Scranton Area Community Foundation to Host 5th Annual NEPA Gives

The Scranton Area Community Foundation, in partnership with The Luzerne Foundation, Wayne County Community Foundation, Monroe County Community Foundation, Carbon County Community Foundation, Greater Pike Community Foundation, Posture Interactive, and other community sponsors, will host the fifth annual NEPA Gives event from Thursday, June 6, until Friday, June 7, 2024.Promoted as the largest philanthropy event in Northeastern Pennsylvania, NEPA Gives is a 24-hour online giving extravaganza that’s all about giving back to the community.

NEPA Gives aims to raise awareness about the critical work nonprofit organizations carry out across the region and help charitable organizations raise much-needed funds. Over 250 nonprofit organizations from eight counties in Northeastern Pennsylvania will participate in NEPA Gives. Donations to participating nonprofit organizations are accepted at from 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, June 7.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in matching funds, incentives, and prizes have been secured, provided by various community partners, businesses, and sponsors that make donations to participating nonprofits during NEPA Gives stretch even further. “Because of support from our generous sponsors, it only costs a nonprofit organization a little bit over $2.00 to raise $100,” stated Laura Ducceschi, President and CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation. “Unsurprisingly, over 250 local nonprofits participate in NEPA Gives every year.”

Adding to the excitement, there will be in-person events to celebrate NEPA Gives across the region. A NEPA Gives kickoff event, hosted by the Scranton Area Community Foundation and the Luzerne Foundation in partnership with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and many participating local nonprofit organizations, will be held on Thursday, June 6, from 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. during the RailRiders baseball game at PNC Field. Be part of the action for a night of baseball, NEPA Gives excitement and family fun as the RailRiders take on the Norfolk Tides! The game begins at 6:35 PM. A limited number of specially priced tickets are available for purchase through the Scranton Area Community Foundation to join in the NEPA Gives celebration and an exclusive party at the Kost Tire & Auto Pavilion at PNC Field. Tickets cost $40.00 per ticket, including an all-you-can-eat buffet and special seating along the third base line. To purchase tickets for this event, visit

On Friday, June 7, from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., the Scranton Area Community Foundation will be hosting a NEPA Gives Block Party and closing celebration on the 100 Block of Wyoming Avenue in downtown Scranton. This free-admission event features live entertainment, food trucks, games, and fun for all ages. Engage with some of the participating nonprofit organizations, learn about their important work, and how you can help support them during NEPA Gives. Food is available for purchase from vendors, including Butcher Bob’s BBQ, The Hilton Scranton, Jitty Joe’s Ice Cream and Candy Trucks, and more.

Additionally, there will be NEPA Gives kickoff events in Hawley and Stroudsburg. The Wayne County Community Foundation and The Greater Pike Community Foundation, in partnership with Settlers Hospitality, will be hosting a NEPA Gives opening celebration at Grants Woods @ Settlers Inn in Hawley (4 Main Avenue, Hawley) on Thursday, June 6, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. This event is open to the public and includes live music, refreshments, kid-friendly activities, and opportunities to interact with representatives from local nonprofits participating in NEPA Gives. The Monroe County Community Foundation is hosting a NEPA Gives kickoff event at The Willowtree Inn and Restaurant in Stroudsburg (601 Ann Street, Stroudsburg) on Thursday, June 6, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. In addition to opportunities to interact with local nonprofit organizations participating in NEPA Gives, this event will include light refreshments, signature food, a cash bar and drink specials, and giveaways. More information about these events can be found at

NEPA Gives is hosted by the Scranton Area Community Foundation in partnership with The Luzerne Foundation, Wayne County Community Foundation, Monroe County Community Foundation, Carbon County Community Foundation, Greater Pike Community Foundation, Posture Interactive, and other community sponsors. Support for NEPA Gives is provided by the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, Schwartz Mack Foundation, the Robert H. Spitz Foundation, Minooka Subaru, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation, the Robert and Rose Cavanaugh Fund to Feed the Hungry Poor, Houghton Chemical Corporation, the Honesdale National Bank, Neighborly, Wayne Bank, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, Center City Print, PDQ, Cardinal LG, Benco Dental, NET Credit Union, and more. Media partners include Cumulus Media, Audacy, WNEP-TV, WBRE/WYOU TV, FOX56, WVIA, Lamar Advertising, Times-Shamrock Communications, and Pocono Television Network.

“NEPA Gives is all about supporting the charities that are doing important work right here in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” Ducceschi said. “We have teamed up with various community partners and businesses eager to provide support for NEPA Gives, and we are thrilled to announce that we have secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in incentives, bonuses, and matching funds available to participating nonprofits, which helps make charitable donations go further during NEPA Gives. This year, we are looking forward to gathering in person in downtown Scranton and during the RailRiders baseball game at PNC Field to celebrate the momentum of NEPA Gives and highlight the generosity of our region and the good work of the many nonprofits taking part in NEPA Gives.”

Community members wishing to contribute during NEPA Gives can visit anytime between 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, and 7:00 p.m. on Friday, June 7, 2024, to make a secure donation to any of the 250+ participating nonprofit organizations. Participating nonprofit organizations include the Women’s Resource Center, Indraloka Animal Sanctuary, Saint Joseph’s Center, NeighborWorks Northeastern PA, CHOP Out Hunger, Boys and Girls Clubs of NEPA, Lacawac Sanctuary Environmental Education Center, and hundreds more.

This is the fifth year for NEPA Gives, which has raised over $4 million for hundreds of local nonprofit organizations in Northeastern Pennsylvania in the past four years.

These events also coincide with the Scranton Area Community Foundation’s 70th anniversary of creating charitable connections in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

NeighborWorks Northeastern PA Receives Multiple Awards

NeighborWorks Northeastern PA was recently recognized with two awards at the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency‘s housing counseling awards ceremony in Harrisburg yesterday.

NeighborWorks snagged the Community Partnership Award, and to top it off, Pamela Anslinger, HomeOwnership Center Manager at NeighborWorks, was named Best Housing Counseling Specialist.

Pam’s award is all about acknowledging housing counselors who go above and beyond to provide top-notch services to their clients. Pam earned her place thanks to her extensive experience in housing counseling, her National Housing Counseling Certifications, her knack for consistently helping folks achieve goals like purchasing a home or refinancing their mortgages, and for consistently receiving positive reviews from her clients.

The Community Partnership Award goes to agencies that have made a big impact by collaborating with local community organizations. The criteria for this award focuses on the quality of those partnerships and how they enhance our ability to provide top-notch counseling. The impact these partnerships have on the number of clients we can assist is key, and we’ve seen some incredible success stories come out of these collaborations.

Northeast PA Area Health Education Center to Host Career Exploration Event

The 2nd Annual Healthcare Career & College Exploration Event, organized by Northeast PA Area Health Education Center, is pleased to announce that registration is now open for exhibitors and sponsors. The event will take place on Thursday, October 12th, from 10-2 pm at the Viewmont Mall in Dickson City.

Following the overwhelming success of last year’s event, which drew participation from over 200 high school students representing more than 6 counties, this year’s edition is set to exceed expectations. Based on the valuable feedback received from participants, the event organizers have implemented several modifications, including an adjusted schedule that will conclude the event at 2 pm, providing a focused and impactful experience for all attendees.

In collaboration with the Northern Tier Industry & Education Consortium (NTIEC) and the Wayne/Pike Workforce Alliance, Northeast PA Area Health Education Center is proud to host this event, uniting esteemed industry professionals, colleges, universities, and organizations committed to healthcare education and career development. Through this partnership, the event aims to provide an unparalleled platform for students to explore diverse healthcare pathways.

Broadway in Scranton Announces New Season

Broadway in Scranton (NAC Entertainment and Broadway Theatre League of NEPA) is proud to announce the 2023-24 Broadway in Scranton Season. This upcoming season is the biggest yet, with six shows on the lineup. See new productions of beloved classics, Tony Award winners, shows for the entire family, and three shows making their Scranton stage debut!

“We want to thank our subscribers and patrons for their support season after season. We’re excited to continue bringing the power and magic of live theatre to NEPA!” said Thomas Combs of NAC Entertainment.

The new season was heavily influenced by the votes of the local community. In a survey sent by Broadway in Scranton earlier this year, audiences answered a series of questions about potential show selections.

“Our audience response was instrumental in choosing this season’s productions. Not only will they be seeing their top-voted choices, but they also had a hand in choosing when to see these shows.” said Combs. The upcoming season will feature a change in performance times, with Friday and Saturday evening performances now at 7:30 PM.

Executive Director Frank T. Blasi stated “We believe that the increase in the number of shows and the new starting times will result in a record number of people in the seats this year.  The demand for Broadway is strong in our area, and we look forward to continuing our vital role and contribution to the quality of life in NEPA.”

New season tickets go on sale Thursday, July 20 at 10 AM

2023-24 Broadway in Scranton season features:

  1. Jesus Christ Superstar – October 27-29, 2023
  2. Hairspray – January 12-14, 2024
  3. Annie – February 16-18, 2024
  4. The Cher Show – March 1-3, 2024
  5. Come From Away – April 5-7, 2024
  6. Pretty Woman – May 17-19, 2024

Prices for this 6-Show season ticket package are $240, $330, $390, and $450. Season Tickets can be purchased online at, in person at the Broadway Theatre League (BTL) office (345 North Washington Ave, Scranton, PA), or by calling the BTL office at (570) 342-7784. BTL Office Hours are Monday – Friday 10 AM – 4 PM.   

Keller Williams Real Estate to Host Food Drive

Calling all members of the NEPA Community! Keller Williams Real Estate is hosting a food drive for a few local food banks in our area that desperately need contributions. Every year they close their offices to help support these organizations & feed more families, but they need your help to make it happen! They will pick up donations from your door on or before the event! Please reach out to Keller Williams Real Estate at 570-357-3843 if you are able to donate.

NET Credit Union Announces 2023 Charity Recipient

Camp Freedom is NET Credit Union’s 2023 charity recipient. Laura and Bill Bachenberg founded Camp Freedom in January 2018 due to a passion to serve others and provide healing outdoor adventures for disabled Veterans, First Responders, and Gold Star families. The Executive Director, Matthew Guedes, shares the same passion for Veterans, First Responders, and Gold Star families and has an extensive background in the outdoors.

The mission of Camp Freedom is simple – to heal heroes through outdoor adventures. Camp Freedom is an adventure camp for disabled Veterans and First Responders, their family members, and Gold Star families providing quality hunting, shooting sports, fishing, hiking, biking, and other year-round outdoor activities. These activities remove individuals from clinical settings into the healing environment of the outdoors and nature. Camp Freedom also promotes the social well-being of the participants through peer-to-peer interaction, camaraderie, and outdoor adventures. Camp Freedom’s staff and experienced volunteers lead all activities. Camp Freedom provides services to other nonprofits who have a similar mission for a collective impact.

During the first year, Camp Freedom was able to serve forty-nine guests. In the five years since Camp Freedom opened its doors, they have served over 6,300 of America’s Heroes from over forty states and have saved lives of many of those men and women.

Camp Freedom is continually expanding services to reach a greater number of the Veteran and First Responder community. These expansions include building an event and education center where Veterans will be able to use their Post-911 GI Bill funding to take classes that will make them more employable. They are also adding a long-distance shooting range, a 3D archery course, and clay shooting stations that are accessible despite any physical limitations.

This year, all funds raised by NET Credit Union’s fundraising efforts will benefit Camp Freedom. NET Credit Union will be hosting our 10th Annual NEToberfest Golf Tournament on Friday, October 6th at Blue Ridge Trail Golf Course. Learn more about our fundraising efforts and event details here.

Since 2015, NET Credit Union has and will continue to fundraise for local charities. In 2022 alone, NET Credit Union donated over $50K to our local community. “People helping people” is not only our motto, but also our community’s motto. Together, partnered with Camp Freedom, we are determined and committed to helping them achieve their goals.

Settler’s Hospitality to Host 7th Annual Wally Wine Fest

Settler’s Hospitality invites you to Sip back and relax! Visitors to The Waterfront at Silver Birches, April 14-16, will enjoy three days devoted to all things wine. Wally Wine Fest features a variety of domestic and international brands from wine regions across the globe. A Slab and Cab Wine Dinner on Friday, April 14 at The Settlers Inn kicks off the event. On Saturday and Sunday festival goers can drink in all the festivities from wine tastings and food pairings to a marketplace all offered lakeside at Silver Birches.

There are two seated wine tastings scheduled on Saturday and Sunday. During the two-hour sessions, attendees will be seated at communal tables to enjoy four small plate tasting courses accompanied by three wine samples per tasting. Ticket holders will select their top three sampling choices from eight different wines for each course. Settlers Hospitality Sommelier, Claude Briere personally chooses the featured wines, which include domestic and international labels. Tastings are scheduled from noon to 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

Bottles of every wine featured are available for sale. Prices range from $10-$100. Fine food, gift items and decor fit for wine lovers overflow at The Marketplace. Visitors may shop offerings from places such as Art on the Edge, which features home/wine décor. The Silent Auction benefits Lake Wallenpaupack’s fireworks display and features overnight stays at area accommodations plus gift cards to local restaurants and businesses. Golf and spa packages, as well as boat and paddle board rentals, are also up for grabs. Live entertainment rounds out the weekend-long festivities. Guests may bookend a Wally Wine Fest experience with the Bubbly Brunch offered at The Settlers Inn on Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 am. to 2:30 p.m. Visitors  may savor a prix fixe brunch menu, live music and a tasting flight of sparkling wine.

“Now that we’re seven years in, Wally Wine Fest is firmly established as spring’s hallmark event in the Lake Region. We relish the opportunity to showcase world-class wines to novice and connoisseurs alike,” explains Justin Genzlinger, CEO/Owner, Settlers Hospitality. “It’s a real privilege to witness the outpouring of enthusiasm for the festival, and welcome thousands of visitors to the Pocono Mountains. The fact that it helps support a beloved tradition at Lake Wallenpaupack like the Independence Day fireworks, make it all the sweeter.”

Everyone who attends the festival at Silver Birches receives a commemorative wine glass. General admission is $60 in advance and $75 at the door. Designated drivers may attend for $30. A $200 platinum ticket includes the Slab and Cab Wine Dinner at The Settlers Inn on April 14. For $125, guests may attend the Slab and Cab Wine Dinner only. Visit to purchase tickets. Visitors may opt to stay over and take advantage of a $199 Sunday Night Lodging Special offered at the Hawley properties of Settlers Hospitality.

Special thanks to Champagne Level event sponsors Silver Birches Resort, Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau and E. & J. Gallo Winery as well as Cabernet Level sponsors, AM Skier Insurance and Chant Realtors. Organizers also acknowledge the participation of Sauvignon Blanc Level sponsor, Comprehensive Physical Therapy and Rose Level sponsors Dime Bank, Lighthouse Harbor Marina and Wayne Bank. Settlers Hospitality would also like to thank Media and In Kind Sponsors Moka Origins, Lake Region IGA , Bold Gold Media Group and Adams Outdoor.

The University of Scranton Findings of 2022 Living Wage Report Presented

The “living wage income” required for a family of four in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties increased by 39 percent since 2019, according to findings of a 2022 Update of the NEPA Living Wage Report, which was presented to NEPA community leaders at The University of Scranton on Nov. 29.

The Living Wage Report for NEPA, first issued in 2016, defines a “living wage” as the wage rate at which a worker, employed on a full-time basis, can reach a standard of living that meets essential basic needs and allows the individual or family to live a modest but dignified life. The report outlines the living wage threshold for various family compositions in NEPA, such as a family of three, or a family of four. The report reflects principles of Catholic Social Teaching in regard to poverty, just wages and economic justice.

“While our region continues to make many gains and improvements, the study shows that too many of our neighbors experience economic hardship,” wrote Rev. Joseph Marina, S.J., president of The University of Scranton, in a message in the 2022 update. “I am especially struck by how the median income for both counties now falls short of a living wage for all households with children. Costs are rising for food and other essential needs, while wages and supports are not keeping up, and there is a serious shortage of affordable housing.”

The 2022 report compares current and previous data, details the increases in costs of living, explains some of the major challenges facing those who fall below the living wage threshold, and proposes solutions to address these challenges. The 2022 report highlights mitigating factors – in particular, racial disparities and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and related policies on economic security.

 “The most recent data points to an acute need for affordable housing that calls for new policies and approaches,” said Julie Schumacher Cohen, assistant vice president for community engagement and government affairs. “The report also provides a new focus on racial disparities, with Black and Hispanic households having lower rates of homeownership and lower median incomes than white populations.” 

Other key findings of the 2022 report show the continued gap between minimum wage and living wage; the poverty rate in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties remains high and the need for services has increased; and costs for basic needs continue to rise.

“The study found the living wage amounts have increased across the board. It’s taking more funds for families to thrive in 2022 than in the previous 2016 and 2019 reports. Rising prices of food and housing are key factors driving this trend, with rental prices having increased significantly since the start of the pandemic,” said Andrew Chew, director of research at The Institute (formerly named the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development).

The 2022 update shows the living wage income for a family of two adults (one working) and two children in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties increased from $42,910 in 2019 to $59,717 in 2022 – a significant 39 percent increase.

“The findings of this year’s Living Wage Report emphasize the importance of continued community and government action to ensure that individuals and families in NEPA are able to live a modest but dignified life,” said JoyAnna Hopper, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science and co-director of the University’s Center for Ethics and Excellence in Public Service, in her remarks.

To achieve greater economic security for families in NEPA, the report recommends a multi-pronged approach is required that involves public policy changes, economic and workforce development efforts, government programs and private charitable activities.

Recommendations presented in the report include, expanding support for housing assistance and housing affordability; promoting practices to foster equity and inclusivity; advocating for increased wages; supporting cash assistance for low-income families and expanding food and basic necessities assistance; expanding access to existing social safety net programs and supporting programs and policies that help workers to obtain and keep jobs with family-sustaining wages.

SACF Charity Event Hosted by Brandon Matthews

The second annual NEPA Invitational charity event, hosted by PGA TOUR player Brandon Matthews was held at the Country Club of Scranton on October 14 – 16, 2022 and raised $100,000. The NEPA Invitational is a pro-am golf tournament that brought together professionals, high-level amateurs, and golf aficionados alike. Proceeds from the 2022 NEPA Invitational will support Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital and the William Lawler Scholarship Fund through the Scranton Area Community Foundation.

Matthews was born and raised in Northeastern Pennsylvania. A Pittston Area graduate, he established the NEPA Invitational Fund with a desire to give back to the community he grew up in. He partnered with the Scranton Area Community Foundation to help allocate the funds raised to local organizations in need.

“The Scranton Area Community Foundation is honored that Brandon and the NEPA Invitational have partnered with us to carry out the charitable goals of this event,” stated Laura Ducceschi, President and CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation. “His desire to give back is truly making a difference right here in our communities.”

“Being able to give back to the community that shaped me is something that I have always dreamed of and for that dream to currently be in the process of being realized is truly amazing. The support from the Northeastern Pennsylvania community for my career and this event is incredibly humbling and I will never forget where I came from,” stated Matthews.

The 2nd Annual NEPA Invitational kicked off Friday, October 14, with a ‘Dinner with the Pros’ event at the Country Club of Scranton. Dinner, live entertainment, and a live auction were included. Forty-seven teams competed in a two-day event.

“We rely on community partners to help us respond to the evolving needs of families across the region, and we’re grateful to Brandon Matthews and all the leadership and supporters of the NEPA Invitational,” stated Frank Maffei, MD, Geisinger Chair of Pediatrics. “This support helps Geisinger Pediatrics and the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital to deliver family-centered pediatric care that is driven by best practice, innovation and compassion.”

To date, the NEPA Invitational Fund at the Scranton Area Community Foundation has provided $150,000 to support a variety of charities including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Children’s Advocacy Center of NEPA, Meals on Wheels of NEPA, Inc., Outreach, and United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties, in addition to Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital. Additionally, the NEPA Invitational and Matthews have worked closely with the Scranton Area Community Foundation to establish to William Lawler Scholarship, awarded to an NEPA area junior golfer who is going on to play collegiate golf.