2 Sewickley nonprofits receive grants

Friday, November 22, 2019 | 6:01 AM

Two Sewickley nonprofits have received a total of $8,000 in grant funding from the Sewickley Valley Community Fund (SVCF).

Laughlin Children’s Center, which provides academic, speech therapy and other services to preschool-aged children, received $5,000 for the creation of a sensory learning center. The Samaritan Counseling Center, an organization that offers faith-based psychological counseling, was granted $3,000 to support uninsured and underinsured clients, according to a press release.

“These are two Sewickley-based organizations that provide specialized services to local residents, and we are pleased to support them,” said Mark Gensheimer, SVCF board president.

Beth Healey, director of development and marketing for Samaritan Counseling Center, said the licensed therapists in her organization provide counseling tailored to the faith needs of each individual client. Counselors address grief and trauma, depression, broken relationships and other issues.

The grant money will support the counseling center’s client aid fund, which provides fee subsidies for clients with a financial need.

“About a quarter of the people who come to us are either uninsured, underinsured, unemployed or even in a situation where their income isn’t adequate enough to pay really high insurance deductibles,” Healey said.

Laughlin Children’s Center did not return a call requesting comment.

SVCF distributes money quarterly to community organizations in the region and focuses on the 11 municipalities that make up the Quaker Valley School District.

“The idea behind this fund when it was first conceived was to build bridges to provide support for the organizations that serve all these communities,” John Poister, SVCF board secretary, said in an interview.

Both of the nonprofits that received funding applied on the SVCF website and gave a presentation to the board. The funds provided will match money from the organizations’ existing funding sources, Poister said.

SVCF, established in 1993, is currently raising money through an annual appeal process that is currently underway. In the past two years, SVCF has provided more than $90,000 in grant funding to organizations in the Sewickley Valley region. Recipients have included Sewickley Community Center, Sewickley Public Library, Cochran Hose Company and Sewickley Valley YMCA, according to the release.

Poister said local residents can support the organization online at sewickleyvcf.org. He also said SVCF has the financial resources to support more nonprofits in the area and encouraged additional applications.

“We would like to see more applications … we’re actually not only appealing for donations,” he said. “We’re appealing for groups to come forward who would be interested in seeing some grant funding.”