Jerry Sandusky Scandal

Local groups reap Penn State bowl revenue to fund child abuse awareness programs

Two local causes that work to protect children from abuse will again get a boost this year from Penn State’s football bowl revenues, the university said in a statement.

The Children’s Advocacy Center, a victims services agency that opened this year, and the Stewards of Children, an education and prevention program, will share $229,367 from the university, on top of the $188,000 they split last year.

Penn State had to forfeit $2.75 million in bowl revenue-sharing it would have received for the past season as part of the NCAA and Big Ten sanctions stemming from the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal.

Instead, the money was split among the 12 universities in the conference. Penn State decided to donate its share, as it did last year, and worked with the Centre County United Way to channel the funds.

Through the United Way, Penn State has given the two child advocacy groups $417,367 to split over the past two years. Last year, the bowl revenue pot was lower, $2.26 million, and the university’s share came to $188,000.

Local officials have praised the donations, with Tammy Gentzel, the local United Way director, previously calling them “transformational.”

“The Stewards of Children program is an important resource in the fight against child sexual abuse,” Gentzel said in a statement. “Under the leadership of the YMCA of Centre County, Centre County Women’s Resource Center and Centre County Youth Service Bureau, thousands of adults have been provided with the information they need to keep our children safe. This significant funding will ensure that Stewards of Children training continues in Centre County.”

The Children’s Advocacy Center of Centre County opened this year in Bellefonte. The facility was created to make the reporting experience as easy as possible for young victims, in a welcoming and protected environment where they only have to tell their story once.

“As a growing organization, this generous donation will aid our mission of providing a compassionate approach to the prevention, identification, intervention and treatment of child abuse or neglect, and help us offer more services to victims and their families,” Executive Director Kristina Taylor-Porter said in a statement. “Meeting the needs of children and their families is our primary concern. Penn State’s contribution will go far in our region’s fight against child abuse.”