Lancfound Blog

2016 Ah-Ha Grant Investments

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We’re proud to announce $560,000 in grant investments to 20 local community benefit organizations whose work supports the residents of Lancaster County. These grants, a part of the Ah-Ha Project: Creative Solutions to Real Problems, will support a range of programs including poverty elimination, affordable housing, refugee support, and early childhood development. Several of these investments reflect topics that the community identified during our At the Table conversations this spring.

The “matching program” challenge grants listed below require grantee partners to bring a one-to-one dollar match to their project thus assuring that an additional $360,000 dollars will be leveraged to generate impact in the local community. In 2016, the Community Foundation will invest nearly $2 million dollars in Lancaster County organizations through grantmaking programs in addition to inspiring the community to generate $7.1 million during the Extraordinary Give. These grants range from $10,000 to $60,000. Trained community volunteers and staff review grant proposals and recommend grants to the Community Foundation Board of Directors who ultimately approve the investments. Please find a complete list of 2016 Ah-Ha Grant Recipients below.

2016 Ah-Ha Grant Announcements from the Lancaster County Community Foundation

The Long Term Creative Solutions Matching Program increases economic opportunity and/or youth development in Lancaster City and Columbia Borough. Grants require organizations to generate matching funds.

ASSETS Lancaster $60,000 lcf_atthetable_logo-png
The Transforming Communities Through Business approach will build on the social enterprise ecosystem developed over the past three years. This initiative focuses on expansion and sustainability of 1) the Great Social Enterprise Pitch, 2) our work with existing companies to analyze and improve social and environmental impact, and 3) our Impact Fund to invest catalytic capital in social impact businesses creating thriving wage jobs.

Lancaster-Lebanon Education Foundation $60,000 lcf_atthetable_logo-png
The Refugee Community School at Reynolds Middle School supports refugee children and their families with access to critical support services they need to help them succeed in their new country. Services will be centralized in the midst of a large refugee community and will empower parents with resources such as Adult Cultural Orientation, Adult ESL and GED classes, financial literacy, homeowner/landlord rights and responsibilities, health and mental health education and job training.


Community Action Partnership                  $23,000
The Atlas Initiative uses a transformational approach that partners volunteers and community leaders with families wanting to make the journey out of poverty. The Atlas Initiative supports low-income individuals and families in achieving their goals by using person-centered planning and circles of support. Atlas’ strength-based model helps participants identify the resources they have and the goals they want to establish, learn how to get involved in their communities, and build beneficial relationships with others.

Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership $25,000 lcf_atthetable_logo-png
LHOP is strengthening our community house by house. Their work is improving neighborhoods through rehabilitated and affordable rental and for-sale housing in the Southwest Neighborhood of Lancaster City and the North 3rd Street area of Columbia Borough. This effort has expanded into a full-blown planning effort with Southwest Neighborhood residents through a grant from the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation.


Lancaster County Council of Churches          $32,000
Supports the Community Food and Resource Distribution Hub for all residents of Lancaster City, Columbia and surrounding communities. The Hub enables LCCC to serve nutritious meals countywide with greater efficiency than ever before. Services also educate clients on how to make healthy and affordable food choices. This new model in community cooperation will lead to systemic changes in the fight to end food insecurity and work to reduce education gaps, lost wages, and the high health costs of nutritional deficiencies.

Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board $40,000

The Day Report Center offers an alternative to incarceration for non-violent offenses or parole violations. By providing skill and knowledge assessment, remedial learning, job search skills, occupational skill training and job placement as well as wrap-around services including housing, drug and alcohol counseling & relapse prevention, cognitive behavioral therapy, mentoring, and other services, the Day Report Center is designed to support participants working to become productive citizens.


The Creative Solutions Matching Program supports implementation of creative solutions that increase financial stability and/or quality of life. This may include first-time implementation of a new approach, new business models for community benefit organizations, or scaling of evidence-based creative solutions.

Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County $40,000 lcf_atthetable_logo-png
CaseWorthy Lancaster will make local services — like accessing affordable housing — more easily accessible to those who need them. CaseWorthy Lancaster uses a county-wide, shared case management system to facilitate community-benefit sector cooperation through shared intake and eligibility screenings, data collection and outcome tracking. Rigorous program evaluation will become possible, service duplication will be reduced, and Lancastrians in need of services will need only complete a single intake assessment to determine their eligibility for the full range of supports, easing their path to self-sufficiency.

Luthercare _______________ $40,000
Systems Aligned in Learning (SAIL) is a five-partner collaborative focused on preschool children cared for by home-based childcare providers in Lancaster County. SAIL partners regularly visit providers’ homes to deliver services and resources, free of charge, with the goal of closing the achievement gap between the children in their care and peers enrolled in quality center-based care. By doing so, SAIL increases the likelihood that these children enter kindergarten prepared and ready to learn.

Spanish American Civic Association _______ $40,000 lcf_atthetable_logo-png
SACA’s Tec Centro, in collaboration with Harrisburg Area Community College – Lancaster Campus, will establish a new training program to provide bilingual customer service and call center personnel to a high demand industry. The program will be offered to low income residents of Lancaster City to enable them to qualify for entry level positions in this industry with an average starting wage of $13.00 per hour. The project will focus on English learners, including immigrants and refugees.


The Community Foundation supports the exploration of social enterprise as an approach to advance the social mission of a community benefit organization using market-based strategies. These strategies could include receiving revenue in exchange for a product or service.


ASSETS Lancaster $30,000
A feasibility study to investigate starting a social enterprise employment agency that provides full-time employment to individuals with barriers to employment and prepares them for permanent full-time placement in Lancaster County businesses.

Bethany Christian Services of Central PA $30,000
Bethany, Businesses & Youth Connection (BBYC) is an apprenticeship program that provides an opportunity for local business owners to make a lasting impact in the lives of at-risk youth. A network of Mentor Businesses will enable youth to receive training in the trade of their choice along with life skills training. The program will promote work readiness, thriving wage jobs, and self-sufficiency. A monthly stipend will be paid to youth for their work and participation in the program.

Church World Service $20,000  lcf_atthetable_logo-png
Church World Service seeks to develop an Interpreter and Translation Services Program. The project will hire a consultant to perform a feasibility study, market analysis, and create a business plan for an in-house interpretation/translation service program. High quality language services encompassing all refugee languages will bridge communication between local service providers and refugees; provide thriving wage employment at $40/hour for up to 80 skilled interpreters; and support refugee and immigrant integration in the community through accessible communication.

The Mix at Arbor Place ____________ $30,000
Funding will be utilized to implement a Youth Job Training and Employment program. This is step two in a plan to create a coffeeshop in partnership with other local organizations.


Supports programs that build an organization’s capacity to fulfill its mission through activities such as: strategic planning, board development, succession planning, marketing/ branding planning , and development planning.
Nine grants of $10,000 each: Central PA Food Bank, Clinic for Special Children, Friendship Community, Hope Within Ministries, Lancaster Farmland Trust, Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity, Lancaster Public Library, PRIMA Arts, Inc., SouthEast Lancaster Health Services.