Adding to our spring grants, an anonymous donor has stepped up to provide another $150,000.
Between Lift Johnstown and Vision2025 – two initiatives supported by the Community Foundation – there has been a lot of positive momentum and civic engagement lately regarding revitalization efforts in Greater Johnstown. That good work has not gone unnoticed.
“It caught the attention of one of our donors who came to us and asked to see a few specific projects related to trail development and blight eradication that he might be able to support,” says CFA President Mike Kane. “We gave him several pages worth of ideas, and are thrilled to announce that he provided $63,500 toward blight elimination through the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority, plus an additional $86,500 to three important trail building initiatives, which were also supported by our Distribution Committee.”
The breakdown of anonymous funding for the trail building initiatives is as follows:
Stonycreek-Quemahoning Initiative, Inc. – Award: $18,500
This funding allows for the completion of the 17-mile bike loop around Quemahoning Lake. This will become the main bike trail from which smaller loops will branch out. The first of those smaller loops are being funded with $4,000 from the CFA’s spring grant distribution. These offshoots will provide trails of varying difficulty, to attract bicyclists of all skill levels. The trails will also be open to hikers, runners, snow-shoers, cross-country skiers, and hunters.
The bike trail will run by The Birdman Road boat launch, also on Quemahoning Lake. Here, the Cambria and Somerset Counties Conservancy will build a new pavilion with picnic table, with $2,000 in funding from the CFA’s spring grant round.
Once built, this project will provide shelter and comfort for families and individuals enjoying activities at the lake. The pavilion will enhance the experience of anglers, bikers, hikers, and nature gazers, who will find it a welcome spot for rest or repast.
Conemaugh Valley Conservancy – Award: $38,000
Significant work has been done on various local sections of the 911 National Memorial Trail. This funding will be used to:
1. Develop Phase II of Conemaugh Gap Gateway Park (cutting knotweed and other invasive species, planting native species to improve habitats, building a section of trail, and adding interpretive signage)
2. Improve the Inclined Plane Hillside Park (complete construction of the mountain-bike trail; develop and install directional signage; cut knotweed; and develop landscape design drawings to use when CamTran seeks bids for the engineering work)
3. Acquire properties along the Stonycreek River and Paint Creek, which have very good habitat and environmental value and are needed for the preferred route for the September 11th National Memorial Trail coming from Flight 93 National Memorial into Johnstown.
Cambria County Conservation and Recreation Authority – Award: $30,000
This grant will be used to continue the extension of the Ghost Town Trail with a goal to make it the first looped rail trail in the eastern United States. Specifically, this funding will be used to establish a trailhead in Revloc with parking for 4-8 cars, and to build and grade several miles of trail in that area.
Combined, these recreation initiatives drastically improve quality of life in our region, encouraging people to adopt healthier, more active lifestyles. They also take a giant leap forward in rebranding the Alleghenies as a must-visit region for anyone who loves the outdoors.
Spring Grant Distribution County-by-County Highlights:
In addition to encouraging outdoor activity, the Community Foundation’s spring grants enhance education, promote arts and culture, create healthier communities, and expand economic opportunity throughout our region.
Including the previously mentioned grants, projects benefitting multiple counties are receiving $47,475.
In Bedford County, five organizations are being granted a total of $11,500.
$5,000 will go to the Tussey Mountain School District to support its Folk Music Program. This funding will help provide ukuleles to every student in 3rd through 5th grades, along with ukulele lessons with professional duo Simple Gifts. The program will also extend into the greater community, with public ukulele workshops and performances, where all generations will get to play and learn about music. The school district hopes this program will break a cycle of dwindling access to music and music appreciation, in its rural, underserved elementary school.
$2,500 will support a new backpack program for the Bedford Area School District. The Bison Weekend Backpack Program began in January, and is already providing nutritious weekend meals to about 75 students in kindergarten through 8th grades. This funding will help stabilize and expand the program, to reach as many children as possible.
Twenty Cambria County organizations will receive nearly $62,000, combined.
$3,500 will go to the Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania for a new troop in the Johnstown Housing Authority’s Prospect complex. This troop will provide access to activities and a leadership program that have proven successful in helping to develop intellectually and emotionally well-rounded young women.
The Johnstown Neighborhood Boosters will receive $2,500 for a mobile block party stage. Organizers hope to strengthen our neighborhoods by providing the supplies and expertise to throw block parties. Not only do these parties foster comradery, but they bring much-needed respite to families who can’t afford vacations. The Boosters also have a large grill, photo booth, popcorn machine, and other equipment to create a celebration wherever they unpack. This grant will go toward building a mobile stage and trailer, which neighborhood groups could use to bring in live entertainment.
In Somerset County, 14 nonprofits will receive more than $33,000.
The Deer Valley YMCA Family Camp will use a $2,000 grant to expand and update technology in its new nature center. Deer Valley serves a number of lower-income school districts, and provides STEM-supporting activities for children and families. This is in addition to providing year-round, family-friendly, outdoor recreation.
$3,000 is going to Highlands Health – previously known as the Johnstown Free Medical Clinic – to expand outreach in Somerset County. Highlands Health provides free medical care to underserved, uninsured patients, which make up about 10% of the local population.
The body of grants distributed in this round reflects caring, local donors, who are invested in creating stronger communities.
Click here for a detailed list of every nonprofit being funding through the 2018 Spring Grant round.