More than 30 years ago, Centre County Judge R. Paul Campbell saw a need to increase nonprofit services and support in our community. He envisioned an organization that would help donors fulfill their philanthropic goals by building and maintaining a collection of permanent endowment funds that would support Centre County nonprofit organizations.
“He cared about people and I think that, because he was the judge, he noticed things that weren’t being taken care of. He wanted to help kids that were in trouble,” said Judge Campbell’s daughter, Nancy Slagle.
His dream of ensuring support in perpetuity for these organizations providing essential services in our community was realized with the founding of what would become the Centre Foundation. In our lifetime, Centre Foundation has given out $8 million in grants, to more than 400 nonprofit organizations.
Centre Foundation has provided enduring support for the nonprofit community through donor generosity, careful stewardship, and informed grant making. By building our endowment, we can continue to support Centre County for generations to come.
In the past few years, the foundation has partnered with other organizations to take on big-picture issues in our region.
“People are always apprehensive to plunge into something new and different,” said Alfred Jones, the foundation’s executive director. He said there was a time when he would have been laughed at for saying that he sees Centre Foundation as “an instrument for social change.”
However, Centre Foundation has recognized that we need to take advantage of our leadership role to have a greater impact in this community. The first step in this direction was Centre Gives, our 36-hour online giving event. The program saw its second year of success in May, as 82 participating nonprofit organizations raised more than $550,000, from more than 4,000 donations. Centre Foundation provided a $100,000 prorated match, which gave the community a role in deciding how this money would be distributed. This program allows us to have a significantly wider impact with our discretionary granting funds.
The next step in this direction is our new transformative grant program called “Centre Inspires.” Beginning next year, this program will seek to address community-wide issues in a substantial manner and encourage nonprofit organizations to work together to meet a community need by providing an enduring solution.
As always, Centre Foundation would like to thank our donors for their compassion and enduring support. Without their help, we would not be able to provide essential support to the organizations that support Centre County. We think Judge Campbell would be very proud of what the foundation has become and how the community has supported it. We could not have done it without you.
Sarah Sciabica is a financial assistant for the Centre Foundation.