In addition to the annual funding provided to programs delivered through 35 agency partners, United Way of Berks County announced that 42 different community organizations received grants in 2019 to support a broad range of health and human service programs and activities in the areas of education, financial stability, health and safety net services. Grant recipients included both agency partners and additional local nonprofits. The grants were approved by United Way’s Board of Directors. During 2019, grants totaling $608,583 were awarded in response to increased community needs and to improve the quality of life for Berks Countians.
“United Way is grateful to be in the position to assist local nonprofits with grants to help during challenging times as well as support innovative programming. We are thankful for United Way donors who make all of this possible. The grants support programs helping people right here in our own community,” says Tammy White, President, United Way of Berks County.
RAPID RESPONSE GRANTS totaling over $112,200 were awarded to 11 organizations this year. These grants support a wide variety of services to help provide shelter, food, transitional housing and access to healthcare. Recipients include: Alvernia University, Clare of Assisi House, Co-County Wellness Center, Communities in Schools, Dayspring Homes, Inc., Hannah’s Hope Ministries, Helping Harvest, Hope Rescue Mission, Literacy Council of ReadingBerks, Rudden Family Foundation, Veterans Coalition of Pennsylvania.
In addition, United Way awarded three VENTURE GRANTS totaling over $58,200 to fund innovative programming to address access to transportation. Transportation is a barrier which impacts access to employment, high quality early learning, medical treatment and healthy food. Opportunity House, Western Berks Ambulance Association and Boyertown Multi-Services received grant funding to improve access to transportation throughout the county for homeless, low-income older adults and wheelchair-bound clients.
LIVE UNITED GRANTS, one-time grants of up to $5,000 provided to grass-roots or community-based organizations with a yearly budget below $250,000, were awarded to several organizations focusing on creative projects bringing people together to improve the quality of life for Berks County residents. LIVE UNITED Grants totaling $18,000 supported the following organizations/programs in 2019: Barrio Alegria, Blankets of Hope, Transformations Transitional Living and Veterans Coalition of Pennsylvania. The grants provide programming/services for transitional housing, recovery from substance abuse, veterans and community leadership for young people.
Grants supporting SUMMER LEARNING PROGRAMS totaled more than $54,400 and were awarded to 12 local organizations to provide programs including a literacy component for Berks County Title 1 students (up to and including 3rd graders). Recipients included: 10th & Penn Elementary, Amanda E. Stout Elementary, Berks County Intermediate Unit, Brandywine Heights Elementary, Daniel Boone Area Primary Center, Governor Mifflin School District, Lauer’s Park Elementary, Muhlenberg Elementary, Olivet Boys & Girls Club, Reading Public Library, YMCA of Reading & Berks County and Yocum Institute of Arts Education. Additional grants of $50,000 were awarded in support of literacy-related programming to Reading Public Library and Yocom Institute for Arts Education.
COMMUNITY IMPACT GRANTS were awarded to 19 organizations totaling over $317,700; including: Barrio Alegria, Berks Connections/Pretrial Services, Berks Community Health Center, Berks County Intermediate Unit, Berks Encore, Berks Nature, Court Appointed Special Advocate – CASA, Communities in Schools, Easterseals of Eastern Pennsylvania, Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, Helping Harvest, Hope Rescue Mission, Jewish Family Service, Mary’s Shelter, New Journey Community Outreach, Penn State Health St. Joe’s, Reading Area Community College, Reading School District, Salvation Army Reading Corps. The grants support a wide range of programs in support of summer learning, access to health care and screening, homeless youth, low-income tax assistance, advocacy for children in foster care, access to food, quality childcare and an innovative program to share time and skills as part of a new program called “Time Bank/Good Neighbors”.