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Mom's House, Inc. of Johnstown used an Early Childhood Education Fund grant award to hire a certified Early Childhood Education teacher and pay for teachers to further their education. It also covered new Pennsylvania Department of Education approved preschool and early childhood education curriculum.

Investing in Our Future and Maximizing Impact

In 2019, the Community Foundation launched two new funds to address critical needs in the region, both aimed directly at building a brighter future for the people who call this community home.

Those new funds, Community Initiatives and Early Childhood Education, resulted from our ongoing work to monitor emerging needs in our community as we considered feedback from hundreds of nonprofits in the field and the changes in our region. In this case, we also crunched data: unemployment, household income, and the percentage of children who are able to read at a “proficient” or better level by third grade (a standard marker for overall success in life).

We committed to making change, building new strategies, and focusing our grantmaking accordingly.

Since then, with our donors’ help, the Community Foundation has been able to direct more than $1.5 million in grants to local organizations working to transform our region’s economic viability and local preschoolers’ access to high-quality pre-k education.

A Vision Together 2025 Greenspace Capture Team working on the Johnstown Greenway Trail in 2022.
School children check out the new mural, part of Bottle Works' "Hometown Heroes" project, which received Community Initiatives funding.

A few highlights of outcomes we’ve seen so far, thanks to our donors’ generosity:

  • Ongoing support for Vision Together 2025, an organization that has organized more than 2,000 volunteers, who have completed projects as small as cleaning up neighborhood parks and as large as securing a $25 million federal transportation grant to rebuild the historic Pennsylvania Railroad train station in downtown Johnstown.
  • An increase in the number and variety of shops and businesses in the region over the past three years (Johnstown Area Regional Industries, for example, has helped more than 100 new businesses launch operations in the Greater Johnstown area over the past three years).
  • Boosted beautification, trail-building, and placemaking efforts that we believe have contributed to an increase of $2.6 million in annual visitor spending in Cambria County and an increase of $4.6 million in travel demand in Cambria County.
  • Funding to provide for tuition assistance to help more families send their preschoolers to high-quality early childhood education.
  • Funding to help preschool teachers further their education and early learning facilities implement upgrades, expand, or improve their curriculums and programs.
  • Funding to support a collaborative, regionwide survey to identify the most effective path forward for improving access to high-quality preschool learning for the children in our region who lack access (currently one in two children born in Cambria and Somerset counties).
A 2022 groundbreaking ceremony for another extension of the award-winning Ghost Town Trail. The Cambria County Conservation & Recreation Authority received $100,000 in Community Initiatives funding to extend the trail in September 2020.
In the first Early Childhood Education Fund awards in 2019, the Learning Lamp received $60,000 to help enhance shared resources among 19 different facilities in our region, including the Trinity Lutheran Child Care and Learning Center in Somerset.

Both these funds were designed to become sources for permanent grantmaking in our community, so we also have created opportunities for those who care about our region to make these causes part of their legacies. To learn more, reach out to CFA Director of Donor Services Katrina Perkosky at or 814-208-8411.

You can also make a gift to either fund at any time.

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