State College, PA – Dec. 20, 2022 – Centre Foundation recently selected 34 local organizations to receive grants from their annual Field-of-Interest grant program, totaling more than $139,000.

Each September, organizations are encouraged to apply for funding from these 16 unique endowment funds, which were established by donors to support various causes and/or geographical areas in Centre County.

The grants will fund a variety of programs that focus on education, health and social services, animal welfare, youth development, and the performing arts.

“Field-of-Interest endowment funds are a wonderful opportunity for donors to support their passions and the needs of the community every year,” said Molly Kunkel, Centre Foundation’s President and CEO. “We are grateful for the opportunity to witness how local nonprofits can make a difference in Centre County with these grants.”

This year, the Ed and Charlene Friedman Family Fund was established to support health and human service programs that reduce poverty through physical and mental health, food, shelter, clothing, and/or education, particularly in emergency situations. Seven nonprofits will receive grants from this fund in order to address these needs.

“We thought, what could we do to address crisis in families and the cycle of poverty and give people the tools and skills to allow someone to recover, have hope, and eventually a level of success for themselves,” said Charlene.

One nonprofit that will receive a grant from this fund is Housing Transitions for their Center House Homeless Shelter. This organization provides housing programs and supportive services to those in need throughout Centre County.

“Our Center House Homeless Shelter relies on support from our community. The funds awarded go a long way toward ensuring our shelter residents have a safe, supportive environment while working toward long-term housing solutions,” said Morgan Wasikonis, Executive Director of Housing Transitions. “It makes us feel hopeful to have community members, like the Friedmans who, through Centre Foundation, are helping us end homelessness in Centre County.”

The funds and recipients of each grant are as follows:

The Andrew and Madaline Rishel Family Fund, which supports Christian churches in Penns Valley, will provide $669 to Calvary Penns Valley Church for THRIVE, a summer arts program for K-6 youth.

The Ben Franklin Fund supports community projects in Centre, Clearfield, Huntingdon, and Mifflin counties, carrying out Franklin’s commitment to giving back to Pennsylvania communities. This year, $2,270 will be divided between two organizations:

The Carolyn A. Petrus Memorial Seeing Eye Dog Fund supports organizations that raise, train, and match seeing-eye dogs to those who need them. The Seeing Eye will receive $17,783 to provide instruction and training for Pennsylvania Seeing Eye dog recipients.

The Centre Children’s Fund supports organizations that provide programs and services to at-risk children. This year, $1,877 will be divided between two organizations:

  • Ridgelines Language Arts will receive $939 to expand poetry and art programming at the Central Counties Youth Center.
  • The Ethel Beaver Fund will receive $938 to provide support for foster children, including access to sports participation, summer camp registration, and holiday presents.

The Centre County Medical Society Fund assists nonprofits that are working to promote the health and well-being of Centre County citizens, specifically those that are encouraging active lifestyles for children and/or creating playground equipment or facilities. Mountaintop Swimming Pool Association will receive $1,228 to replace diving boards at their pool.  

The Counseling Service, Inc. Fund supports the provision of direct behavioral and mental health counseling services to Centre County residents. This year, $10,911 will be divided between two organizations:

  • Centre Safe will receive $7,911 to provide therapy for domestic and sexual violence survivors.
  • Jana Marie Foundation will receive $3,000 for the Survivors of Suicide Loss Support Group.

The Donna L. Litke Occupational Horse Therapy Endowment Fund supports the maintenance and upkeep of horses used for occupational therapy in Centre County or in any of the six contiguous counties (Blair, Clearfield, Clinton, Huntingdon, Mifflin, Union). This year, $4,933 will be divided between two organizations:

The newest fund, the Ed and Charlene Friedman Family Fund, supports health and human programs that reduce poverty, particularly in emergency situations. This year, $46,566 will be divided between seven organizations:

The J. Alvin and Vera E. Knepper Hawbaker Memorial Endowment supports organizations that provide vital health and education services across Centre County.  This year, $4,189 will be divided between four organizations:

The Louis E. and Patricia H. Silvi Fund, which supports early childhood education programs that improve the health, care, and education of young children, will provide $1,150 to Park Forest Preschool for their family emergency assistance fund.

The Mattil Family Fund supports animal welfare causes and this year will provide $1,007 divided between two organizations:

The Patricia Farrell Music Fund supports music programs of all types, especially those focusing on children. This year, $9,411 will be divided between five organizations:

The Philipsburg Area Fund supports Philipsburg-area nonprofit organizations and programs. This year, $1,953 will be divided between two organizations:

  • Cen-Clear Child Services, Inc. will receive $750 to support a storyteller performance at Philipsburg Heritage Days.
  • Tides, Inc. will receive $1,203 to provide grief and loss support groups in Philipsburg schools.

The Proud to Be An American Fund supports nonprofits that display, encourage, or promote patriotic observances, especially on the 4th of July. This year, $1,600 will be provided to Bellefonte Community Band for accessible band rehearsal space.

The Ruth E. Rishel Charitable Fund, which supports nonprofits and projects exclusively in the Penns Valley area will provide $2,574 to Penns Valley Senior Resource Center to provide ukulele workshops and other music programs for seniors and adults with disabilities.

The William W. and Helen S. Litke Memorial Fund supports programs for Centre County residents with hearing loss. This year, $31,159 will be divided between two organizations:

For more information about all of Centre Foundation’s granting opportunities, please visit our website, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or contact our Community Impact Director, Rachael Hartman ( | 814-237-6229).

To learn more about setting up your own fund to support a passion near to your heart, please contact our Development and Stewardship Director, Kerry Tolton ( | 814-237-6229).

Centre Foundation’s mission is to inspire and facilitate a culture of giving to create a vibrant community.