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Wyomissing Foundation bestows $300k grant for CollegeTowne initiative

By Alvernia University

Wyomissing Foundation bestows $300k grant for CollegeTowne initiative

READING, Pa. – Alvernia receives a $300,000 grant from the Wyomissing Foundation to support the student powered business incubator, the flagship program through the university’s O’Pake Institute for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship.

“This grant is another step forward for the Reading CollegeTowne movement, Alvernia students, local business and entrepreneurs, community organizations and future Reading residents,” said Alvernia University President John R. Loyack. “We are grateful for the partnership with the Wyomissing Foundation and for their generous support of this transformational initiative in downtown Reading.”

The student powered business incubator is central to the Reading CollegeTowne initiative, the innovative strategy of expanding the campus into the downtown area to continue its Franciscan mission of serving the underserved through education and economic development.

The incubator is student-run and provides experiential learning opportunities for students of all disciplines. This initiative will allow students to create, collaborate and lead while providing hands-on support to new ventures and entrepreneurs in the community.

“The Wyomissing Foundation is always seeking to invest in catalytic initiatives that produce long-term and game-changing outcomes for our community,” said Wyomissing Foundation President Karen Rightmire. “Reading CollegeTowne and the student powered business incubator have the potential to accomplish that by transforming economic and community development in the heart of downtown Reading for decades to come. In addition, both Alvernia students and current residents living in Reading and Berks County will have increased educational, employment and economic opportunities because of these initiatives. We’re pleased to be a partner with Alvernia University in helping make all this happen.”

The grant will be awarded over three years and will support the expansion of the student powered business incubator, including new staff and student fellow positions, training and resource expansion for incubator clients.

Previously this year, the O’Pake institute announced partnerships with SCORE Berks Schuylkill Chapter, Lehigh Valley Angel Investors, Kutztown University’s Small Business Development Center and Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, as well as the institute’s first corporate sponsors, Pepsi® and Customers Bank.

Alvernia has partnered with RLPS Architects and Warfel Construction to begin the renovation and retrofitting of the former CNA building this year after it was purchased by the university on June 30. The university recently announced the addition of three engineering programs that will be housed at the location. Alvernia’s communication and business programs, student powered business incubator and O’Pake Institute will also be located at the downtown location.