Telespond Senior Services Honors Senior Companion Volunteers

On Thursday, May 19, 2022, over 70 volunteers from Telespond’s Senior Companion
program were honored during a celebratory luncheon at the Radisson Lackawanna Station. Scranton mayor Paige Cognetti, Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging director Jason Kavulich, state representative Kyle Mullins and representatives from the offices of Senator Marty Flynn, Rep. Thom Welby, and Rep. Bridget Kosierowski were in attendance to express gratitude for the tireless work of the Senior Companion volunteers to help older adults remain independent in their homes as long as possible.

Each Senior Companion volunteer received a certificate and a $200 Gerrity’s gift card. Two volunteers, Henry Young and Warren Barlow, also received special recognition for their long-term service with the program. Barlow has worked with the Senior Companion program for over 20 years, and Young has volunteered with older adults since 1988 through the Senior Companion program, the Gino Merli Center and his church All in attendance enjoyed a light lunch, basket raffle, and time to catch up with their fellow volunteers.

For over 40 years, the Senior Companion program has paired volunteers ages 55 and older with older adults who benefit from companionship and assistance with daily tasks. Last year, 84 Senior
Companions provided over 350 clients with socialization, recreation, and non-medical daily living
assistance. The program aims to alleviate burdens of isolation that have become especially prevalent for older adults due to COVID-19. An AmeriCorps Senior Corps program, the Telespond Senior Companion program is completely free to the older adults it serves while providing volunteers with a small stipend for their services. To learn more about the program, visit

Treasurer Garrity Announces Launch of Redesigned PA 529 Website

Treasurer Stacy Garrity today announced the launch of the redesigned PA 529 College and Career Savings Program website, The updated website makes it easier for families to plan and save for their children’s future education.

“I’m excited to unveil our redesigned PA 529 website,” Garrity said. “We have nearly 275,000 accounts today, and I want that number to grow. PA 529 accounts are a fantastic way to save for postsecondary education, whether that means a qualified apprenticeship, a technical school, a community college, or a four-year university. Over the past year, we’ve taken big steps to make sure the program works for everyone: We cut fees, eliminated the minimum deposit, ran a promotion to award up to $40,000 into new accounts, and deposited $100 into qualifying Guaranteed Savings Plan accounts. This website upgrade is another step in that ongoing effort.”

PA 529 accounts are designed to help Pennsylvania families steadily and strategically save for future educational expenses. Treasury offers two plans; the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan, which allows you to save at today’s tuition rates to meet tomorrow’s tuition costs, and the Morningstar Silver-Rated PA 529 Investment Plan that offers a number of investment options.

Both PA 529 plans have significant state and federal tax advantages and can be used for a wide variety of qualifying technical, collegiate, apprenticeship and K-12 educational expenses at schools nationwide.

The new website better integrates the Keystone Scholars program, so new parents can more easily access their child’s Keystone Scholars account. Parents can visit the redesigned to learn more about Keystone Scholars – which jumpstarts educational savings by providing a $100 investment for every child born to a Pennsylvania family on or after January 1, 2019, using no taxpayer dollars.

Keystone Scholars helps to encourage families to continue saving with their own PA 529 account. Keystone Scholars funds are invested by Treasury and grow alongside the child. Funds can be accessed when the child turns 18 to pay for a variety of qualifying postsecondary education expenses.

To learn more, visit or call (800) 440-4000.

Young Professionals Award Nominations Now Open

Nominations due by August 7th, 2022

Nominate outstanding young professionals between the ages of 18-40 in northeastern Pennsylvania for the following categories:

  • Intern of the Year
  • Educator of the Year
  • Trailblazer of the Year
  • Small Business Owner of the Year
  • STEAM Professional of the Year
  • Hero of the Year
  • Cultural Champion of the Year
  • Voluntary Leader of the Year
  • NEPA Influencer of the Year
  • Young Professional Women’s Leadership Award 
  • Young Professional DEI Champion Award – NEW THIS YEAR

Nominate a company/organization located in Northeastern Pennsylvania that has dedicated resources to young professional development for the Young Professional Development Award.

United Way Announces Mike Munchak Scholarship Recipient

The United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties awarded the Mike Munchak Community Service Scholarship to Michael Watkins, a 2022 graduate of Scranton Preparatory High School. The scholarship award was officially presented as part of the 26th Annual Mike Munchak Charity Golf Classic to benefit the United Way held at the Country Club of Scranton.  Over $1,000,000 have been raised during the 26 years of this golf outing and remains to be the premiere golf outing in NEPA. 

“For the past 26 years it has been our honor to welcome Mike home to Scranton, and we remain grateful to him for his unwavering commitment to the people of our community,” said Gary Drapek, President and CEO of the United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties.

The United Way established the Mike Munchak Community Service Scholarship to assist high school students from Lackawanna and Wayne Counties, who plan to continue their education in an accredited university, college, or trade school in a two or four-year degree program. The amount of the scholarship is $6,300 in honor of Mike’s #63, retired by the Houston Oilers in 1994.  Completing the scholarships 11th year of existence, a total amount of $69,300 in scholarship funds have been distributed to local graduates.

To be eligible, candidates must be participants in partner agency programs funded by United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties, have a demonstrated commitment through community service activities and be full-time residents and/or students of a school district within Lackawanna or Wayne Counties.  Additional requirements include a demonstrated financial need, academic achievement, agency recommendation and a strong track record of community service.

“Education is one of our pillars here at the United Way.  This scholarship is a prime example of how important a good education along with strong community involvement is in helping ensure Lackawanna and Wayne Counties continue to Live United.  Every year we are amazed at the amount of Hall-of-Fame caliber seniors who apply for this scholarship.  The future certainly remains bright here in Lackawanna and Wayne Counties,” added Drapek.

The 2022 scholarship recipient is Michael Watkins, a Scranton Preparatory High School graduate.  His community service accomplishments include the United Way Day of Caring, Boys and Girls Club, Scranton Cultural Center Food and Clothing Drives, St. Paul’s Block Party, Kettle Basketball Camp, visits to Mountain View Nursing Center, Peer Tutoring and Orientation at Scranton Prep. 

Additionally, Michael is a member of the National Honor Society, Dean’s Team, Vice President of the Business Club, Treasurer of Kiva Microfinance Club, President of Advanced Strategical Minds as well as an array of other clubs and activities.  The Scholarship Committee noted Michael’s superior GPA as well as the leadership qualities he exhibited throughout his time at Scranton Prep.

This fall, Michael will be attending Fordham University to pursue a degree in Finance/Prelaw.

“Funding essential programs throughout Lackawanna and Wayne Counties as well as running our own community outreach programs has led us into our 2nd Century of Service in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  Continuously evolving each and every year has been the key to our success.  Like the mindset of a Hall-of-Fame Athlete, we set a goal every year and do everything in our power to achieve that goal, just like our homegrown football legend himself, Mike Munchak,” Drapek concluded.

For further comment, call the Barry Snyder, Vice President, Community Outreach, United Way at (570) 343-1267 x237.

Applications Now Open for America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Program Grants

As a subrecipient of the ARPA grant program to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency and its economic impact, Scranton Area Community Foundation is working with the City of Scranton to administer the ARPA program.

The Scranton Area Community Foundation’s role as community stewards allows us to leverage resources and work in partnership with city government to develop allocation strategies to maximize the use of ARPA funding in the region. Availability of ARPA funds for nonprofit organizations serving the residents of Scranton and surrounding communities presents an incredible opportunity for the region. Our role as a community foundation positions us to help other community leaders and decision makers balance the critical needs of assisting those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, while simultaneously encouraging the creation of sustainable, lasting solutions to improve the quality of life in our communities. 

Applications for ARPA Program funding open today, Monday, July 18, at 9:00 AM. Nonprofit organizations seeking ARPA funding will apply through SACF’s online grant management portal.

How to Apply:

At the grant portal login page, please follow the appropriate next step:

  1. If you have already created a login: you must login using the credentials you’ve utilized for previous grant applications. NOTE: username is always an email.
  2. If someone else in your organization has already created a login: please email to have a new user added to your organization.
  3. If your organization has never accessed our online grant portal, create your account using the following information: 
    • A username that is an email address
    • Your contact information
    • Your organization’s information, including the EIN/Tax ID number (required)
    • Contact Information for the organization’s executive

Once logged in:

On the applicant dashboard, select “Apply” along the top menu to view available grants.

2. Select, “City of Scranton ARP Act Beneficiary Grant Program”

Questions and Additional Resources:

  • We have provided additional resources, including a written tutorial, to help you with our new grant application process. To access the written applicant tutorial, visit the Applicant Tutorial – Grants.
  • If you have any questions about our grant application process, please contact us via email at

Marywood University Announces New Endowed and Annual Scholarships

Marywood University recently announced five new endowed scholarships, six new annual scholarships, and a new endowed special gift at the 2022 Scholarship Luncheon. The annual luncheon, a treasured tradition, provides benefactors and scholarship recipients the opportunity to meet face-to-face and to share their stories.

Christina Mace, MBA ’17, Senior Director of Development, opened the program by welcoming guests and recognizing this year’s scholarship honorees. Following lunch, Sister Mary Persico, IHM, Marywood University President, recognized the new scholarship benefactors and presented each of them with a citation.

Student scholarship recipients also played a prominent role in the program. Angelina Balestino ’22 and Daniel O’Brien ’22 offered the invocation and benediction, respectively. Robert Egan ’23 continued to recognize further scholarship honorees and Thomas Flynn ’22 paid tribute to the generosity of Marywood’s donors, expressing gratitude on behalf of all scholarship recipients.

Marywood awarded 382 named scholarships, exceeding one million dollars, for the 2021-2022 academic year. New endowed named scholarships can be established with a gift of $50,000 or more. New annual named scholarships can be established with a gift of $10,000 or more. For information on establishing a named scholarship, please contact the Office of University Advancement at 570-348-6238 or

Newly endowed scholarships include:

The Nancy Pfeiffer Loch ’69 and Harold Loch Endowed Scholarship, established by Nancy Loch and her late husband, Harold Loch, to provide aid for undergraduate students who share Nancy’s love of mathematics and physics.

The Mary Ann O’Hara ’58 and Julia O’Hara Murphy ’67 Endowed Scholarship, established by sisters Mary Ann O’Hara and Julia O’Hara to give aid to full-time undergraduate students with academic achievement and financial need.

The Marria L. O’Malley Walsh ’68 Endowed Scholarship, established by Marria L. O’Malley Walsh to support undergraduate students majoring in biological sciences with financial need.

The Josephine R. and Charles F. Wilson, Sr. Endowed Scholarship, established by Salli Wilson Tuozzolo ’67 in memory of her parents to provide aid to undergraduates majoring in education or business, with preference to those from her home region of central New York.

The John E. & Catherine A. Winters Scholarship Fund, established by Catherine Matturro Winters ’70 in memory of her late husband, John E. Winters, to honor his legacy of helping others by providing financial support to a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate majors.

A new endowed special gift also was established:

The Class of 1968 Amphitheatre Programmatic Endowment, established by the Marywood Class of 1968 to provide funding for programs and events held at the Michael and Gwen Calabro Delfino ’47 Amphitheatre.

Newly established annual scholarships include:

The Access and Achievement Scholarship, established during Giving Day 2021 under the leadership of Yerodin Lucas Ph.D. ’19 and Michael Bugno ’98, to give aid to achieving undergraduates and graduates with a preference for those who work closely with underrepresented racial minority groups.

The Andrew and Agnes Brenish Family Scholarship, established by Donna Brenish Whittaker ’71 to support undergraduates majoring in Respiratory Therapy as a means to express her gratitude to those who helped her late father, Andrew Brenish, through respiratory problems later in his life.

The Carol Conaboy Memorial Annual Scholarship, initiated by Kim Roberts in memory of her late aunt and respected Scranton School District English teacher, Carol Conaboy ’68, to provide support to undergraduates with preference to those majoring in English, Education, or the Arts from Lackawanna County.

The Brienna-Rae Cruz, M.A ’19 Memorial Annual Scholarship, established by Madeline Levy Cruz, M.S. ’11 in memory of her late daughter, Brienna-Rae Cruz, to assist 2nd year students in the Psy.D. Clinical Psychology program with preference given to those who work with historically marginalized populations.

The Mrs. Angela Marie Hyo Jae Ryoo-Kim Annual Scholarship, established by Hartmut and Antonia Gerod Schierling ’60 in memory of the late Mrs. Ryoo-Kim, to provide support to graduate students in the Master of Social Work program attending the Scranton Campus.

The Bernard and Anne Simoncic Memorial Annual Scholarship, established by Bernice Simoncic Lukus ’71, in memory of her parents to provide aid to undergraduates studying education with preference to those studying special education.

Martin’s Point Webinar, Meet and Greet

Martin’s Point US Family Health Plan is hosting an informational webinar on July 26 at 7:30 a.m. and July 28 at 12:00 p.m.

An in-person meet and greet is also being held on July 27 at 8:30 a.m. and July 28 at 8:30 a.m.

Dress for Success Lackawanna Golf Tournament

On Monday, September 12, 2022, Dress for Success Lackawanna invites you to our Annual Golf Tournament to be held at the Pocono Farms Country Club in Tobyhanna. Gather your friends and join us for a great day of golf, games, prize giveaways, raffles and more!

Register Here

Geisinger Works With Excelerate to Lower Cost of Care

Geisinger has joined forces with Excelerate to deliver significant and sustainable savings through a physician-engagement sourcing model for physician preference items, pharmacy and clinically sensitive commodities.

Excelerate works to decrease costs and ensure the most effective use of products. The program sources and contracts for surgical supplies with a heavy emphasis on clinical utilization guidelines for devices and surgical implants, including hip and knee replacement implants, spinal surgery devices and pacemakers. More than 100 active members of Excelerate’s program save 15% to 20% on average.

“Working with Excelerate will allow us to deliver high-quality care to our patients at a lower cost by  taking advantage of their quality-first model for patient-centered decisions regarding the devices and supplies used by our physicians,” said Michael Suk, M.D., J.D., Chief Physician Officer, Geisinger System Services and chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. “Our physicians and staff are key drivers of this program, and their support will allow us to make better health easier for our patients through clinical-supply integration.”

Excelerate will help Geisinger aggregate supply chain spending and reduce the costs to the system and patients by reducing variation of products and creating physician and clinician alignment in products used across the system for procedures.

“We are honored to have Geisinger as a member and are excited to help advance their efforts on sustainable clinical alignment with their physicians while further improving operational efficiency,” said Sean Lyden, MD, chief medical officer for Excelerate.  “We believe the Excelerate model will enhance Geisinger’s ability to realize value by lowering costs while delivering the high-quality care that leads to improved patient outcomes.” Excelerate’s optimal blend of services includes: a high-performance portfolio, a physician-engagement model and clinical variation management guidelines. These elements will be recalibrated as Geisinger progresses through the process.