Centre Foundation plans new grant campaign

mmorgan@centredaily.comOctober 18, 2013 

Jeffrey Bower accepts the Oak Tree Award at the Centre Foundation’s annual dinner Thursday.


— The Centre Foundation is trying to start its next big project.

Trying to capitalize on the multiple successful Centre Gives campaigns, Centre Foundation Executive Director Al Jones announced a new Centre Inspires campaign at the fifth annual dinner Thursday at the Nittany Lion Inn.

Jones, who called the Centre Gives online fundraiser a “home run,” said the goal of Centre Inspires will be to give out one $100,000 grant to a charity in one of four major disciplines. They are health and human services, the environment, art and education.

He is hoping the program is able to generate a bigger splash instead of giving out multiple smaller grants.

“I have really high hopes for it,” Jones said.

Ideally, he would like to see he would like to see a snowball effect generating more donations in the future so they will be able to give out multiple of these rants in a year.

Deputy Director Molly Kunkel said they will be crowdsourcing the pulse of the community to decide on the recipient.

Of the about 150 attendees, 41 percent listed health and human services as the most important area of concern in an informal text messaging poll.

Centre Foundation is a philanthropic organization that helps manage other charitable efforts, and helps local groups with endowment funding. The organization has managed about $28 million in its history.

The foundation also announced the date for next year’s Centre Gives, which will be held beginning May 6. Centre Gives raised more than $400,000 in its first year and more than $550,000 in its second year.

But ultimately, the night was about the donors.

ClearWater Conservancy was recognized with the Kathryn S. Weaver award for an organization making a difference in the community, Celeste Newcomb won the Future of the Foundation award and Jeffrey Bower took home the Oak Tree award recognizing service and commitment.

The evening also featured a presentation by the New Leaf Initiative, one of the foundation’s grant recipients. Founders of the project spoke about their goals of creating a community hub to generate creative thinking and bring together local groups in a collaborative way.

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