READING, PA (February 23, 2021) – I’ve been thinking about the Roaring 20s lately, a decade in Western culture sometimes called the “crazy years,” when music, fashion, technology, and culture let loose of old ideals and the economy boomed. There was certainly reason to celebrate: The First World War was over and the shadow of the Great Depression was far in the future.

But it wasn’t just the war that ended; so too had the global flu pandemic that started in February 1918 and lasted until April 1920, ultimately infecting more than a third of the world’s population and killing tens of millions.

Of course, there were good and bad aspects of the 1920s, and not everyone shared in the prosperity or good times equally. But, after years of voluntary food rationing, fearing for loved ones at home and abroad, and debating the wearing of masks, communities roared back to life, many stronger than ever.

That’s what I’ve been thinking about: the hope, the promise that we, too, are on the edge of a brilliant re-emergence, eager to jump back into life with both feet, bursting with fresh ideas and new ways of connecting with each other and the world.

Our local nonprofit organizations have been thinking about that bright future, too, and over the past few months, I’ve heard from many leaders about what comes next and what kind of planning their organizations need to do to be ready to meet demand and fulfill their missions in exciting new ways.

To help them prepare, the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors recently approved $300,000 for a trio of special grant programs. Organizations may apply for one, two, or all three of the programs, which focus on filling funding gaps to ensure organizations and the community are ready to connect and participate fully when the pandemic fades.

Because it will fade.

And we will roar.


Apply here


Special One-Time Grant Programs:

Nonprofit Planning Grants: Nonprofit organizations based in and serving Berks County are eligible to apply for one-time planning grants through this special program. The goal of this opportunity is to help organizations prepare for life after the pandemic. Details are here:

Arts & Culture Ramp-Up Grants: The goal of this special grant opportunity is to help Berks County’s nonprofit arts and culture organizations ramp up again for exciting public programs, exhibits, and/or events to be held during the fourth quarter of calendar 2021 or in 2022. Nonprofit organizations must be based in Berks County and the programming may be held anywhere in Berks County during that timeframe. Details are here:

You Are Here Grants: The goal of the special “You Are Here” grant program is to foster human connection in our communities around Berks County. Nonprofit organizations may apply for funding for projects aimed at connecting community members to each other in ways that help Berks County residents get to know their neighbors, whether in the same town or across the county. Projects that break down polarization, create a sense of shared community, highlight different points of view, and showcase a variety of voices will be prioritized.

Organizations are encouraged to be creative. Applications will be welcomed from all types of nonprofits, including but not limited to organizations that focus on arts, culture, children, young adults, seniors, worship, education, and community information. Details are here:




Heidi Williamson

Senior Vice President for Programs and Initiatives

Berks County Community Foundation