One of the ways we help to improve the quality of life for Berks County residents is by funding programs that help support education activities and the general health of the community which can include youth sports.  

 There are so many benefits to youth sports. Through sports, children learn a variety of skills that they can apply to life, such as leadership, teamwork, and discipline. Additionally, children are given the opportunity to practice a healthy activity while making friends at the same time.  

Reading Youth Legion Baseball recognized the need for affordable sports in the Reading Area and created a summer baseball team for youths. To help cover operational costs, the 2022 Community General Hospital Healthcare Fund granted the program $6,000. The funding covered the costs of team registration and insurance, new uniforms, baseball equipment, and umpire salaries. The team played in the Senior Berks American Legion League for a total of eight weeks. These eight weeks provided Reading Youth with a baseball experience with a competitive atmosphere comparable to standard travel baseball.   

The 2022 Community General Hospital Healthcare Fund supports a variety of causes, all of which benefit the general health of the Berks County community. To learn more about this fund, visit https://bccf.org/funds/community-general-hospital-healthcare-fund/ 

K-9 units have been proven to strengthen local police forces by aiding in crime-fighting efforts. Thanks to the generosity of local residents, Berks County Community Foundation manages several charitable funds that benefit police K-9 teams in the area.  

Funding has supported several projects related to the training and maintenance of K-9 teams. The Cheltenham Township Police Department recently requested grants from these funds to support the costs of training for handlers in areas like decision-making, de-escalation, and threat assessment. A police team’s job looks different every day, so making sure the handler is well-equipped to handle various outcomes and scenarios is paramount to the success of both the K-9 team and the police team.  

Grants from these funds can also support the costs of certifying or recertifying police K-9s. The City of Reading Fire Department has one K-9 named Gracie who helps the fire department and police with arson cases. Gracie can tell the difference between the scents of various flammable liquids. She can alert officers where samples should be taken from, which provides investigators with more evidence of how a fire was started. The evidence that Gracie helps collect is vital in convictions of arson cases. The City of Reading Fire Department requested funding to pay for Gracie’s recertification so that she can continue to work in Berks County and surrounding counties.  

Grants from these funds can also support the costs of maintenance and upkeep of K-9 teams, which can be costly for police departments. Berks County Community Foundation has provided funding for a few different K-9 upkeep projects. Both the City of Reading Police K9 Unit and the Plymouth Township Police Department requested funding to finish renovations and upkeep for their K-9 buildings. Making sure the dogs have a safe and comfortable space to rest after a workday is imperative for the dogs’ well-being. Additionally, the buildings can serve as storage areas for K-9 supplies.  

The K9 Unit funds at Berks County Community Foundation have also provided grants to cover the cost of new training equipment, veterinary bills, pet insurance, and other necessary K-9 equipment. 

To learn more about the various K-9-unit funds that we manage, visit https://bccf.org/fund-directory/ 

Reading, May 26, 2023 – The Power of the Purse in Berks County Fund of Berks County Community Foundation recently awarded $56,000 in grants to seven organizations. The Power of the Purse Fund supports organizations and projects that focus on women’s education, economic empowerment, safety, rights, and health.

The following grants were awarded:

 “These grant recipients exemplify the spirit of the Power of the Purse initiative, which aims to uplift and empower women in our community,” said Cindy Milian, health and human services program officer. “The Power of the Purse Fund was established with the belief that women play a pivotal role in driving positive change and shaping the future of our society.”

Power of the Purse Fund was created in 2012 as a women’s giving circle. For more information, visit https://bccf.org/funds/power-of-the-purse-in-berks-county-fund/.

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Berks County Community Foundation is a nonprofit corporation serving as a civic leader for our region by developing, managing, and distributing charitable funds to improve the quality of life in Berks County, PA. More information is available at www.bccf.org.

Media Contact: Erica Caceres, Communication Manager, Phone: 610-685-2231, Email address: ericac@bccf.org

The Power of the Purse in Berks County (POP) in Berks County held its 2022-2023 kickoff meeting at Berks County Community Foundation. POP is a women’s giving circle where donations are pooled to create an impact in the Berks County community. In the meeting, there was a discussion on how to improve the lives of women and girls that included explaining The University of Pennsylvania’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy’s XX Factor Framework. Based on this framework, there are five dimensions that women look to thrive in their community: health, education, economic empowerment, personal safety, and legal rights.  

“Collectively, if there is not an impact on all five, women cannot thrive. Progress in one will create a domino effect with the other dimensions,” explains Katherina M. Rosqueta, Founding Executive Director for the Center for High Impact Philanthropy, School of Social Policy & Practice, University of Pennsylvania. 

The Power of the Purse in Berks County Fund of Berks County Community Foundation 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 education they need to do so.  

The deadline to apply is January 24, 2023. 

This funding is made possible by the generous women who are members of the Power of the Purse in Berks County, which was started in 2012 to improve the lives of local women and children. 

You can learn more about POP, how to apply for a grant, how to donate to the group, and what grants have been previously awarded at https://bccf.org/pop/

 Apply for a grant directly at http://bccf.link/grants. The deadline to apply for funding is January 24, 2023. 

READING, PA (May 12, 2022) – Celebrating its 10th year of improving the lives of local women and girls, the Power of the Purse in Berks County Fund announced Thursday it recently awarded $55,400 in grants to eight organizations in Berks County.

Administered by Berks County Community Foundation, this charitable fund has had 89 female members since its inception. The women have donated a total of $385,983 to 24 organizations over 10 years.

A group of women started the Power of the Purse in Berks County Fund in 2012 to improve the lives of local women and children. The group awarded its first grants in 2013.

The group marked its 10th year of giving with a ceremony at The Nature Place, the headquarters of conservation group Berks Nature at 575 St. Bernadine St. in Reading.

“The donations of our members are combined and targeted toward specific programs so that we have a greater local impact than we would if we each gave individually without a coordinated effort,” said Chiara Sockel Renninger, the group’s founder.

The women who give to the Power of the Purse in Berks County Fund have steadfastly sought to break the cycle of poverty for women and girls, said Franki Aitken, Chief Operating Officer at Berks County Community Foundation.

They do this by giving to programs that eliminate or address barriers for girls and/or women who want to enter or re-enter the workforce or seek the education they need to do so, Aitken said.

“While the impact of the Power of the Purse is measurable in the number of dollars donated and people assisted, the true impact – the extent to which lives were reclaimed, souls nurtured, and hope restored – is immeasurable,” Aitken added.

This past year, the 50 current members of the Power of the Purse reviewed grant applications, met with nonprofits, and voted to determine which programs received grants. For more information on the Power of the Purse, including how to join or contribute, go to bccf.org/pop.

This year’s grant recipients:

“When we started the Power of the Purse, I was confident there would be interest among other local women in joining,” said Renninger, the group’s founder. “Still, it’s gratifying to see the group is still growing and adding enthusiastic members after 10 years.”

Students Julianna, left, and Katie, will be part of the Girl Talk 101 club at John Paul II Center for Special Learning. The Power of the Purse in Berks County Fund is providing the club with startup money.
From left to right, students Julianna, Bella, Cynthia, and Katie will be part of the Girl Talk 101 club at John Paul II Center for Special Learning. The Power of the Purse in Berks County Fund is providing the club with startup money.

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Berks County Community Foundation is a nonprofit corporation that serves as a civic leader for our region by developing, managing and distributing charitable funds aimed at improving the quality of life in Berks County. More information is available at www.bccf.org.

NEWS RELEASE

Contact: Jason Brudereck, Director of Communication, jasonb@bccf.org, 610.685.2223

READING, PA (December 22, 2021) – Nine organizations have been awarded grants totaling $227,300 for programs that address health-related issues among residents of Berks and nearby counties.

The Home Health Care Foundation Fund of Berks County Community Foundation awarded the grants. This fund will again accept applications for another round of funding from January 1 until March 15, 2022.

The Home Health Care Foundation Fund provides grants to organizations and programs that do one or more of the following:

Grants are awarded to organizations and programs that serve Berks County and/or those counties that are contiguous to it. Preference is given to Berks County organizations.

The maximum amount available per organization is $40,000.

To apply, visit bccf.org and click on “Apply for a grant” under “Scholarships + Grants” in the website menu or go to http://bccf.link/grants. You must create an account to access the application system.

The Home Health Care Foundation Fund has distributed more than $500,000 since it was established at the Community Foundation in 2020.

The grants for this round of funding:

Below, Alvernia University’s Physical Therapy Center at Oakbrook provides pro bono, high-quality service to hundreds of patients.

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Berks County Community Foundation is a nonprofit corporation that serves as a civic leader for our region by developing, managing and distributing charitable funds aimed at improving the quality of life in Berks County. More information is available at www.bccf.org.

NEWS RELEASE

Contact: Jason Brudereck, Director of Communication, jasonb@bccf.org, 610.685.2223

READING, PA (November 23, 2021) – Two grant programs that address issues affecting local youth, women, and girls will accept applications from Berks County organizations until January 24, 2022.

To apply for a grant, use Berks County Community Foundation’s online application system. You must create an account to access the system: http://bccf.link/grants

Details about the programs:

The Power of the Purse is a program of Berks County Community Foundation. Learn more here: https://bccf.org/pop/

Applications will be accepted from 11/23/21 until 1/24/2022 for both programs.

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Berks County Community Foundation is a nonprofit corporation that serves as a civic leader for our region by developing, managing and distributing funds to meet existing and emerging community needs. More information is available at www.bccf.org.

NEWS RELEASE

Contact: Jason Brudereck, Director of Communication, 610.685.2223, jasonb@bccf.org

READING, PA (July 20, 2021) – Two established summer tennis programs and one pilot summer tennis program have received $10,400 in total funding from the Berks County Tennis Fund of Berks County Community Foundation.

The Berks County Tennis Fund of Berks County Community Foundation has awarded $269,860.20 in grants to area tennis programs since it was established in 2002.

This year’s grant recipients:

Participants in the COR Tennis program at Hampden Park on Tuesday, July 20 (photo courtesy of Reading Recreation Commission).

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Berks County Community Foundation is a nonprofit corporation that serves as a civic leader for our region by developing, managing and distributing charitable funds aimed at improving the quality of life in Berks County. More information is available at www.bccf.org.

NEWS RELEASE

READING, PA (July 8, 2021) – Berks County Community Foundation has awarded $3,600 from the Albany Township Tomorrow Fund to three organizations for programs that will benefit the entire Albany Township community.

The Albany Township Tomorrow Fund supports community organizations and initiatives that benefit the residents of Albany Township, Berks County. This fund was created in honor of Pauline Levan Hamm and Gloria Longenberger Hamm and their lifelong efforts to support and improve the Albany Township community. Since the fund was established in 2019, it has awarded $11,800 to local organizations.

This year’s grant recipients, award amounts, and programs supported:

The community-wide Easter Egg Hunt at New Bethel Church in Albany Township in 2021.

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Berks County Community Foundation is a nonprofit corporation that serves as a civic leader for our region by developing, managing and distributing charitable funds aimed at improving the quality of life in Berks County. More information is available at www.bccf.org.

NEWS RELEASE

PHILADELPHIA, PA (June 11, 2021) – The Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) elected Berks County Community Foundation Chief Operating Officer Frances A. Aitken as its president today for the 2021-2022 year. Aitken, a certified public accountant (CPA) from Exeter Township, was elected at PICPA’s 124th Annual Meeting held June 11.

Aitken is chief operating officer for Berks County Community Foundation in Reading, overseeing the management of the foundation’s assets and the operations of the foundation’s building. Aitken also works with local estate and financial planners on complex estate planning functions and assists their clients with designing charitable legacies.

In her address to the 20,000 members of the PICPA, Aitken said, “As I start my term as president, I am committed to ensuring the PICPA has the resources CPAs need for a post-COVID accounting profession. In some ways, the pandemic accelerated changes in our industry that were becoming inevitable. Now, it is up to all of us to embrace the positive ones for the good of the profession.”

Mike Colgan, PICPA’s CEO and executive director, added, “Franki has demonstrated excellent leadership throughout her years of PICPA membership at both the Reading Chapter and state level. We look forward to her unique perspective as a thought leader who operates in the not-for-profit space as the PICPA begins to navigate the post-pandemic business environment.”

Aitken received her Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Widener University. In 2014, Lehigh Valley Business gave Aitken the CFO of the Year Community Service Award and the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry selected her for the ATHENA Award, which honors professional excellence, community service, and active assistance to women in their attainment of professional excellence.

Aitken is a past president of PICPA’s Reading Chapter and a current member of the Pennsylvania CPA Foundation and CPA-PAC boards. In addition to her volunteer leadership with the PICPA, Aitken is a trustee of the Law Foundation of Berks County.

Frances A. Aitken

Other elected officers at the annual meeting include Aaron R. Risden, chief financial officer and treasurer of Vision Benefits of America in Carnegie, Pa. (president-elect); Thomas H. Flowers, managing partner with Flowers & Flowers CPAs in Harrisburg, Pa. (vice president); Ryan G. Lafferty, partner with Attolon Partners LLC in Philadelphia (vice president); and Elizabeth Krisher, manager partner with Maher Duessel in Pittsburgh (treasurer).

For a complete list and photos of the 2021-2022 PICPA leadership, visit www.picpa.org/leadership.

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The Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) is a premiere statewide association of more than 20,000 members working in public accounting, industry, government, and education. Founded in 1897, the PICPA is the second-oldest state CPA organization in the United States. To learn more about the PICPA visit www.picpa.org.