The Robert H. Spitz Foundation Awards Grant to the Greater Scranton YMCA

In September 2023, the Greater Scranton YMCA was awarded a 20 ,000 grant from the Robert H. Spitz 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 the YMCA’s waitlist for services capped at 150 children.

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 was previously 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 1 0 children. The classrooms will specifically serve children ages zero to two, as the need for infant care is great.

“We are so grateful to the Robert H. Spitz Foundation for their generosity,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “The need for child care services in our community is great and this project will allow us to serve more children and families in need. Parents will be able to return to work knowing their child(ren) are in a safe and nurturing environment while in our care.”

Construction is estimated to be complete and students enrolled in the new classrooms in quarter three, 2024. For more information about the Greater Scranton YMCA’s Early Childhood Education Programs, contact Tressa Parker, Education Director, at or visit the Y online at

The Wright Center Healthy MOMs Program Receives Grant from the Robert H. Spitz Foundation

The Wright Center for Community Health was recently awarded an $8,000 grant from the Robert H. Spitz Foundation in support of the collaborative Healthy Maternal Opiate Medical Support (Healthy MOMS) program that focuses on helping pregnant women and new mothers overcome addiction and rebuild their lives in recovery.

The grant will support working mothers enrolled in the Helping MOMS Out of Poverty (HOP) program with initial costs related to housing – including security deposits, rent, and utility bills. Having stable housing is an important step for program participants in maintaining their sobriety, caring for their children, and building a better life.

The lack of affordable housing remains an issue, with more than one-third of the mothers in the program needing financial assistance with housing and utilities, according to Maria Kolcharno, MSW, LSW, director of addiction services at The Wright Center for Community Health.

“The Helping Moms Out of Poverty project addresses these vital needs,” Kolcharno said. “Many moms live in transitional housing and are exposed to drug use, violence, and unsafe conditions. Stable housing plays a vital role in recovery from substance use disorders. The inability to pay rent and utilities can trigger substance misuse and relapse. While the mom can manage the rent, initial costs are hardships. Funding will help with one-time upfront rental costs and assistance with emergency utility bills for gas, electric, and water to alleviate shut-offs.”

The Healthy MOMS program assists women in recovery from substance use disorder and aims to lower the incidence of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. Since October 2018, the program has helped more than 445 moms across nine counties in Northeast Pennsylvania. Currently, there are 144 active moms and 233 babies have been born into this program.

The Robert H. Spitz Foundation awards grants to registered nonprofit organizations that support initiatives and programs serving Lackawanna County and Northeast Pennsylvania. Among the foundation’s five priority areas are programs that break the cycle of poverty, veterans’ affairs and veteran-oriented programs, animal welfare, Jewish culture and cemeteries, and environmental projects. To date, the Robert H. Spitz Foundation has provided over $3.7 million in funding to the community.

For more information about the Healthy MOMS program, call 570-955-7821 or visit

Skills in Scranton Receives Grant from the Robert H. Spitz Foundation

Skills in Scranton Business Education Partnership, the workforce development affiliate of The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, is proud to announce that it has been awarded a $15,000 grant from the Robert H. Spitz Foundation, administered by the Scranton Area Community Foundation. This grant will support facilitation of career awareness programs, facilitate collaboration between educational partners and the business community to empower students and job seekers to deepen their knowledge of diverse career pathways.

Business leaders across northeastern Pennsylvania have recognized that workforce development is critical to our economic future, and the long-term success of our youth. Skills in Scranton has established the framework for an industry-led, sector-based approach for addressing skills shortages, developing talent pipelines, and creating meaningful career pathways for a range of workers in these leading industry sectors

“This funding is instrumental in advancing our mission of fostering career awareness and developing a talent pipeline in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” said Emily Pettinato, workforce development specialist, The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce. “This grant will allow us to strengthen our efforts in connecting with students and job seekers to ensure they have the tools and knowledge to make informed career decisions.”

“Workforce development and career readiness are among the region’s most pressing needs, affecting regional employers and job seekers alike,” said Laura Ducceschi, President & CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation. “With its robust connection between education, training, and employment, the Business Education Partnership’s community-based approach is an important component in ensuring every individual has access to family-sustaining jobs, creating a thriving community. The Robert H. Spitz Foundation and the Scranton Area Community Foundation are proud to support this very important endeavor.”