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Bradford Era Article: McKean County Community Foundation continues to grow

Money may not be able to buy happiness, but some extra funds can translate to extra peace of mind for students and nonprofits struggling with finances. And for more than two years, the McKean County Community Foundation has been there to help.

The foundation helps people with philanthropic goals by establishing a fund and investing the donation. Then, the foundation helps to match those funds with recipients in the community.

The McKean County Community Foundation and the Elk County Community Foundation are affiliate organizations of the Community Foundation of the Northern Alleghenies.

As of Wednesday afternoon, McKean County Community Foundation had around 20 to 21 funds, but the possible addition of more is in the works, according to Executive Director Paula Fritz Eddy.

Eddy explained, “We’re here to help individuals give back to the community and help the community grow and be a better place to live.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Eddy had plans to meet with the Bradford Area School District to talk about the possibility of some of the scholarships being transferred to the foundation. She would be sharing the benefits the foundation can offer participants.

For one, “We are able to invest in things that the school districts cannot,” she said.

Also, students receiving scholarships from the foundation have a chance to see the award amount double, thanks to the foundation’s partnership with the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).

PHEAA’s Partnerships for Access to Higher Education (PATH) program provides matching dollars to scholarship recipients who qualify. The foundation nominates all of its scholarship recipients for PATH funding.

The Elk County Community Foundation has been working with the program since 2004, too.

The McKean County Community Foundation was quite active in 2018, according to the recently released annual report.

In 2018, the organization created 10 new charitable funds, received nearly $67,000 in gifts, awarded 22 first-year scholarships totaling nearly $11,600 and garnered $1,525 in matching funds for scholarship recipients through the PATH program.

The foundation has awarded $44,000 in scholarships since its inception in 2017.

In fact, scholarships are “the most active part of our foundation right now,” Eddy noted.

Another current project of the McKean County Community Foundation is the Women’s Giving Circle, which will serve as a way to gather local women together to decide how funds they donate are dispersed through community grants.

On Wednesday night, organizers for the Women’s Giving Circle group were to begin sending invitations to women from all over McKean County who might be interested in attending the group’s inaugural event. It is not an invitation-only event, and local women are welcome to invite other women they think might be interested.

Eddy noted that, thanks to a donor, much of the event cost is covered, and there will be fundraisers like raffles to help cover any other costs. There will be a cash bar.

The Women’s Giving Circle will solicit nonprofits to apply for grants. At the end of the membership year, there will be a meeting, which will likely include short presentations by the applicants, where members will vote on who will receive grants.

Co-chairs for the steering committee are Carol Duffy and Judy Bodamer.

A similar organization is already established in Elk County, Eddy noted.

Among the new funds started in 2018 is the McKean County Fund for the Future, an endowment started by the community foundation.

While the fund is currently used for administrative costs of the foundation, Eddy explained the organization is “hoping that with time that will also become a general fund that we’ll be able to make grants out of when we grow it.”

Regarding a similar fund at the Elk County Community Foundation, Eddy said that organization was able to sustain itself without using the fund after six or seven years. The plan is that, in a few years, the McKean County Community Foundation will likewise be able to sustain itself without using the Fund for the Future for administrative costs.

“It will eventually be able to provide dollars back into the community,” she said.

Another new fund, the Early Childhood Development Fund started by an anonymous donor, was “designed to work with early childhood providers in the area,” Eddy said.

She explained the fund can serve as a scholarship to families experiencing unusual financial circumstances who are at risk of pulling their child out of early childhood programs due to financial issues.

Port Allegany Community Development Fund, started by a local family, was established to provide grants to organizations that serve the Port Allegany community. She explained they hope to grow the fund to $5,000 before they begin offering grants.

Endowment funds have been established to support CASA of McKean County and the McKean County Housing Coalition, and there are around 15 scholarships that are already established at the foundation.

Altogether, there are five types of funds through the foundation: unrestricted, designated, agency endowment, scholarship and donor advised.

People can go to the foundation website,, and make a donation there to any of the established funds.

Residents can start their own funds, too. Eddy said people do not need to be a millionaire to do so.

“If they want to start a fund, they can start with almost anything,” she said, though she added that the foundation encourages people to wait until a fund has at least $5,000 before making grants from it.

Over 64% of the funds at the foundation have less than $25,000.

“Most started small and grew over the years,” she said.

She noted that groups will often raise money for their funds by holding fundraisers or through memorial donations. Also, “We do invest the dollars and we help grow the dollars,” she added.

In addition to visiting the website,, people can learn more by emailing or calling 1-844-238-2289.



2019 Scholarship Winners

2019 Scholarships Awarded

 The McKean County Community Foundation awarded a total of 24 scholarships to local students this year, adding up to a sum of $20,000 in scholarship funds. The recipients of these scholarships are graduating seniors from the surrounding areas. Out of the 24 scholarships awarded, 7 went to seniors from Bradford Area High School, 15 went to seniors from Kane Area High School, 1 went to Smethport Area High School and 1 to Limestone/Allegany High School. Six new scholarship funds were established and awarded in 2019.

 The young adults that are receiving these scholarships are the future of this community.  Donors who have established these scholarships are contributing to our future leaders.  The McKean County Community Foundation Board extends their gratitude to those who have seen the need and believe in the youth of today.   Anyone interested in establishing a scholarship can contact the Foundation at 844-238-2289.

Pictures: Mitchell Hayden, ARG Employee Scholarship Winner

Sashy & Gladys Kane Perpetual Scholarship

Alysha Biel KAHS $1000

Alex Rezzelle KAHS $1000

Jeff and Shelly Johnson Memorial Scholarship

Paige Nicklas KAHS $500

Diana J. Hulings Memorial Scholarship

Ella Marconi KAHS $500

John & Donna Hulings Scholarship

Alysha Biel KAHS $500

Halle Saf KAHS $500

Steve Jerman Memorial Scholarship

Halle Saf KAHS $500

Ella Marconi KAHS $500

Chuck Daly Memorial Scholarship

Alex Rezzelle KAHS $1000

Ella Marconi KAHS $1000

Paul Robert & Frieda Roberta Calkins Rolfe Scholarship

Raisa Wright KAHS $4000 over 4 years

Tristan Sauers Memorial Scholarship

Dessa Gentile KAHS $500

Carrie Sauers Memorial Scholarship

Ella Marconi KAHS $500

Kane Day School Alumni Scholarship

Adam Sicher KAHS $500

Gary Meckley Scholarship

Krisalyn Rhodes KAHS $1000

ARG Employee Scholarship

Mitchell Hayden BAHS $500

Collin Rounsville A-LHS $500

Bradford Rotary Vocational Scholarship

Nicole Sayers BAHS $500

Amber Hitchcock BAHS $500

Joe Stanko Memorial Scholarship

Lauren Abers BAHS $500

Bradford Creative Performing Arts Center BCPAC Scholarship

Ashley Keane BAHS $500

Gloria V. Anderson Scholarship Sponsored by the Singing Dutchmen

Mikayla Bond BAHS $1000

Ole Bull Violin Scholarship

Mikayla Bond BAHS $2000

Pastor Craig Smith Memorial Scholarship

Emily Gustafson SAHS $500

BCPAC scholarship established

BCPAC Scholarship Established

BRADFORD — A new scholarship has been established at the McKean County Community Foundation by the Bradford Creative Performing Arts Center (BCPAC). Beginning this year, BCPAC will award an annual scholarship to a talented individual who is planning to or has enrolled in an accredited college/university degree program.

Students applying for this scholarship should meet these criteria: a graduating Bradford High School Senior; planning to pursuing a degree in the performing arts (Theatre, Music, Dance) program; be active in school and community activities; demonstrate financial need; show academic merit; submit an essay about What is the purpose of the arts and what are her/his college and career goals; and provide two letters of recommendation to be completed by a faculty member or administrator who has taught the applicant or worked with her/him in an academic setting. The scholarship application will be available in mid-February at the Bradford Area High School Guidance office. For more information on this and other available scholarships in McKean County please visit our website at

Additional funding may also be available to recipients of these scholarships. The Community Foundation is involved with the Partnership for Access to Higher Education (PATH) and will nominate all students who receive a scholarship from them to the PATH program. This essentially doubles the dollars a scholarship recipient can receive. This program is administered through PHEAA which provides matching dollars to qualified candidates.

For over 30 years, BCPAC has been has been the premier presenter of quality creative and performing arts in a six-county region of Northern Pennsylvania and Western New York. From headliners and tribute performances to major Broadway productions and summer youth programs, BCPAC brings world-class entertainment and performing arts to the Bradford community and surrounding areas.  The McKean County Community Foundation partners with local community-minded individuals, families, and organizations who want to provide a path to higher education for future generations.

The Community Foundation is a non-profit organization that strives to strengthen our region through development, stewardship and grant making as it works with donors to achieve their philanthropic goals. For more information, please call our office at 1-844-238-2289.

Pictured is some of the Education Committee of BCPAC and representatives from the Community Foundation left to right: Lauren Marshall, Connie Shanks, Erika Close and daughter, Lori Huber and Terri Leven all from BCPAC; Paula Fritz Eddy and Bob Esch from the Community Foundation.

Scholarships available through Community Foundation

Scholarship Applications Are Now Available 

Attention All those attending Colleges, Universities or Vocations schools! The Elk County Community Foundation (ECCF)and McKean County Community Foundation, (MCCF) both affiliates of the Community Foundation of the Northern Alleghenies added thirteen new scholarships this year.  This has increased the total scholarships awarded by the Foundation to nearly $190,000 available for students across seven counties. The Community Foundation has distributed all post-secondary or vocational school scholarship applications to the high school guidance departments throughout the area and also have information on their websites.   Please visit them: or, look for the Scholarship page and the “Information for Students” tab! As shown in the photo, our new websites make it even easier to search for scholarship opportunities for each school district on the “Information For Students” in the Scholarships section.

Each scholarship that is available has a different focus, so check each one out and see if it is right for you. Some of the new scholarships are the Kane Day School Alumni Scholarship, Donald Cicuzza Jr. Memorial Scholarship, the Fitch Family Scholarship the Jack Kestler Memorial Scholarship, the BCPAC scholarship, the Joe Stanko Scholarship, the Dr. Maurus Sorg Memorial Scholarship and the St. Marys American Legion Post 103 and the St. Marys Sons of Legion Post 103.

The Community Foundation is one of 40 state wide partners with PATH (Partners for Access to Higher Education). Students who receive a scholarship award from the Community Foundation may qualify for matching dollars through PHEAA and the PATH program. In 2018 over $70,000 was matched to our local students.

Additional graduate level and non-traditional scholarships are also available for music, law, medical, vocational nursing and many more. Visit the websites to see what is available! For further details and deadlines, contact your guidance counselor or the Community Foundation at 844 238-2289.

Early Childhood Education Fund invests in our children’s future

Investment in early childhood education makes sense for so many reasons: economically, socially, and developmentally. A local fund, the Early Childhood Development Fund, was established at the McKean County Community Foundation to assist families with financial needs in obtaining early childhood education for their children. Anyone can make an investment in the future of our community by donating to this special fund supporting early education in McKean County.

The Early Childhood Development (ECDF) Fund has a mission to support accessible child-centered care with tuition assistance.  The fund is primarily established to support families that have children enrolled in Earl Childhood Programs who are at risk of pulling the child from the program due to unforeseen financial hardships. Non-profit agencies that provide early childhood education in the McKean County area are able to recommend a student/family with special financial needs to obtain funding assistance through the ECDF fund to help their child attend a qualifying program. Bob Esch, Board President of the McKean County Community Foundation, stated: “Investment in early childhood education can have long-term effects on graduation rates, college attendance, and adulthood self-control and self-esteem. This fund will make a lasting difference in McKean County.”

A letter received from a family stated, “I just wanted to let you know how grateful I am that you were willing to help my family out with our tuition. When we started school, my kids were so scared, didn’t want to leave me, had no confidence in themselves. My 2-year-old can count to 20, knows his alphabet, can recognize his name on things and has such an imagination. He isn’t so shy anymore and isn’t scared. My 4-year-old has just made leaps and bounds. From last year to today, it’s a complete 180. I am grateful for your generosity and compassion to us during our struggles. I try to keep my kids in things that will help them along life’s way and I’m glad they were able to attend this school year and stay there with your help.”

Early childhood education helps prepare the next generation of workers and contributes to a more prosperous community. But lower income families face many issues when it comes to providing education and child care for their infants and preschoolers. For these families, the care of a young child is a double-edged sword. They cannot afford to pay for child care or send their children to early education programs. As a result, they are unable to enter the workforce to provide for a better lifestyle for their family because they must be at home caring for their children.

According to a 2018 article in Fortune Magazine, in 28 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, the cost of center-based infant care exceeded one year’s worth of tuition and fees at a four-year public university. The commitment of the generous local donors who have embraced the cause of child care and early childhood education is enriching the future of children in McKean County.  Community-minded individuals and groups can support the Early Childhood Education Fund by making a donation through the McKean County Community Foundation at P.O. Box 708, Braford, PA 16701.

The McKean County Community Foundation is a non-profit organization that strives to strengthen our region through development, stewardship and grant making as it works with donors to achieve their philanthropic goals. For more information, contact MCCF at 844-238-2289 or by email at

Photo: Pre-kindergarten students at Growing With Grace Christian Preschool and their teachers paused for a photo Tuesday, Jan. 15, on National Hat Day.

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