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First Federal Charitable Victims Resource CenterVictims Resource Center received a First Federal Charitable Foundation grant that it plans to use to renovate the building the organization uses to provide victims/survivors with crisis intervention, ongoing one-on-one counseling and crime victim support groups, as well as office space for its 25 full-time staff members.

Victims Resource Center (VRC) annually helps more than 1,000 Luzerne County residents alone. It has outgrown its current space on Franklin Street in Wilkes-Barre and, while it has found a new building to move into, the organization needs funding renovate and convert the new location to meet its specifications.

VRC Executive Director Janet MacKay said, “The victims/survivors that we serve have been traumatized by a crime victimization and need immediate assistance and ongoing support to heal from the victimization. The physical space that support is provided in can contribute negatively or positively to the healing process. However, the current space we use to provide our services does not meet the criteria for a calming, safe environment in which to allow victims/survivors to do the trauma work. At this point in our history as an agency, we need to create space that optimizes the environment for healing. The space for services is the most important reason we have decided that we need to relocate.”

First Federal Charitable American Red CrossThe American Red Cross Northeastern PA and Tri-County chapters will split the funds from a First Federal Charitable Foundation grant the organization received to provide its Home Fire Campaign service in Luzerne and Schuylkill counties.

The Home Fire Campaign is a multi-year, three-prong resilience strategy for the American Red Cross. The end goal of the campaign is to save lives lost due to a preventable cause – home fires. Through the nationwide program, the American Red Cross will visit more than one million homes to install and test smoke alarms, complete home-safety checklists, help families develop an escape plan and ultimately reduce the number of fire deaths and injuries in the U.S. by 25 percent.

By mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors, the Red Cross and its coalition partners can use an unprecedented, nationwide effort combining grassroots neighbor-to-neighbor outreach and comprehensive marketing and public relations outreach to decrease injuries and save lives.

First Federal Charitable Catherine McAuley CenterThe Catherine McAuley Center in Scranton received a grant from the First Federal Charitable Foundation that the organization will use to replace the roof on its Catherine McAuley House in Pittston, which provides temporary shelter for women and children in crisis.

The Catherine McAuley House is part of the center’s Emergency Shelter Program, which addresses the need to provide a safe, comfortable and fully-equipped environment to house a growing population of homeless women and children in Luzerne County. The current roof is needed to stop water damage from leaks that is threatening to make the residence rooms inhabitable. The grant will be used toward the purchase and installation costs of this capital improvement project.

Servants to All receives First Fderal grantServants to All, which provides supportive services to homeless individuals in Schuylkill County and surrounding Northeast Pennsylvania counties, received a grant from the First Federal Charitable Foundation that it will use to provide case management and supportive services to the homeless.

The organization plans to use the grant money to hire a part-time case manager to handle supportive services work, which includes case management, emergency housing, transportation, and assistance with applications for housing, benefits and employment, and material goods.

Servants to All Executive Director Jeanette Triano Sinn said there is a great need for shelters and services that help the homeless, particularly in Schuylkill County.

Avenues receives First Federal Charitable Foundation grantAvenues, which provides services to individuals with disabilities and their families, received a grant from the First Federal Charitable Foundation that it will use to renovate the gymnasium and attached patio at its facility on Park Street in Pottsville.

Avenues, formerly known as United Cerebral Palsy of Schuylkill, Carbon and Northumberland Counties, plans to use the grant money to put a new roof on its gymnasium and the connecting patio area. Future renovation plans call for refurbishing the interior of the gymnasium. Once completed, the gym will serve as a multipurpose room that will benefit Avenues with space to provide summer programs to individuals with disabilities, a training space for its employees and program participants, a distribution site for the organization’s food pantry and a meeting room that will be available to local community groups.

Allied Services receives First Federal grantAllied Services Foundation received a First Federal Charitable Foundation grant to help fund the partial cost of a van it will use to provide services to residents of its Behavioral Health Community Residential Rehabilitation (CRR) facility in Pottsville.

Although Schuylkill County’s mental health grants pay for CRR staffing and operations, the funds are not sufficient to supply all the resources that participants need. A reliable, road-worth vehicle would ensure that CRR staff could get participants where they need to go, including medical and psychiatric appointments, addiction/recovery services, employment/training locations, and job interviews. Allied Services also expects to use the van to move personal belongings for participants who are transitioning from the CRR to independent or supported living.

First Federal Charitable grantsSix Northeast Pennsylvania nonprofit organizations, including four in Greater Hazleton, recently received grants from the First Federal Charitable Foundation.

Hazleton Mayor Jeff Cusat’s Revitalization Fund, the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, the Hazleton Area Recreation Program, Eckley Miners’ Village Associates, Rural Health Corporation of Northeast Pennsylvania and Mauch Chunk Historical Society all received grants they plan to use to fund vital organization projects.

First Federal Charitable YWCA 2017 1The Hazleton YWCA received a $50,000 grant from the First Federal Charitable Foundation that it will use to make several renovations to its pool facility. 

The YWCA has not completed any major renovations to the pool and pool area since the facility was dedicated in 1964. Although the pool itself does not need to be replaced, the money will be used to fund repairs that include: cleaning and painting the pool area walls; installing an automated chlorinator; replacing multiple doors and frames; adding new starting blocks, storage benches and ladders; completing grouting work in the pool; painting a mural on the wall and other miscellaneous items.

Celeste Samec, CEO of the Hazleton YWCA, said, “We are grateful to the First Federal Charitable Foundation for providing this grant for our restoration project. We are hopeful that these much-needed renovations will provide the YWCA with the opportunity to continue to serve the community as it has been for so many generations.”

First Federal Charitable HIP 2017 1The Hazleton Integration Project (HIP) received a $5,000 grant from the First Federal Charitable Foundation that it will use to supplement the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum inside its Hazleton One Community Center at 225 East Fourth Street in Hazleton.

The grant money will be used to purchase STEM modules for students in kindergarten through eighth grades that HIP will utilize in its After School Scholars program. Bob Curry, founding president of the Hazleton Integration Project, said the modules are grade specific and built for collaboration among the students. They are all project-based and reusable so they can remain a part of HIP’s curriculum for many years. The STEM modules HIP plans to purchase consist of robotics items, construction packs, a littleBits Code Kit and a micro three-dimensional printer.

Curry said, “We generally don’t have the leeway to purchase items like these unless we budget far in advance for them. When we get something that’s unanticipated, like this grant, we find something to purchase that will be the most direct benefit for the scholar program students. Everything you can upgrade in the classrooms makes you create more excitement, curiosity and wonder among the students. That carries over from that moment into their regular school work and maintains the idea we have to explain to students how we are all lifelong learners.”

First Federal Historical Society donationThe Greater Hazleton Historical Society received a $10,000 grant from the First Federal Charitable Foundation that it will use to refurbish the two main doors at its museum located at 55 North Wyoming Street in Hazleton.

The Historical Society plans to use the grant money to pursue rehabilitative work to improve components of the museum’s façade, including refurbishing the main entrance and exit doors at the museum and installing tinted glass windows to preserve the museum’s artifacts.

Charles McElwee III, a board member of the Greater Hazleton Historical Society, said, “The Greater Hazleton Historical Society and Museum has maintained a strong community presence for nearly 35 years and has faithfully preserved and displayed our local history for the public to share in their cultural and industrial heritage. Through a variety of strategic initiatives, consistent programming, and preservation and revitalization efforts in the Greater Hazleton area, we have successfully maintained financial stability, increased revenue through fundraising, improved public outreach, and fostered invaluable community partnerships. The Historical Society’s vision is currently influenced by our deep commitment to the Greater Hazleton community and understanding of how we can become an important cultural pillar in our region. Through structural improvements to the Museum and a historic district project, we can carry out our historical role while also increasing our efforts to revitalize Hazleton.”

First Federal DHAP donationThe Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress (DHAP) received a $10,000 grant from the First Federal Charitable Foundation that it will use toward the creation of its second mural in downtown Hazleton.

DHAP is planning the new mural to further beautify the downtown, inspire future investment and revitalization, and show community pride. The finished mural will measure approximately 50 feet long by 40 feet high (2,000 SF) and will be adhered to the west side of the former Security Savings Bank building, now under renovation to become a new City Arts Center. The theme will reflect various aspects of the City’s culture and community values.

This mural will be undertaken by Power City Arts, which is a partnership of the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, the Hazleton Integration Project, Luzerne County Community College (LCCC), and the DeAngelo family, who has also donated funds to the project. Power City Arts, which is being led by teaching artist Mary Veronica Sweeney, is a new jobs-training and community-building effort for future young creative professionals in the Greater Hazleton area, which is modeled after the Philadelphia Mural Arts program established in 1984. 

Luzerne County Community College recently hired Sweeney as an adjunct faculty member to work with student artists, including several from the Hazleton Area Arts and Humanities Academy. A special element of the program is the pre-college credit under LCCC's Communication Arts major degree program for which the tuition has been partially underwritten by the First Federal Charitable Grant. Under Sweeney’s direction, the students have been designing the mural that will be affixed to the building on several panels. The design will also be influenced by input from project partners and the general public.

First Federal CTC donationCTC Manufacturing received a $13,100 grant from the First Federal Charitable Foundation that it will use to purchase new equipment at its business centers in Beaver Meadows and the Valmont Industrial Park in West Hazleton.

CTC Manufacturing plans to use the grant money to purchase a reconditioned vertical baler and ink-jet coding machine. The baler will allow the organization to package and sell cardboard and shrink wrap, which will reduce trash and recycling costs and create additional revenue through the resale of the recycled materials. The coding machine will attach directly to CTC Manufacturing’s assembly line case sealer and allow the organization to complete repackaging work for current client Henkel Consumer Goods, the makers of Dial soap, as well as bid on a wide variety of additional repackaging jobs from other companies.

Devon Nicoletti, executive director of CTC Manufacturing, said, “For a non-profit organization, any amount of money is a big help to your operations. It was a relief to see First Federal Charitable Foundation step in to help us with this grant. It will allow us to grow our capacity and continue our mission to become more environmentally friendly.”

Steve Peterson, who submitted the grant application before retiring as CTC Manufacturing’s president and CEO earlier this year, said the purchase of the new equipment will help CTC Manufacturing continue to provide jobs for many area residents and help the organization advance toward its goal of being a self-funded operation.

First Federal CSSCatholic Social Services received a $50,000 grant from the First Federal Charitable Foundation that it will use to create a permanent emergency homeless shelter and residential center in downtown Hazleton.

Catholic Social Services operates two buildings in Hazleton– its main office building at 214 West Walnut Street, the site of the former Our Lady of Mount Carmel School and rectory, and the adjacent Catholic Social Services Family Center, which was formerly Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. Additionally, St. Joseph Pantry is an anchor program for the center. It is a client choice pantry that served 1,000 families in 2016. Educational programs, community-based events, a medical clinic, a community players group, and National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) and other family-strengthening initiatives are provided in the main level of the building. The main level is also utilized for community- and neighborhood-based meal programs.

Phase one of the project calls for a design reconfiguration of the space at 214 West Walnut Street to accommodate emergency shelter and youth transitional housing and to create a dedicated space for existing programs on an interim and potentially permanent basis. Phase two will involve restructuring the St. Joseph Pantry in its current location by maximizing space to more effectively serve consumers. Plans include creating an accessible entrance directly into the pantry, assessing the kitchen area on the main level that is utilized to serve meals, updating and making necessary changes to accommodate a community meal program, and developing bridge housing services either within the current complex or elsewhere in the community.

First Federal Charitable Foundation

8 West Broad Street, Suite 208
Hazleton, PA 18201
P: 570.501.2784