Scranton Area Community Foundation Announces Flood Relief Grant Program to Lackawanna County Residents

In response to the severe storms that struck Lackawanna County in September, the Scranton Area Community Foundation is in the process of establishing a flood relief grants program aimed at supporting individuals and community organizations directly affected by these recent flood events and which are experiencing hardship as a result.  

There will be two grant programs aimed at flood relief hardship issues—the Lackawanna County Flood Relief Fund and a grants program in partnership with the City of Scranton. Specific eligibility and application process parameters for the flood relief grants programs will be provided when the process opens the week of October 23rd. 

The first program, The Lackawanna County Flood Relief Fund, has been established by the Scranton Area Community Foundation to support community organizations and small businesses in the Lackawanna County area experiencing hardship from being directly affected by flood events. 

The second grants program, developed in partnership with the City of Scranton, will support individuals residing in the City of Scranton experiencing hardship from having been affected by flood events. This flood relief grants program will provide support to eligible recipients through resources available from Scranton’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. Additional details on both grant programs, which will be forthcoming, will include eligibility information, areas covered under the grant programs, and how to apply.

The Lackawanna County Flood Relief Fund was created with seed money from the Scranton Area Community Foundation. Generous individual donors, foundations, and organizations, including The Moses Taylor Foundation, Pennsylvania American Water, the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, and PS Bank, have provided additional support to the Fund. These donations will directly support grants made from the Lackawanna County Flood Relief Fund as funds are available. The Lackawanna County Flood Relief Fund will continue soliciting additional charitable donations from other organizations and individuals to respond effectively to the incoming needs. The Lackawanna County Flood Relief Fund will aim to meet the greatest array of needs of the organizations and communities disproportionately impacted by flood events in Lackawanna County.

“In critical situations like this, we know the needs are great, so as a Community Foundation, we are preparing for how best to serve those who need assistance. We understand the importance of listening to the communities we serve and responding to these needs,” said Laura Ducceschi, President and CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation. “We are fortunate to have a very generous community, who we believe will continue to step up and support this very important cause.” 

The Lackawanna County Flood Relief Fund is currently accepting charitable donations, 100% of which will go toward supporting those affected in Lackawanna County. Contributions to the Fund can be made online at https://scranton.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create/fund?funit_id=4598. Donations can also be mailed via check to The Scranton Area Foundation, 615 Jefferson Ave., Suite 102, Scranton, PA 18510, and made payable to “Scranton Area Foundation” with “LC Flood Fund” in the memo line. 

For more information about the flood relief grant programs, please contact Frank Caputo, Grants & Communications Coordinator at the Scranton Area Community Foundation at grants@safdn.org.

ABOUT THE AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT (ARPA) OF 2021: ARPA is a $1.9 trillion federal economic stimulus bill. The City of Scranton received $68.7 million in ARPA funds to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency and its economic impacts. The mission of Scranton’s ARPA program is to give people access to resources, rebuild the infrastructure systems that impact their everyday lives, and foster equitable wealth generation that targets the needs of Scranton residents. 

Scranton Area Community Foundation Announces Nonprofit Excellence Awards Recipients

The Scranton Area Community Foundation, through its Center for Community Leadership and Nonprofit Excellence, announces the recipients of its first-ever Nonprofit Excellence Awards. The Nonprofit Excellence Awards recognizes nonprofit organizations, individuals, and local community projects that embody themes of collaboration, innovation, advocacy, and inclusion. The awards were given during the Foundation’s NEPA Learning Conference, held at the Hilton Scranton & Conference Center, on September 22.

During the Conference, the Scranton Area Community Foundation awarded the Nonprofit of the Year, the Collaborative Project of the Year, the Rising Star Award, and the NEPA Gives Superstar Award.

The Nonprofit of the Year Award recognizes a nonprofit organization in Northeast Pennsylvania that demonstrates excellence in leadership, management, innovation, collaboration, and impact. The 2023 Nonprofit of the Year Award recipient is United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA. United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA works together with neighbors to provide services and create opportunities that empower individuals and build strong, interdependent communities.

The Collaborative Project of the Year Award celebrates successes and acknowledges the collaborative efforts of Northeastern Pennsylvania organizations that achieve extraordinary results due to their partnerships. The 2023 Collaborative Project of the Year Award recipient is Readiness in Skilled Employment (RISE). The RISE program was developed by a collaborative including Johnson College, United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania, The Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development, and the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund. The program tackles the mismatch between available jobs and the people who need them and has been cited as a model for potential expansion into other locations.

The Rising Star Award recognizes an individual who is an up-and-comer in the NEPA nonprofit sector. The 2023 Rising Star Award recipient is Ryanne Jennings, President and CEO of the Wayne County Community Foundation.

The NEPA Gives Superstar Award recognizes a NEPA Gives participant who went above and beyond for the 2023 NEPA Gives event by attending events, holding peer-to-peer fundraisers, and successfully reaching new donors who helped them raise money beyond their goal. The 2023 NEPA Gives Superstar Award recipient is NEPA Youth Shelter.

Scranton Area Community Foundation to Host 4th NEPA Learning Conference

The Scranton Area Community Foundation, through its Center for Community Leadership and Nonprofit Excellence, will host its fourth NEPA Learning Conference on September 20 – 22, 2023. This event will offer nonprofit organizations and nonprofit professionals across the region the opportunity to receive in-depth training from local and nationally-recognized presenters. The event will take place at the Hilton Scranton & Conference Center (100 Adams Ave, Scranton, PA).

Ruchika Tulshyan, best-selling author of Inclusion on Purpose: An Intersectional Approach to Creating a Culture of Belonging at Work, will be the keynote speaker.Tulshyan is also the founder of Candour, an inclusion strategy practice. A former international business journal, Tulshyan is a regular contributor to The New York Times and Harvard Business Review and a recognized media commentator on workplace culture.

Attendees will experience three transformative days of networking and interactive sessions while gaining the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the challenges and maximize the impact of their nonprofit organization. They will learn from over 45 local and national experts in a variety of fields, exploring the powers of collaboration and advocacy. A crowd of roughly 200 representatives from nonprofit organizations is expected to attend this event.

While attendance is geared toward nonprofit professionals and board members serving on local nonprofit organization boards, registration is open to the public. Registration closes at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, September 1. Attendees can register through the conference website at NEPALearningConference.com.

               “Through the Scranton Area Community Foundation’s Center for Community Leadership and Nonprofit Excellence, we prioritize the importance of enhancing organizational capacity building and view it as transformative to the region as a whole,” said Laura Ducceschi, President and CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation. “We are grateful for so many of our partnering foundations right here in Northeastern Pennsylvania supporting our efforts to bring this learning conference to the nonprofit community of our region.”

Sponsors of the event include the Moses Taylor Foundation, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, The William C. McGowan Charitable Fund, The Hawk Foundation, Wayne County Community Foundation, Fidelity Bank Wealth Management, McGrail Merkel Quinn & Associates, United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties, Hilton Scranton and Conference Center, Center City Print, Indraloka Animal Sanctuary, Children’s Service Center, and KMMK Communications.

For more information on the 2023 NEPA Learning Conference, please visit NEPALearningConference.com or contact Brittany Pagnotti, Communications Manager of the Scranton Area Community Foundation at 570-347-6203.  

Scranton Area Community Foundation Announces Scholarship Recipients

Twenty students from twelve different high schools in the area have been awarded a prestigious scholarship through the James F. Swift Scholarship Fund administered by the Scranton Area Community Foundation, which provides $5,000 per year for each recipient for up to four years to assist with continuing education expenses.

The following students are first-time recipients of a James F. Swift Scholarship: Emma Aversa (Old Forge), Jacquelyn Bitter (Dunmore), Kaeden Carr (Holy Cross), Jayden Evans (Mid Valley), Sadid Hassan (Scranton), Courtney Hazelton (West Scranton), Emma Illian (Abington Heights), Kendal   Johnson (Mid Valley), Lorna Lynch (Abington Heights), Connor Monahan (Riverside), Ayman Mounota (Dunmore), Julia Murphy (Carbondale Area), Gianna Natale (Scranton), Gabrielle Novak (Lakeland), Paige Pezanowski (Lakeland), Ron Prislupski (Holy Cross), Mila Racibor (Old Forge), Ethan Symuleski (Valley View), Martin Turi (West Scranton), Jayde Weibel (Scranton Preparatory).

In addition to the 20 new recipients, there were 56 James F. Swift Scholarship renewals in 2023. The following students are recipients of a James F. Swift Scholarship Renewal in 2023: Antonio Pugliese, Fione Evans, Andrew Cummings, Tori Kovalchick, Nina Sampogne, Kristen Lello, Marguerite Flynn, Ryan Turlip, Eric Spivak, Nicholas Guerra, Ashley Capone, Christopher Talluto, Rebecca Lucas, Caitlin Doughton, Olivia Manarchuck, Taylor Seprosky, Tyler Muskey, Ava Decker, Michael Rodyushkin, Kayla Rose, Hunter Geise, Benjamin Thompson, Matthew Howard, Cameron Butka, Meredith Purcell, Ryan Coleman, Sofia Capozzi, David McKenney, Alexis Tanana, Gabrielle Snee, Jillian Brennan, Christian Snee, Taralyn Reilly, Marisol Olivares, Hailey Matechak, Alyssa Cosklo, Owen Morgan, Erileidi Fernandez, Eliana King, Chloee Rumford, Dana Mackin, Michael Kazmierczak, Ava Aulisio, Mia Muskey, Molly White, Riley Clarke, Alexander Bond, Elina Joshi, Joel Cali, Sofia Flores-Weidner, Michael Sewack, Finley McHale, Ryan Salony, Ritu Regmi, Thomas Milewski, Sara McCormack.

The James F. Swift Scholarship Fund has awarded over $4 million since 2008, benefiting over 300 local students to date. Created in 2002 through a gift by Mr. James F. Swift to the Scranton Area Community Foundation, the James F. Swift Scholarship Fund provides support for higher education for students graduating from high schools in Lackawanna County. Following Mr. Swift’s death in 2006, the Scranton Area Community Foundation gratefully received a significant gift from his estate to the scholarship fund which has allowed a great number of students from Lackawanna County the opportunity to pursue their academic and professional goals through higher education.

The scholarship aims to provide an ongoing stream of matriculation at Lackawanna County colleges and universities. It is the goal of the Scranton Area Community Foundation to award 75% of the scholarships to students who plan to attend institutions of higher learning in the Lackawanna County region.

Scranton Area Community Foundation President and CEO Laura Ducceschi praised the generosity of Mr. Swift, noting “he has left a permanent and enduring legacy for the young people of our region. His scholarship fund makes higher education more attainable for generations of students.”

The Scranton Area Community Foundation is a partner with the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) in their Partnership for Access to Higher Education (PATH) Program to offer qualifying students additional financial aid. Through PHEAA, these scholarship recipients may be eligible for additional dollars toward their tuition.

For more information on the James F. Swift Scholarship Fund at the Scranton Area Community Foundation, please contact Brittany Pagnotti, Communications Manager of the Scranton Area Community Foundation at 570-347-6203.

Scranton Area Community Foundation Receives Donation from Minooka Subaru

Minooka Subaru recently presented the Scranton Area Community Foundation with a check in the amount of $42,507 which comes from their recent Share the Love® event where the Scranton Area Community Foundation was selected as the hometown charity for Minooka Subaru’s customers to support during the event. This is the fifth year that Minooka Subaru has partnered with the Scranton Area Community Foundation as the hometown charity to support. To date, Minooka Subaru has donated over $200,000 to support the Minooka Subaru Fund of the Scranton Area Community Foundation which provides charitable support to the community.

Educator in the Workplace Finishes 2023 Cohort

Scranton, PA—Skills in Scranton, the workforce development affiliate of The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, concluded the 2023 Educator in the Workplace (EIW) program on Thursday, May 4. The program was partially funded by the City of Scranton American Rescue Plan (ARPA) Non-Profit COVID Relief Grant and sponsored by Pennsylvania American Water and the Scranton Area Community Foundation.

Twenty-six participants, including teachers, school counselors, principals, administrators, and school board directors, participated in the cohort, learning about Northeastern PA’s in-demand careers and industries. Various sessions included a State of the Workforce presentation, tour of the Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County, an in-depth look into manufacturing regionally, on-site business tours, presentations by CareerLink Lackawanna and a facilitated curriculum writing session.

“The EIW program provides an opportunity for educators to learn from and network with community business leaders and peers from adjacent school districts,” said Emily Pettinato, workforce development specialist, The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce. “Participants share best practices, career pathways resources and essential career skills that can be brought back to their districts and integrated into classroom instruction. The resources provided by the EIW program is supporting the development of a robust regional talent pipeline.”

Throughout the 2023 EIW program, the participants have applied what was learned during the program integrating basic workforce skills into classroom instruction. Takeaway lessons included interviewing, resume writing, clocking into class to earn credit, and simulating real-time workplace practices.

The Chamber and Skills in Scranton have begun preparations for next year’s EIW cohorts.  For more information or to register for future EIW programs, contact Emily Pettinato at epettinato@scrantonchamber.com or visit www.SkillsinScranton.com.

The 2023 Educator in the Workplace participants Include:

  1. Johanna Chorba, Scranton School District
  2. Thomas Murray, Scranton School District
  3. Hayley Miller, Scranton School District
  4. Laurie Marino, Valley View School District
  5. John Fox, Riverside School District
  6. Richard Hensel, Scranton School District
  7. Karlene Cicco, Scranton School District
  8. Bonnie Baker, Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County
  9. Samantha Masco, Carbondale Area School District
  10. Licia Olivetti, Carbondale Area School District
  11. Dalyana Gillette, Scranton School District
  12. John Ray, Scranton School District
  13. Nanine Gramigna, Scranton School District
  14. Jessica Norris, Scranton School District
  15. Gabrielle Pidgeon, Carbondale Area School District
  16. Amanda O’Brien, Scranton School District
  17. Carrie Wittenbrader, Western Wayne School District
  18. Jessica Capwell, NEIU19
  19. Melinda Arcuri, Marywood University Adult Basic Literacy Education Program
  20. Sandy Morahan, Forest City School District
  21. Teri Erdmann, Forest City School District
  22. Katelyn Phillips, Lakeland School District
  23. Larry Pegula, Valley View School District
  24. Lori Kelley, Valley View School District
  25. Christina Burak, Valley View School District
  26. Mary Swift, Scranton School District

About Skills in Scranton

Skills in Scranton, an affiliate organization of The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, integrate workforce and economic development through collaborative partnerships, connecting industry and education to drive local economic prosperity.

About The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit organization that works to improve the area’s economic environment and quality of life by offering programs and services which stimulate economic growth, promote business prosperity and nurture educational opportunities. For more information about the Chamber, visit www.scrantonchamber.com.

Women in Philanthropy Awards $35,000 in Grants

Women in Philanthropy (WIP), the initiative of the Scranton Area Community Foundation that focuses on empowering and transforming the lives of women, girls, and their families in Northeastern Pennsylvania, announces the recipients from its 2023 grants cycle, awarded after a highly competitive grant process. A total of $35,000 in grant funding was awarded to eight local nonprofit organizations during the Women in Philanthropy Quarterly Meeting held at the Century Club of Scranton on Thursday evening, April 20.

The recipients included nonprofits Catherine McAuley Center ($6,000), Outreach Center for Community Resources ($5,500), United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA ($5,000), Center for the Living City ($4,500), Penn State Scranton ($4,500), The University of Scranton ($3,500), Junior Achievement of NEPA ($3,000), and Saint Joseph’s Center ($3,000), all to support innovative projects and/or programs that work to transform the lives of women or girls across the Northeastern Pennsylvania region.

The grant award recipients and grant amounts were selected by Women in Philanthropy supporters, who had the opportunity to vote after hearing presentations from each of the nonprofit organizations.

The Women in Philanthropy (WIP) initiative is comprised of a group of over 120 supporters committed to transforming the lives of women, girls, and their families in Northeastern Pennsylvania. WIP engages its supporters in collective decision making to help move women in the region to levels of personal empowerment and economic self-sufficiency. Since its inception in 2014, WIP has provided over $130,000 in grant funding to local nonprofit organizations; STEAM education to over 2,000 students in K-12 local public schools; $25,000 in full ‘STEAM Stars’ Scholarships to the nationally-recognized Level Up Program at Lackawanna College; loan capital and training support to help launch 15 local women-owned businesses; grant support to 21 women business owners in Lackawanna County facing COVID-19 hardships; a dollar for dollar match to women with low-to-moderate-incomes trying to build a savings; and more. To date, Womenin Philanthropy has raised over $1.6 million to benefit women, girls, and their families in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Women in Philanthropy is an initiative of the Scranton Area Community Foundation. To learn more about Women in Philanthropy, visit wwwsupportnepawomen.org.

Scranton Area Community Foundation Receives National Recognition

The Scranton Area Community Foundation recently received reaccreditation with the nation’s highest standard for philanthropic excellence. National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations® establish legal, ethical, and effective practices for community foundations everywhere. “Meeting the National Standards benchmarks is a rigorous, comprehensive process,” said Randy Royster, board member of the Council on Foundations. “This accreditation is a significant accomplishment that indicates the Scranton Area Community Foundation demonstrates a commitment to transparency, quality, integrity, and accountability as it carries out its mission.”

The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations® program requires community foundations to document their policies for donor services, investments, grantmaking, and administration. With over 500 community foundations accredited nationwide, the program is designed to provide quality assurance to donors, as well as to their legal and financial advisors.

“This is critically important to our donors,” said Laura Ducceschi, President and CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation. “When people make a charitable bequest or establish a fund, they are putting their trust in us to help carry out their legacy. They are counting on us to steward the investment wisely, honor their charitable wishes and, in some cases, provide lifetime income to a loved one. The National Standards accreditation says all of our practices are of top quality and ethical standards, and worthy of our donor’s trust.”

The Scranton Area Community Foundation works to meet critical community needs and support local causes, programs, and organizations. From improving access to equitable transportation; transforming the lives of women, girls, and their families; building the capacity of nonprofit organizations; advancing various causes in animal welfare; and ensuring all residents have access to safe and healthy housing, the Scranton Area Community Foundation is dedicated to helping to improve the quality of life in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  


The Scranton Area Community Foundation offers a range of charitable funds, allowing donors to advance a cause, support an individual organization, provide flexible support for community needs, or recommend individual grants. In addition to affirming the organization’s philanthropic services, the reaccreditation validates the Scranton Area Community Foundation’s grantmaking practices for the nonprofit community.

“Our National Standards reaccreditation is a significant accomplishment,” said Barbara O’Hara, Scranton Area Community Foundation’s board chair. “When people trust the Scranton Area Community Foundation with a charitable bequest, to establish a fund, or set up a charitable gift annuity, they do it knowing that we have met rigorous standards for donor services, investment management, grantmaking, and administration.”

National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations® is the first program of its kind for charitable foundations in the United States.

The Scranton Area Community Foundation is on a mission to enhance the quality of life for all people in Northeastern Pennsylvania through the development of organized philanthropy. With nearly $90 million in assets under management and more than 300 charitable funds, the Scranton Area Community Foundation distributed over $6 million in grants and scholarships in 2022. The Foundation has served as a steward, grantmaker, charitable resource, and catalyst for change since 1954. The Foundation leads various initiatives including Women in Philanthropy, the Center for Community Leadership and Nonprofit Excellence, NEPA Moves, and the NEPA Animal Welfare Collaborative. Additionally, the Foundation hosts and facilitates NEPA Gives and the NEPA Learning Conference. More information about the Scranton Area Community Foundation can be found at www.safdn.org.

The Community Foundations National Standards Board is a supporting organization of the Council on Foundations and is responsible for the quality, value, and integrity of compliance with National Standards. For more information on the National Standards Board, visit its website at www.cfstandards.org.

Scranton Area Community Foundation to Host NEPA Housing Lab

The Scranton Area Community Foundation (SACF), in partnership with the City of Scranton and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, is hosting “NEPA Housing Lab: Developing Strategies for Impact” on Friday, April 14th from 9 AM – 4 PM at the Radisson Hotel in Scranton. Participants of this workshop-style event will develop steps to address critical housing and homeownership issues in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

This workshop-style event will engage with local stakeholders, funders, and lenders to advance the expansion and accessibility of affordable, attainable, and quality housing in Scranton and the Lackawanna County region. Led by the Federal Reserve Bank of Pennsylvania, the Housing Lab consists of two tracks: Affordable Housing Development and Homeownership. Participants will engage in presentations and panel discussions throughout the full day event. Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti will provide opening remarks.

The NEPA Housing Lab developed out of previous community roundtable discussions hosted between 2020 and 2022 by SACF in partnership with the City of Scranton and other community partners. In these discussions, community members identified lack of equitable housing as a major issue facing the region.

“The affordable housing crisis is everywhere, including Scranton”, said Mayor Paige Cognetti. “We are seeking solutions and are looking forward to working with experts locally and from outside the region to understand what might work, what might not, and most importantly, to move ahead as quickly as possible.”

Alongside Mayor Cognetti, the NEPA Housing Lab will also feature the followers presenters & speakers: Laura Ducceschi, President & CEO, SACF; Vivian Williams, Community Initiatives Manager, SACF; Maggie Martinelli, Chief Operating Officer, SACF; Teri Ooms, President & CEO, The Institute; Eileen Cipriani, Director of Community Development, City of Scranton.

Panelists will include Ira Goldstein, President of Policy Solutions, The Reinvestment Fund; Fred Bañuelos, Community Investment Business Development Manager, Federal Home Loan Bank Pittsburgh; Dana Hanchin, President and CEO, HDC MidAtlantic; Chris Casciano, Senior Vice President of Credit Union Operations, Community First Fund; Leslie Winder, Director of Community and Economic Development, Urban Affairs Coalition; Abraham Pardo, Director of Housing, The Urban League of Philadelphia; Coleen Baumert, Director of Homeownership Programs, PHFA; Pamela Anslinger, Homeownership and Financial Services Manager, NeighborworksNEPA.

An afternoon session, “Exploring Solutions and Moving to Action”, will be facilitated by Samantha Porter, Senior Manager and Advisor, and Patricia Bell, Community Engagement Associate, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

“NEPA Housing Lab: Developing Strategies for Impact” will take place on Friday, April 14th from 9 AM – 4 PM at the Radisson Hotel in Scranton.