Scranton Cultural Center Receives PA Historic and Museum Commission Grant

The Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple is pleased to announce the completion of a long-range study that will guide its future efforts in the ongoing preservation, restoration, and modernization of the historic structure.

The study was funded through the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission and the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office.  The completed report provides a comprehensive look at all of the building systems and spaces and identifies work remaining to be done.  The study ranges from mechanical systems such as ventilation and plumbing to illumination and preservation of doors and historic paintwork. 

Taking slightly over a year to complete, the report was prepared by Highland Associates, an architectural and engineering firm located in Clarks Summit, Pa.  The firm has over thirty years of experience in doing detailed analysis of structures and in designing solutions to achieve the multi-faceted goals of the SCC.

The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Designed by renowned architect Raymond Hood, the 180,000+ square foot structure has been in constant operation since opening in 1930.  The building encompasses two theaters, a grand ballroom with balcony, several masonic lodge rooms, meeting spaces, a library and a youth theater space, as well a offices and support spaces.  At one time, the facility housed an eight-lane bowling alley and a billiard room – both now converted for alternative uses.

“We were delighted to have been chosen by PHMC as a grant recipient.  This study is absolutely critical to our ability to plan the next steps in the restoration program and will serve as guidance for our future development and capital campaigns,” Deborah Moran Peterson, executive Director of the SCC said.  “As a non-profit organization, this type of support is critical in our ongoing efforts to restore and improve our building so that we can continue to serve a broad and diverse population as a center for cultural and entertainment activities.”

PHMC / PA SHPO provided $25,000 in a matching grant with the matching balance being provided by a private donor.

Previous restoration and modernization work totals over $17,000.000 dollars, starting in 1987 with the formation of the Scranton Cultural Center and the award of $8,000.000 from the state of Pennsylvania under then Governor Robert Casey.  A state funded exterior restoration project is currently being developed and is anticipated to begin in late spring of 2024.

Future projects will include restoration of the Weinberg theater interior and modernization of stage mechanical, audio and lighting systems, addition of air conditioning to the second, third and fourth floor spaces, upgrades to the facility computer, phone and security systems, modernization of restrooms and dressing rooms, modernization of the facility HVAC control systems, and energy efficiency improvements, among others. 

Greater Scranton YMCA Receives Grant Award

In June, 2023, the Greater Scranton YMCA was awarded a $15,000 Community Needs grant from the Scranton Area Community Foundation. Grant funding will support the expansion of the Y’s Early Learning Center.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the need for child care services in our community has grown substantially. Enrollment in the Greater Scranton YMCA’s early childhood education programs has grown significantly, with more than 60 children currently on a waitlist.

The Greater Scranton YMCA is limited in space and at maximum capacity. In order to open an additional 30 child care spots each year, the Greater Scranton YMCA will renovate its second floor, which is currently being used for storage and the location of H-VAC. Through renovating the space, the Greater Scranton YMCA will create three new classrooms, each licensed to serve up to 10 children. The classrooms will specifically serve children ages zero to two, as the need for infant care is great.

“Thanks to incredible community partners like the Scranton Area Community Foundation, the Greater Scranton YMCA will grow its Early Learning Center to serve more children and families from our community who are in need of care,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “Through expanding the center to open an additional 30 spots annually, we will provide parents and caregivers with a safe, nurturing environment for their children to thrive in while they are able to work. We are so grateful for this support.

United Way of Lackawanna, Wayne & Pike Distributed Grants at Campaign Kickoff

The United Way of Lackawanna, Wayne & Pike is delighted to announce the distribution of $63,000 in grants to several deserving Wayne County nonprofit organizations. These grants aim to empower and strengthen our community by providing essential support for a range of initiatives that benefit our residents and improve the quality of life in Wayne County.

With the United Way of Lackawanna, Wayne & Pike’s 2023-2024 Campaign in full swing, these grants were the result of generous contributions during last year’s fundraising efforts.

The recipients of these grants were selected through an application and review process, in which a group of Wayne County volunteers evaluated applications based on their potential impact, alignment with our community’s needs, and ability to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors.  The following nonprofit organizations, along with their program, have been chosen to receive funding:

The ARC of Northeastern PA: Advocacy Services

Child Hunger Outreach Partners (CHOP): CHOP in School Pantry and Backpack Programs

The Cooperage: Bright Kids

Diakon Child, Family and Community Ministries: RSVP of Berks, Pike and Wayne Counties Program

Girls on the Run – Lehigh Valley and Pocono: GOTR Wayne County Program Expansion

Habitat for Humanity: Multi-Family Home

Honesdale Communities That Care: Communities That Care – Scholarship Program

Hose Co. No. 1- Honesdale Fire Department: Can you lend us a Hand (Tools)

Lacawac Sanctuary: Youth Environmental Stewardship Institute

Maternal & Family Health: Nurse-Family Partnership Program

Salvation Army: Back-to-School Clothing Program

Second Harvest: Expanded Food Access

Victims Intervention Program: Victims Intervention Program

Wayne County Public Library: Wellness in Winter at the Wayne County Public Library

Wayne County Community Foundation: Wayne County Drug and Treatment Court Fund

Workforce Wayne: WP Shine

United Way of Lackawanna, Wayne & Pike is dedicated to fostering collaboration and innovation among local nonprofits, and these grants are just one way we work towards achieving that mission. We believe that by supporting these organizations, we can create a stronger, more resilient community for everyone.

A Campaign Kickoff event was held the night of Tuesday, September 19th at Wallenpaupack Brewing Company where the grants were distributed amongst Wayne County’s best.  The United Way formally began their campaign in Wayne and Pike County as they also welcomed Pike County under their wing of the 100+ year tradition of the United Way serving Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Professor at The University of Scranton Receives Grant

Gerard Dumancas, Ph.D

Gerard Dumancas, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry at The University of Scranton, received a $1.158 million National Science Foundation funded Noyce Scholars grant that will support future science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) high school teachers in high-need school districts.

The grant, which will be allocated over a five-year period beginning (this summer) (in the 2022-2023 academic year), will provide a scholarships and educational training support to 21 STEM students with a major or minor in secondary education.

“There are many areas in the United States that are in need of great high school science and mathematics teachers in Pennsylvania – really across the country. We have advanced technologies in the U.S., yet many of our students lag behind those in other countries, especially with skills related to the sciences and mathematics. As educators, we are trying to train and build the work force of the future, and their high school exposure to the sciences and math is a key element to their – and our – future,” said Dr. Dumancas, a widely published analytical chemist, who considers himself to be “a teacher first.”

Dr. Dumancas’s research on the development and application of novel spectroscopic and computational tools applied to chemical analysis of food and biomedical products has been published in multiple top-tier, peer-reviewed academic journals. Since coming to the University of Scranton, he has published four research articles and submitted four book chapters.

“It takes a great deal of support to make a good science or mathematics teacher,” said Dr. Dumancas.

The NSF grant provides a financial stipend to participants selected to become Noyce Scholars, in addition to affording them early field teaching experience and mentoring opportunities with practicing teachers in partner schools. Noyce Scholars will also participate in special courses to expose them to computational science methods, among other educational opportunities in the sciences.

“The grant is geared to provide documented support to students to make them successful as high school STEM teachers,” said Dr. Dumancas, who said the success of the scholars is monitored and is part of the research collected through the grant. Programs that prove to be successful can receive additional support in the future.

Mid Valley School District and Luzerne County Community College (LCCC) are partner schools for the grant. Students at these schools will have the opportunity to participate in special programing in the STEM fields at the University supported by the University faculty and Noyce Scholars.

University students in their senior or junior year of studies, majoring or minoring in secondary education in the STEM field and meeting other academic and program requirements can apply to become a Noyce Scholar for the fall 2022 semester. LCCC students continuing their education at Scranton who meet the program requirements can also apply to the program for their junior and senior years. Students selected to the program are required to teach in a high-need school district anywhere in the United States for two years for each year of their participation as a Noyce Scholar.

Applications for the program will become available in the coming weeks, but anyone interested could contact Dr. Dumancas by email at

Dr. Dumancas joined the faculty at Scranton in the spring of 2022. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of the Philippines and his Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Oklahoma State University. During his career, Dr. Dumancas has generated more than $2 million in external research grants and has published more than 40 manuscripts in peer-reviewed academic journals.