CAMBRIA COUNTY— Since 1998, The Portage Regional Endowment Foundation has distributed more than $45,000 to the local community.
“We are small group that is civic-minded and we like to give back to our community,” said Randy Stager, Chairman.
The Portage Area Regional Planning Commission started the endowment as a way to meet the long-term needs of the Portage community. They established it through the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies to help distribute the funds properly and as an easy way for donors to make contributions.
“The community has done bake sales and raffles to help raise money for projects in the past but it was not enough to meet grant matches and we have missed out on funding opportunities,” said Stager. “This endowment is a way to help prevent that from happening.”
The fund began holding a benefit in conjunction with the Portage Area Summerfest that takes place every August. The Portage $10,000 Name Board Fund is to benefit efforts of the Portage community. It’s become tradition and something people in the community look forward to participating in.
“People know about this now and it’s become second nature. People want to buy tickets for it,” said Stager.
The money from the ticket sales helps get the community involved and raises money for community projects, according to Stager.
Throughout the years money has been given to help fight the town’s drug problem, emergency services, the library, and educational programs.
“I remember giving one grant to a community group and they were so grateful and appreciative for it,” said Stager. “It’s something that always stuck with me and motivates us to continue raising money for the fund. A small gesture can make a big difference.”
Stager said setting the funds up through the Foundation was an easy process; it’s made giving to the community a simple task.
“It makes you feel good to accomplish something and be able to give back,” said Stager. “It’s rewarding to know that funds are there for different projects in the community. It’s something that has lasted and something a lot of communities don’t have.”
To find out how to set up a fund to benefit your community, call Katrina Perkosky at the Community Foundation at 814-536-7741 ext. 119.