STATE COLLEGE, Pa., Dec. 19, 2023 – Centre Foundation recently awarded grants totaling $147,048 to 40 local organizations from its annual Field-of-Interest grant program. The grants will support a variety of programs that focus on health and social services, education, youth development, animal welfare, and the arts.

Each September, organizations are encouraged to apply for funding from these 17 unique endowment funds that were established by donors to support various causes and/or geographical areas in Centre County.

“Field-of-Interest endowment funds are special because donors set them up to support the things they care about the most,” said Molly Kunkel, Centre Foundation’s President and CEO. “We are thankful to steward these funds that make such a strong impact in our community.”

For the first time, the Janet Atwood Fund was eligible to grant as part of the Field-of-Interest program this year. This fund was established through the estate of Janet Atwood to provide support for arts programs of all kinds in Centre County.  

Bellefonte Art Museum was awarded one of the first grants from this fund for its 2024 Exhibition Schedule. The Museum aims to provide enrichment to the community through free art shows, classes, and cultural exhibits.

“We are honored to be one of the Field-of-Interest Grant recipients,” said Lori Fisher, Bellefonte Art Museum Director. “Funding from the Janet Atwood Fund will help the Museum offset expenses accrued during our 2024 Exhibition Schedule. These expenses include gallery preparation and installation, advertising, and opening reception costs. Bellefonte Art Museum prides itself on developing professional gallery exhibitions, educational programs, and interactive activities. The 2024 Exhibition Schedule focuses on enriching lives through art, history, education, and culture.”

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 $770 to Penns Valley Community Church for “You are Seen You are Loved,” a community outreach program.

The Ben Franklin Fund supports community projects in Centre, Clearfield, Huntingdon, and Mifflin counties that benefit citizens of the Commonwealth and are paid to qualified charities within the region. This year, $2,352 will be divided between three 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 $18,444 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, $1,959 will be divided between two organizations:

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. This year, $1,274 will be divided between two organizations:

The Counseling Service, Inc. Fund continues the original mission of Counseling Service, Inc. by supporting the provision of direct behavioral/mental health counseling services to Centre County residents. This year, $11,303 will be divided between two organizations:

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, $5,034

will be divided between two organizations:

The Ed and Charlene Friedman Family Fund supports health and human programs that reduce poverty, particularly in emergency situations. This year, $43,568 will be divided between ten 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, $4,372 will be divided between three organizations:

The Janet Atwood Fund supports art programs of all types in Centre County. For its first year of granting, $1,375 will be divided between two organizations:

  • Bellefonte Art Museum will receive $688 to support its 2024 gallery exhibitions and programming.
  • Ridgelines Language Arts will receive $687 to support Blood Lines, a language arts program that explores diverse reproductive experiences and histories.

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 $1,190 to Penns Valley Youth Center for its K-5 After School program.

The Mattil Family Fund supports animal welfare causes and this year will provide $1,040 divided between two organizations:

The Patricia Farrell Music Fund supports music programs of all types, especially those focusing on children. This year, $9,792 will be divided between five organizations:

The Philipsburg Area Fund, which supports Philipsburg-area nonprofit organizations and programs, will provide $2,047 to the Centre County Library and Historical Museum. This grant will support electrical upgrades at Holt Memorial Library.

The Proud to Be An American Fund supports nonprofits that display, encourage, or promote patriotic observances, especially on the 4th of July. This year, $1,662 will be divided between two organizations:

The Ruth E. Rishel Charitable Fund supports nonprofits and projects exclusively in the Penns Valley area. This year, $2,708 will be divided between two organizations:

The William W. and Helen S. Litke Memorial Fund supports programs for Centre County residents with hearing loss. This year, $38,158 will be divided between three organizations:

  • 3 Dots Downtown (fiscal sponsor for The Print Factory) will receive $1,779 to purchase assistive listening devices for public programming.
  • Centre Volunteers in Medicine will receive $15,467 for its Hearing Aid Assistance program.
  • WPSU Penn State will receive $20,912 to provide closed captioning for Weather World.

For more information about all of Centre Foundation’s grant opportunities, please visit our website, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, 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 and engagement that cultivates a vibrant, equitable, and inclusive community.