Through First Focus, we invite our team and the community to join forces around a key issue. This initiative helps clarify our own efforts—and encourages all of us to advocate for positive change.
Currently on the agenda
Addressing Systemic Racism
In response to a national surge of racist events, we didn’t want to simply make statements. We wanted to take meaningful action. Here’s what FCFP is doing:
We’ve taken a close look at ourselves (an ongoing work) by undergoing bias training as a staff. We also diversified our board by adding new voices.
After experiencing the benefit to our own team, we decided to offer free bias training (led by a third party) to other area nonprofits.
We organize discussions for a cross-section of community members to talk about racism close to home—and what we can do about it.
Our grant application now requests diversity statements. Our funding decisions will prioritize organizations committed to equity.
We identified 11 nonprofits poised to make a difference and invited them to participate in a free monthly seminar at FCFP.
We created a task force of community members with the experience and passion to support our efforts.
The First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania (FCFP) has an exciting opportunity to involve residents in philanthropy and community causes. FCFP has created an Innovation Grant Challenge called “Spark Tank,” designed to build and strengthen communities.
With a current focus on systemic racism, First Focus and the “Spark Tank” are designed to encourage individuals with ideas on advancing or promoting racial equity. We want creative people with big ideas. People with dreams. People that have an idea to make our community better!
Spark Tank is a component of FCFP’s First Focus Project which leverages the Foundation’s leadership platform to address critical issues impacting the quality of life for all members of the community it serves.
Spark Tank is FCFP’s take on the television show ‘Shark Tank’ and is designed to encourage the community to work towards a more equitable society by overcoming obstacles relating to race relations,” said Betty Gilmour, Director of Grantmaking. “If you have an idea, but never had the resources to put your idea into motion, now is your opportunity.
Innovation Grant Challenge
Spring 2023 Recipients
Seventeen applications were received from community residents. Members of the FCFP First Focus committee reviewed the submissions and invited finalists for an in-person presentation. Ultimately, FCFP selected three projects to invest up to $25,000 each. The projects will be facilitated through local 501c3 nonprofit organizations, who FCFP identified as partners to help with implementation of the programs.
The Spring 2023 Spark Tank recipients include:
- Tell YO Story – Diana DeVaughn and Melodie Carter-Shaw are looking to inspire more people of color to share their unique life experiences using creative arts through the project “Tell YO Story.” In partnership with the Community Theatre League (CTL), they will challenge individuals to explore their creative gifts and talents through music, dance, acting, writing, and/or designing. The project will launch on Friday, February 3, 2023, with Janeen Hammond telling her life experiences through her production of Journey: A One Women Show. Young adults, age 15 and older, are invited to join bi-weekly sessions regarding formulating their story in their chosen artistic modality. Participants will craft their story under the guidance and tutelage of theatrical instructors and will perform quarterly productions that will culminate into a grand production scheduled for November 3rd at the CTL.
- See My Color – Sisters Natalie Griffin and Givonna Griffin are on a mission to increase racial equity through exposure and acknowledgement of the differences that various cultures contain. See My Color will work with a production team at WVIA to create a social media series of BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color) sharing personal information/experiences relative to their race, ethnicity and culture. The Griffin’s are planning their interview schedule and will be invited to attend several community events throughout the year to connect with interested participants.
- Links to Lycoming – Lycoming College seeks to strengthen Williamsport community connections for the diverse student population participating in their pre-semester orientation program which supports incoming students recruited through the College’s partnerships with several primarily urban national charter and community-based networks. In partnership with STEP, Inc., an AmeriCorps volunteer will coordinate community tours, cultural and recreational activities, and meetings with Lycoming County business, government, and faith leaders. The College will also launch a “Sponsor-a-Student” program where vetted local families will provide a home-away-from-home, offering a safe space for a student in need of familial support while attending Lycoming College.