Centre Foundation effort launched to inspire nonprofits

A new grant program sponsored by the Centre Foundation is inspiring local organizations to think creatively about ways to better serve the community.

By this summer, the foundation expects to launch Centre Inspires, which will provide up to $100,000 to fund projects that identify and meet major needs in Centre County, said Sarah Sciabica, the foundation’s grant and scholarship coordinator.

The grant is an incentive for organizations to think outside the box, said Carol Pioli, State College Food Bank executive director.

“First of all, it’s going to be great for someone like the food bank because we have one program — to distribute food — and now this allows us to think creatively, work with other organizations and come up with plans to meet broader community needs,” Pioli said.

The food bank is hoping to partner with Penn State nutrition students who can help educate clients about the food they should be consuming. It also wants to create a partnership with local school districts to teach students dietary education, Pioli said.

Sciabica said the initiative was started as a way to focus on larger projects within different program areas that include culture, community and the arts, health and social services, environmental conservation and awareness, and education and lifelong learning.

“Centre Inspires will be a multiyear program,” said Molly Kunkel, executive director of Centre Foundation.

“Each year, Centre Foundation will focus on a new program area in order to fund projects that touch all aspects of life in our community. The health and social services interest area will rotate more frequently, reflecting the foundation’s traditional support level of these services.”

The foundation will hold four information sessions targeted to nonprofits but also open to the public, Sciabica said.