Scranton Area Community Foundation To Host Educational Seminar

The Scranton Area Community Foundation, in partnership with the Estate Planning Council of Northeastern Pennsylvania, will host Understanding Foundations, Donor Advised Funds, and Other Forms of Philanthropy, an educational presentation with keynote speaker Donald W. Kramer, Esq., on November 3, 2022, at the Century Club of Scranton (612 Jefferson Avenue, Scranton).

This presentation aims to give professional advisors an understanding of the rules that distinguish various philanthropic structures. Continuing education is available, including 1.5 hours of CLE credit for attorneys (including .5 hours of ethics credit), 1.5 hours of CPE credit for accountants (including .5 hours of ethics credit), and investment professionals. In addition to professional advisors, this presentation is for nonprofit executives, staff, and board; as well as individuals interested in learning more about charitable structures, philanthropy, and estate planning.

Donald W. Kramer, Esq., a Philadelphia attorney and editor of the newsletter Nonprofit Issues®, will share the advantages and disadvantages of private foundations, public charities, donor-advised funds, supporting organizations, single-member limited liability companies, and other forms of charitable activity. Attorney Kramer will compare the limitations of private foundations and will discuss ways to reduce the impact of restrictions for private foundation managers and grantees. He will also share about alternate means for charitable activity and the growth of 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations as non-charitable organizations used for charitable activity.

Additionally, the Scranton Area Community Foundation’s President and CEO Laura Ducceschi, along with CEOs from other foundations in Northeastern Pennsylvania, will provide a brief overview of the current landscape of community needs and trends that can inspire philanthropy and drive charitable intent. Registration, which includes lunch, is $25 for the general public ($20 for Estate Planning Council of NEPA Members). Registration is open now at the Estate Planning Council of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s website, epcnepa.org.  The presentation will begin at 11:30 a.m. and will conclude at 2:30 p.m., with the keynote speaker and lunch taking place at noon and the presentation with local foundations beginning at 1:15 p.m.

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.

SACF NEPA Invitational Hosted by Pro Golfer

Scranton Area Community Foundation

The second annual NEPA Invitational charity event, hosted by professional golfer Brandon Matthews, will be held at the Country Club of Scranton on October 14 – 16, 2022.

The NEPA Invitational is a pro-am golf tournament that hosts professionals, high-level amateurs, and golf aficionados. Spectators are welcomed and encouraged.

Brandon Matthews, professional golfer on the PGA Tour, was born and raised in Northeastern Pennsylvania. A Pittston Area graduate, Matthews established the NEPA Invitational Fund at the Scranton Area Community Foundation to raise money for charitable endeavors.

“The Scranton Area Community Foundation is proud to work with Brandon Matthews through the NEPA Invitational Fund,” stated Laura Ducceschi, President and CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation. “We are grateful Brandon chose to partner with the Scranton Area Community Foundation to help to carry out his charitable goals. His desire to give back will truly make a difference right here in our communities,” she added.

The inaugural NEPA Invitational event, which took place last year, raised over $50,000 to support local charities.

“We are incredibly proud to be hosting the NEPA Invitational for the second year that brings incredible talent to the area to compete in this event as we continue the longstanding tradition for many years to come,” stated Matthews.

The 2nd Annual NEPA Invitational will kick off with a ‘Dinner with the Pros’ event on Friday, October 14, at the Country Club of Scranton. Tickets for the dinner are $300 per person and can be purchased online at www.nepainvitational.com. Dinner, live entertainment, and a live auction are included.

This year, proceeds from the NEPA Invitational will support Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital through the Scranton Area Community Foundation. “Geisinger Pediatrics is deeply committed to providing exemplary health care for children and delivering that care with authentic kindness. We promise to keep the child at the center of everything we do, and that applies to the tens of thousands of patients we care for each year across Northeast Pennsylvania. 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.”

Tickets to the NEPA Invitational are available at www.nepainvitational.com. Sponsorships and donations are welcome. Spectators are welcome and can attend for free to watch on October 15 and 16.

Hospice of the Sacred Heart Receives Grant From the SACF

Hospice of the Sacred Heart recently received a grant for $12,000 from the Scranton Area Community Foundation to support caring for patients and families during the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic. The grant is part of the Scranton Area Community Foundation 2022 Spring Community Needs Grant Cycle and was funded in 2022.  

“The COVID-19 Pandemic continues to ravage our community, state and nation. This generous grant from the Scranton Area Community Foundation will go a long way in advancing our mission of providing comfort, care, hope and choice to patients and their families,” said Diane Baldi, CEO, Hospice of the Sacred Heart.

The mission of Hospice of the Sacred Heart is to provide comfort, care, hope and choice to patients and their families, while guiding them through their end of life journey.

SACF President and CEO Celebrates 10 Years of Leadership

On Wednesday, June 15, the Scranton Area Community Foundation Board of Governors recognized Laura Ducceschi for 10 years of service at the Foundation, serving in the executive leadership role as the Foundation’s President and CEO since 2012.

Over the past 10 years, Ducceschi has led the Foundation, which works to create stronger, healthier communities across Northeastern Pennsylvania through organized philanthropy.

“During the course of the past decade, the Scranton Area Community Foundation has seen tremendous growth under her leadership, nearly quadrupling the charitable assets under Foundation management,” stated Barbara O’Hara, Esq., Scranton Area Community Foundation’s Board Chair. “Laura has effectively and successfully led and grown the Foundation in terms of programs established, partnerships formed, charitable funds initiated, donors engaged, grants and scholarships awarded and so much more.”

The Scranton Area Community Foundation has granted over $25 million in funding under Ducceschi’s leadership to support programs and projects that enhance the quality of life for people in the Lackawanna County region and beyond.

In her role,Ducceschimanages over 270 charitable funds and two separate private foundations, which in total exceed nearly $95 million. Ducceschi also led the first-ever NEPA Gives, a collaborative effort with other regional foundations which in three years has raised nearly $3 million dollars for nonprofit organizations in only 72 hours.

“Laura helps to guide the philanthropic initiatives of those in our community, helping them to make a real difference in the quality of life in Northeastern PA,” stated David Price, Scranton Area Community Board Treasurer. “Transparency, ethics, and innovation are central to Laura’s leadership style. During her tenure, the Foundation was twice reaccredited at the highest standards for excellence in Community Foundations from the Council on Foundations, which is a national organization.”

“Laura has spearheaded many impactful regional initiatives aimed at catalyzing change. These include The Center for Community Leadership and Nonprofit Excellence, which has provided cutting-edge training and education opportunities to hundreds of nonprofit leaders and employees; Women in Philanthropy, which provides thousands of dollars in direct funding to help transform the lives of local women, girls, and their families;  NEPA Moves; The NEPA Animal Welfare Collaborative; the NEPA Health Care Foundation Scholars Program; and the Careers in Care Health Workforce Program, all to benefit surrounding communities,” O’Hara added.

“In her 10 years of service, Laura has transformed the Scranton Area Community Foundation into a state of the art change agent for our community. Without a doubt, our area is a better place to live because of her vision and drive,” stated Dave Hawk, who chaired the Search Committee when Ducceschi was hired and was Chair of the Board the year Ducceschi began in her role in 2012. “Congratulations, Laura, on 10 years of work.  I can only imagine the wonderful things that will happen over the next 10 years,” he added.

“Under Laura’s leadership in 2020, the Scranton Area Community Foundation was one of the first foundations in the country to create a COVID-19 Response Fund, which raised and distributed more than $1.4 million through 183 grants to nonprofit organizations, many of which serve as the safety net in Northeastern Pennsylvania, providing food, shelter and resources to the most vulnerable members of our communities,” stated Maggie Martinelli, the Scranton Area Community Foundation’s Vice President of Administration and Projects.

Ducceschi has an MBA in Organizational Management from Drexel University’s Lebow College of Business; an MA in Communication from the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania; and a BA in Communication from the University of Scranton, where she graduated summa cum laude. She completed her Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP) certification from the American College of Financial Services and is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE).  Laura has a Certificate in Change Management from Cornell University, a Certificate in Design Thinking from Harvard University, a Certificate in Nonprofit Board Governance Consulting from BoardSource, and is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.

Ducceschi received the Oustanding Fundraising Professional Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals- NEPA Chapter in 2021; the Excellence in Diversity Award from Penn State University-Scranton in 2019; the Executive Mentorship Award from the Allan P Kirby Center at Wilkes University in 2018, and was recognized as a top 25 Women in Business from the NEPA Business Journal in 2015. She will be honored with the Founder’s Award at Meals on Wheels Mix and Mingle event in September, 2022.  She serves as a member of the Geisinger Advisory Board, a Trustee of the Schwartz-Mack Foundation, a Trustee on the Scranton Life Board, and is on the NEPA Grantmakers Steering Committee.  Ducceschi has also contributed to reports and publications aimed at understanding how equitable economic impact is best achieved in small to medium sized cities.

“We are proud of all Laura has accomplished in the community as the President and CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation over the past ten years and look forward to continued growth, community impact, and stability under her leadership,” added O’Hara.

The Scranton Area Community Foundation looks forward to beginning the process of moving into its permanent home at the Century Club of Scranton building located at 612 Jefferson Avenue, Scranton, later this year.

The Scranton Area Community Foundation has been a trusted community partner since 1954, serving the people of the region by working in partnership with donors to transform lives.  The Foundation offers a wide variety of charitable planning tools such as charitable gift annuities, scholarship funds, donor-advised funds, and charitable trusts to help donors maximize the impact of their charitable giving to causes and charities they care about. To learn more about the Scranton Area Community Foundation, visit safdn.org or contact Brittany Pagnotti, Communications Manager of the Scranton Area Community Foundation at 570-347-6203.

SACF Announces James F. Swift 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 James F. Swift Scholarship Fund has awarded over $3.7 million since 2008, benefiting over 280 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.

Greater Scranton YMCA Receives Grant from SACF

On May 20th, 2022 the Greater Scranton YMCA was awarded a $14,000 Community Needs Grant from the Scranton Area Community Foundation. The grant will support aquatics staffing at the YMCA.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Greater Scranton YMCA was able to fully staff both pools in its facility and offer 283 swim lessons per session. Currently, the YMCA is only able to offer 183 swim lessons per session, a reduction of more than 600 swim lessons annually. The biggest loss, though, has been to our community, as learning to swim is one of the most important life lessons a child can learn.

This grant award from the Scranton Area Community Foundation will allow the YMCA to increase lifeguard pay rates with the goal of attracting more staff, as well as retaining existing staff who need a pay increase. Adding more team members to the aquatics department will directly impact the YMCA’s capacity to provide needed services to our community, including offering an increased number of life-saving swim lessons annually, making more pool time available to members and guests, and ensuring the resources are available to implement more youth, adult and family programming.

“It’s because of the generosity and support of community partners like the Scranton Area Community Foundation that the Greater Scranton YMCA is able to serve so many members of our community,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “We are confident this grant award will allow our YMCA to better serve our community through aquatics programming!”

For more information about aquatics programming at the Greater Scranton YMCA contact Ken Brewster, Aquatics Director, at kbrewster@greaterscrantonymca.org or call (570) 828-3112.

Scranton Area Community Foundation Hosts 3rd Annual NEPA Gives Friday, June 3rd

225+ local nonprofits joining together for historic giving day. ‘Give Gathering’ taking place in Downtown Scranton to celebrate

The Scranton Area Community Foundation, in partnership with The Luzerne Foundation, Greater Pike Community Foundation, Wayne County Community Foundation, Carbon County Community Foundation, Posture Interactive, and other community sponsors, will host the third annual NEPA Gives event on Friday, June 3, 2022.Promoted as the single largest day of philanthropy in Northeastern Pennsylvania, NEPA Gives is a one-day, 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 aims to help charitable organizations raise much-needed funds. Over 225 nonprofit organizations from across seven counties in Northeastern Pennsylvania will participate in NEPA Gives on Friday.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in matching funds 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.

Adding to the excitement, to celebrate NEPA Gives, the Scranton Area Community Foundation is also hosting an in-person NEPA Gives ‘Give Gathering’ that will be held at the Hilton Scranton Conference Center from 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on Friday, June 3, to coincide with First Friday Scranton. The Give Gathering will include live entertainment, giveaways, real-time and live-streamed updates on NEPA Gives, and opportunities for the general public to meet many of the participating nonprofits. This event is free to attend.

To celebrate this historical and monumental giving day, both Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti and Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown have made official proclamations declaring June 3, 2022, as NEPA Gives Day.

“NEPA Gives is all about supporting charities that are doing important work right here in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” said Laura Ducceschi, President and CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation. “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 Scranton to celebrate the momentum of NEPA Gives and highlight the good work of the many participating nonprofits taking part in NEPA Gives.”

Members of the community wishing to make a contribution for NEPA Gives can visit www.nepagives.org anytime between 12:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. on Friday, June 3, 2022, to make a secure donation to any of the 225+ participating nonprofit organizations.

This is the third year for NEPA Gives. In its second year, NEPA Gives raised over $1.2 million for 218 nonprofit organizations.

To learn more about #NEPAGives, visit nepagives.org or contact Brittany Pagnotti, Communications Manager of the Scranton Area Community Foundation at 570-347-6203.

SACF Women in Philanthropy Initiative Awards Grants

Women in Philanthropy (WIP), the initiative of the Scranton Area Community Foundation that focuses on empowering and transforming the lives of women and girls in the Lackawanna County region, proudly announces the recipients from its 2022 grants cycle, awarded after a highly competitive grant process. A total of $40,000 in grant funding was awarded to seven local nonprofit organizations during the Women in Philanthropy Quarterly Meeting held at the Colonnade in Scranton on Wednesday evening, April 27.

The recipients included nonprofits Along the Way ($10,000), the Catherine McAuley Center ($7,500), Dress for Success Lackawanna ($4,000), Johnson College ($5,000), Lackawanna College ($2,700), The Wright Center ($3,500), and the Women’s Resource Center ($7,300), 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.