Column | Benefits of Centre Gives are many

We are blessed to live in a community that is vibrant, thriving and rich in natural beauty.

During Centre Gives, your support will greatly benefit the organizations that work to support the arts, education, environment and human services in our community. As the executive director of Centre Foundation, let me personally invite you to visit CentreGives. org between midnight Tuesday and noon Wednesday.

During these 36 hours, this website will be the home of our online granting program, Centre Gives, which is now in its third year. Our community’s generosity raised more than half a million dollars last year for the 82 participating local nonprofit organizations. Over the past two years, the community and Centre Foundation have contributed a combined $1.2 million to the community through the Centre Gives granting program alone.

This year, the event has grown to include 96 organizations from all around Centre County, serving a variety of purposes.

These groups provide the dignified services and care befitting our elders, they educate our children with the building blocks they need to start school well-prepared, they provide emergency services for the most vulnerable in our community, they conserve and restore our natural resources, they curate cultural experiences to broaden our horizons and they care for abused and neglected animals.

These organizations are doing incredible work in our community, so let’s show our appreciation during the event by making a contribution at CentreGives.org and asking a friend to do the same. The dedicated people who work at these organizations have been working incredibly hard over the past few months to plan for this event. Our staff of four has thoroughly enjoyed working with them to complete their individual profiles, host training sessions, distribute best practices guides and give one-on-one social media tips. We hope everyone’s hard work will make a difference.

Donations through Centre Gives go further because they count toward an organization’s portion of the $100,000 in grant money and help qualify them for $25,000 in prizes. Centre Foundation does not take or receive any portion of the money raised by these organizations. We simply want our grant money to go further by combining it with the community’s support.

And this community is getting into the Centre Gives’ spirit early this year. In mid-April, we won a Give Local America Facebook contest called the “Favorite Community” prize, which secured an additional $5,000 in available grant money for this year’s event. We’ve continued to build momentum by giving away three pre-event prizes online for meme, local landmark and vehicle window message contests. To view some of these creative entries, please visit our Facebook page, or join the fun online by using #CentreGives.

I have been with the foundation for more than six years and have thoroughly enjoyed seeing this new granting program come to life. Thanks to the innovation of the foundation’s board and staff members, we continue to expand the impact of our discretionary funds in our community. We recently moved into an office that was generously donated by Donald Strickler, so please feel free to stop by 1377 Ridgemaster Drive in Ferguson Township to learn more about what the foundation does and how you can be a part of it.