The Help Line/211 network has grown to include 31 emergency programs such as energy assistance, shelter, food, sexual assault, mental health, child abuse/neglect, disaster assistance, elder abuse, substance abuse and many more. Funding will enable Help Line/211 to continue its mission.
Fine Arts Fiesta
Each year the Fine Arts Fiesta in Wilkes-Barre, includes new ways for visitors to become part of the fun. This year, they will add an area where children can create on easels or multidimensional materials. Their creations will be on display and, of course, the young artists will be able to take the artwork home.
Greater Hazleton Area Civic Partnership
Bicycling is one of the best, simplest and healthiest forms of outdoor exercise. The grant will purchase 15 new bicycles to be made available to those using Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails. Various sizes and types of bikes will be housed in a shed near the trail making it easy to start pedaling.
Hazleton Area Regional Program
80% of HARP’s participants are children from low-to-moderate income homes. The grant will expand the after-school program to 150 students weekly and includes Play with a Purpose—a program for children ages 6-14 with age appropriates activities such as a railroad yard obstacle course, team builder activity packs, exer-genies, and more.
Immanuel Christian School
To move the Pre-K through 6th grade students into the same building as other students (7-12) Immanuel Christian School will first need to do needed renovations to create more space. Hammers will pound, paintbrushes will brighten the walls and new furniture will be ready when children return this fall.
The Center’s after-school program assist children with their homework and helps them with their academics. One of the biggest struggles is with reading. The grant will allow the Center to hire a reading specialist to work one-on-one with students who need the most help.
The grant will support a 2-day event at which MOM-n-PA provides dental care to thousands, yes thousands, of needy families who do not have access or cannot afford dental insurance. All doctors are volunteers who give of their time every year to this amazing event.
North Branch Land Trust
Connecting kids to nature improves their wellbeing, builds awareness of nature in their lives and creates a thirst for lifelong learning. NBLT will hold seasonal outdoor programs with experiential learning for kids from ages 7-10.
Northeast Sight Services
People with visual disabilitiesliterally “see” the world differently. Northeast Sight Services plans to provide education to the entire community on how to make their space and services more accessible to those with visions loss. A small change can make a big difference.
Social Fabric Collective
Ten Luzerne County high school students will use photography to explore the world through a world-class educational experience. Nikon cameras, Apple computer workstations are provided while guest speakers share their lives with students. The result is a student photography exhibit.
Special Olympics Pennsylvania – Luzerne County
This successful program is looking to grow. The grant will support expansion of the popular bowling program and will start an aquatics program in the Hazleton area providing more opportunities for new athletes to become part of the program.
Sugarloaf Fire Company
Firefighters need the proper training to ensure their own safety as well as the safety of those they serve. An elevated training platform will be built and be available to fire companies throughout the area.
Supporting Autism and Families Everywhere (S.A.F.E.)
Drowning is the #1 cause of death of individuals with autism. SAFE will teach water safety skills to children 14 years of age and younger by providing a swim program at a local YMCA. Each student will have four ½ hour lessons.
United Way of Wyoming Valley
The grant will provide funds for a market study to determine how to expand and sustain the Home Visitation program that prepares new parents and children from at-risk families for healthy and successful lives.
Victims Resource Center
Traumatized by various crimes, victims need a comfortable, safe, and welcoming space for counseling or therapy sessions. A new space will house programs including support groups for adults sexually abused as a child, adolescent and children’s groups, parent groups and homicide survivor’s groups.
Volunteers in Medicine
About 75% of VIM’s patients have some type of mental health issue such as depression, anxiety or bi-polar disorder. A social care coordinator in the Behavioral Health Program will focus on counseling, medication review, evaluation and case management for these patients in need.
Bringing arts groups together for the greater good of the community is the focus of WVIA’s ArtScene Conference. Free to all organizations, the conference will enable collaboration in the arts community—learn from each other and create a shared vision for the future.
Wyoming Valley Children’s Association
Many of the WVCA’s students need weekly speech and/or occupational therapy sessions. The addition of specific equipment will address language delays and gross motor delays allowing each student to reach their full potential.