WCU Students Demonstrate Benjamin Franklin’s Philanthropic Legacy through Annual Grant

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WEST CHESTER, PA – February 17, 2020 – The Chester County Community Foundation (CCCF) aims to grow legacy philanthropy by engaging students in the power of giving back.  The Community Foundation recently partnered with the Honors Stewardship and Civics Engagement Class at West Chester University (WCU) to review and recommend the nonprofit recipient(s) of the 2020 Benjamin Franklin Trust Fund award.  The class is taught by Dr. Gerardina L. Martin, Assistant Director for the Honors College at WCU, who also serves on the Community Foundation’s Grants Committee. 

Students in the Honors Stewardship and Civics Class use the knowledge they have gained on grant proposal writing and effective due diligence in the grant-making process to evaluate grant proposals submitted by qualifying nonprofit organizations.  The students also continuously explore and learn about Ben Franklin’s accomplishments and core values. At the end of their class, a student group presents their recommendation for the grant recipient(s) of the Benjamin Franklin Trust Fund grant to the Grants Committee.  The mission and programs of the considered charitable organizations must reflect Benjamin Franklin’s core values and interests.

In Benjamin Franklin’s will (1790), he left 1,000 pounds of sterling to the city of Philadelphia.  This donation by Benjamin Franklin became the Benjamin Franklin Trust Fund and was invested to last in perpetuity.  Indeed, Franklin’s philanthropic vision remains a reality 230 years later.  In 1995, the Trust was allocated among numerous nonprofit entities, including several Philadelphia-area community foundations.  Now, annually through Benjamin Franklin’s Trust Fund, the Community Foundation makes grants to programs and initiatives in Franklin’s legacy to causes such as fire companies, libraries, and educational programs.

This year’s student group members are Grace Piznar, Kartik Kumar, Carrie Smith, and Gracie Citro. Gracie Citro was also the recipient of the Hibberd Scholarship, a fund of CCCF.  For this year’s Benjamin Franklin Trust Fund process, the student’s narrowed down their deliberations to twenty-five grant proposals from qualifying nonprofits.  The class developed guidelines and criteria for their decision making.  Lastly, they discussed and decided on which organization(s) to recommend a grant award.  The final decision was to recommend a $660 grant to West Chester Public Library and a $340 grant to The Garage Community and Youth Center.

The Chester County Community Foundation is proud of these student’s commitment to giving back to their communities and carrying on legacy philanthropy for generations to come.

Left photo captions (L to R): (Top Row): Lou Beccaria, Ph.D., Steven Savage, MBA, Joanne Peskoff Bear, Esq., Mary Latoff, Dr. Gerardina Martin, Kartik Kumar, Stephenie Stevens (Middle Row): Beth Harper Briglia, CAP, CPA, Grace Piznar, Gracie Citro, Carrie Smith (Lower Row): Meg Freeman, Michael Louis, Esq., Kathy Wileczek, CPA

Right photo caption (L to R): Grace Piznar, Gracie Citro, Carrie Smith, and Kartik Kumar


About the Chester County Community Foundation

Headquartered in West Chester’s Historic Lincoln Building, the Chester County Community Foundation connects people who care with causes that matter, so their legacy philanthropy makes a difference now and forever.  The Community Foundation holds over $70 million in trust and annually awards $3.5+ million in grants and scholarships. www.chescocf.org.