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BVA Charitable Fund Grants Are Now Available






    Up to $15,000 will be available this academic year to further educational programs, acquire special learning tools and benefit students in the Belle Vernon Area School District, directors of the BVA Charitable Fund have announced.


     The grants will be awarded at three levels, based on a scoring rubric involving criteria such as nature of a project, student impact, collaboration with teachers and/or community, innovation and creativity, clear objectives and future value.


     Last year, the first full year of organization, the BVA Charitable Fund contributed $2,500 for a career-oriented UcanB mentoring program that matched students with business and professional leaders.


    “Because of a successful BVA Derby Day event, greater awareness of the fund and more people donating, we’re now able to provide a six-fold increase in the amount of money available to enhance educational opportunities in our schools,” said Jamie Protin, president of the non-profit organization affiliated with the highly-regarded Community Foundation of Westmoreland County and the Pittsburgh Foundation, which oversee BVA’s investments and legal compliance.


    Funding will be awarded in two rounds (Nov. 30 and April 30, 2019) after submissions by teachers or teachers acting on behalf of student groups. After the applications are scored, they will be further evaluated and voted upon by the BVA Charitable Fund directors.


    The three levels of grants are:

---- Mini grants -- $50 to $1,000, intended for classroom-level projects that meet a unique classroom need and directly benefit students.

---- School grants -- $1,000 to $5,000, intended for multi-classroom projects such as updating the science lab, purchasing musical scores or bringing in outside speakers and programs.

---- Major grants -- $5,000+, intended for schoolwide projects such as audio, visual, digital or language lab stations, special computer software and library upgrades.


     “The grants aim to fulfill the fund’s vision of enhancing the experience of our young people through the arts, activities, athletics and academics,” Protin said. “We’re looking at initiatives that go beyond what’s available through the school budget, ones that keep BVA on track as a leader in education and sustain us as a growing place to live and learn.”


     Acting Superintendent Dr. Michele Dowell, also a BVA Charitable Fund director, has distributed information to staff to launch the first round of grant applications.


    “This opens an exciting door to potential new opportunities for students, teachers and community in general,” she said. “As the fund grows, its importance and impact as a resource will be increasingly significant.”


     Other fund directors are Tom Svrcek, Gary Caruso, Joe Grata, John Lofink, Gina C. Lynn, Tom Simon, Dr. James V. Scirotto, Toni-Jo Kunka, Mike Stangroom and its newest appointee, Lizzette Sterner of Rostraver, Monessen branch manager of Community Bank.