Shane C. Stewart Memorial Youth Fund


In memory of Carol Stewart, Carol’s loved ones will determine how donations made to this fund can best benefit the community and honor Carol’s memory.

Allen R. Schutt Memorial Fund


Allen’s loved ones will determine how donations made to this fund can best benefit the community and honor Allen’s memory.

The Community Foundation administers memorial funds to help families who want to do something charitable in their loved one’s memory.

Penny Jar Fund


Grants from the Penny Jar Fund support the non-tuition-related needs of college students who have an unexpected financial crisis.

The Penny Jar Fund was created by Dorothy Lehman Hoerr in memory of her father, who always saved his pennies in glass jars. In Dorothy’s junior year of college, her father was out of work with a back injury. After tuition was paid, little money was left for books. The 12 jars of pennies he gave her paid for her books that semester. Today, the Penny Jar Fund honors Earl Lehman by providing emergency assistance to students in financial crisis.

The purpose of the fund is to provide non-tuition-related financial assistance to students enrolled in a college located in Berks County, Pennsylvania, who have encountered an unexpected financial crisis as a result of an unplanned turn of events. This is available to currently-enrolled undergraduate students. Students who have not yet graduated from high school are not eligible to apply. Graduate students are not eligible to apply.

Grants from the fund are primarily for living expenses, professional testing fees, books, childcare, transportation, uniforms, and other emergency needs. The fund will not support tuition expenses.

Power Of The Purse In Berks County Fund


The Power of the Purse in Berks County Fund awards grants to programs that break the cycle of poverty by eliminating or addressing barriers for Berks County girls and/or women who want to enter or re-enter the workforce or seek the education they need to do so. For many women, employment is not only a matter of empowerment; it’s a matter of survival. Barriers such as the ability to afford adequate childcare, a lack of transportation, a gap in skills, limited access to dental care or healthcare, or a lack of information about their options keep some women and girls from reaching their full potential.

If your organization makes a difference in the lives of women and girls in Berks County by helping them discover or navigate their way to gainful employment, and ultimately, self-sufficiency, we encourage you to apply for a grant from the Power of the Purse in Berks County Fund.

All proposals will be reviewed by members of the Power of the Purse in Berks County Fund committee, who will conduct site visits as appropriate (and virtually as necessary) in March and April. Final grant decisions will be made in late April, with funds available after May 15. 

The Power of the Purse (POP) committee is a women’s giving circle. The dedicated group of women meet several times a year to learn about barriers women and girls face in Berks County. They have visited local organizations that work to break down those barriers, listened to expert speakers, and made thoughtful decisions about how best to help using their own resources.

Four meetings per year:

Meeting 1 – Learn. Listen to a local expert who works directly with women and girls who are working to rise from poverty.

Meeting 2 – Review. Read reports from the previous year’s grants and begin the application review process for the current year.

Meeting 3 – Give. Hear feedback from each site visit leader, get questions answered, and vote to see which organizations will receive grants that year.

Meeting 4 – Celebrate. Gather with other members as well as representatives from the organizations that were awarded grants to honor the impact those grants will have.

7 Reasons to Join Power of the Purse

Improve the Lives of Women and Girls in Berks County

Women have a huge impact on our families, community and the next generation of both women and men.

The Power of the Purse has focused on funding programs that help break the cycle of poverty by eliminating or addressing barriers for Berks County girls and women who want to enter or re-enter the workforce or seek the education they need to do so.

Just scroll down to see the list of grants we’ve given to organizations that are doing important work.

Participate in Research-Based Philanthropy

With Power of the Purse, you can rest easy knowing your dollars are spent in a responsible, effective way. Our funding process starts with a discussion of local issues affecting women and girls and continues with an evaluation of and site visits to programs aimed at improving their lives.

Magnify Your Impact

Through the power of collective giving, your annual gift has the added impact of gifts from dozens of other women. Nowhere else can a relatively modest gift do so much to assist organizations and the women and girls they serve.

Tailor Your Involvement

Whether you prefer just writing a check or also becoming deeply involved, you’re free to do as much or as little as you like, and you can evaluate your involvement every year.

Learn About Issues and Philanthropy

Power of the Purse is an opportunity to learn about the needs of our community and how to effectively address them.

Meet Like-Minded Women

Whether you’re a newcomer or a Berks County native, Power of the Purse helps you connect with women in our community and beyond. Share your expertise, learn about pressing issues and build lasting relationships with new friends.

Leverage Operating Costs and Expertise

As an initiative of Berks County Community Foundation, Power of the Purse benefits from their years of experience and financial stewardship.