Eighteen years and rolling, The Wayne County Community Foundation has been the philanthropic engine here providing a much welcome boost to the county’s residents and organizations


Eighteen years and rolling, The Wayne County Community Foundation has been the philanthropic engine here providing a much welcome boost to the county’s residents and organizations.
“Our main goal is to preserve what we have here,” said foundation executive director Paul J. Edwards, formerly the superintendent of Wayne Highlands School District.
“And hopefully better serving everyone in Wayne County,” he added.
Indeed.
In 2009, the foundation - which is driven by a $2 million fund - doled out several grants and administered several funds that are earmarked for college scholarships and community projects.
Organizations throughout Wayne County, including public libraries, a community center, and the boy scouts among others, received $29,150 in grants this year, the foundation said in its 2009 annual report.
Since 2001 in fact, the foundation has awarded at least 152 grants that were selected on the merits that it would serve the “greatest community need” and assist the “greatest number of individuals.” Their mission in this regard is to advance access to the arts, literacy, culture, community development, education, the environment, and health and human services in the county, according to the foundation’s mission statements.
Twenty-two, local high school students were also awarded with college scholarships in 2009, with some given up to $2,000 for their higher education.
“We do a lot with education,” said Edwards, adding that it is making an investment in each student’s future.
In all, the foundation - which is operated by an 18-member board along with executive staff - awarded $33,500 in scholarships, an annual tradition that is supported at the bequest of families who dedicated their estate to the cause.
And just recently the foundation was integral in landing a $20,000 grant from U.S. telecommunications provider Verizon - which will go towards educating the county’s youth about Internet safety.
“We really played a key role in getting this,” said Edwards.
Next year, the foundation will focus on expanding its contributions to the community, he added, in an effort to hopefully enhance its philanthropic reach.
The Wayne County Community Foundation can be contacted at (570) 251-9993.
Also on the web at www.waynefoundation.org.