A look at the many projects your contributions support!

Your contributions are making a difference! The CAN DO Community Foundation supports so many worthwhile organizations throughout Greater Hazleton each and every year. Through our mission of conservation, preservation and reclamation, we truly are breathing new life into the community.

It is through your continued generosity and support of our mission that we have been able to make a positive difference in so many ways. As we begin our annual fund drive, we wanted to take a moment to update you on the status of the new and ongoing projects the foundations has been working on over the past year, as well as the annual scholarships that we support.

Ferrwood Camp The CAN DO Community Foundation has spent many years undertaking the restoration of Ferrwood, a historic summer music camp for children that was founded in the 1920s as a fresh air camp for children predisposed to tuberculosis. The Foundation and the support from the community, restoration continues at the camp, which is located in Drums. Completed restoration projects included stabilization of the facility with new foundation and structure support, refurbishing the dormitories, reconstructing a pump house, installing a new roof, repair and painting of the 115 windows as well as repair/replace and painting the wood clad exterior of the main building, upgrading the electrical and plumbing systems, providing new furnishings for the “community room” and additional parking. Most recently, the commissary was updated with a new commercial kitchen and presently a bandshell project is underway. Once completed it will include ADA compliant restrooms, classrooms, a turn of the century façade, new sound, lighting systems and taking care of deferred maintenance. As an initiative of the foundation, Ferrwood Music Camp was nominated to and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

CAN DO Community Park Right in the heart of downtown Hazleton, a once deteriorating former department store, has been transformed into the community’s “village green”. In partnership with the City of Hazleton, CAN DO and the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, the corner is a spot where community events can now be held and is a place to relax. The park is an attractive entranceway to the Hayden Family Center for the Arts. The ultimate vision of the park will be realized once planned phases are completed.

Repurposing the former Security Savings Building A centerpiece in the revitalization efforts of downtown Hazleton, the Foundation worked collaboratively with the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress to acquire, through tax sale, and the fundraising through the “Banking on the Arts” campaign to rehabilitate and restore the historic building. The former bank in now the home of the Hazleton Art League. As a major campaign contributor, the building is named the “Hayden Family Center for the Arts”.

Wiltsie Center at the Historic Castle Although the former Hazleton High School was destined for the "wrecking ball," the community rallied to save the architectural masterpiece.  The shuttered school was restored and retained to serve the area's students. However, the near 1200 seat auditorium was boarded-up due to the overall restoration costs exceeding available funds. A community campaign was established raise funds to return the auditorium to its original splendor.  The CAN DO Community Foundation was a major contributor to the restoration effort, and in 2011 the community celebrated the first live performances at the named Wiltsie Center for the Performing Arts. 

Sofia Coxe House The Foundation was successful in securing funding for restoration work at the Sofia Coxe House, built in 1869 in Drifton. Sophia Coxe, known as the “angel of the coal fields” lived here with her husband Eckley and tells of the family, the era and of the coal industry. The restoration project included exterior wood repair replacement, expansive porch restoration, system upgrades exterior painting to match the original color scheme.

Freeland YMCA The Foundation worked with the Freeland YMCA and the Borough of Freeland on a project to restore the front façade of the building to its original look. Previous work on the front of the facility had diminished the architectural integrity of this well-utilized community center. The project was part of a community-wide capital campaign. The Foundation completed applications and received funding for the restoration of its historic façade and interior work and received that augmented the fund drive. Additional funding has been secured to complete the side facing the community park.

Former Pioneer Firehouse Facade (home of the Greater Hazleton Historical Society) – The Foundation worked with the Historical Society and the Downtown Alliance for Progress to redesign the museum’s façade to an early 20th century firehouse look. Funding was secured by the Foundation. The completed project has enhanced its appearance and improved energy efficiency of the museum.

St. Gabriel House – The Foundation worked with the Housing Development Corp. of NEPA to restore the near 100 year-old building that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The former Sisters of Mercy convent was repurposed to residential use. The completed project restored and preserved the structure to assure its continuing presence. The unique and irreplaceable stone, masonry, woodwork and stained glass required specialized attention.

Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress The creation of the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress was the outcome of a Foundation “ideation” meeting when community representatives met and discussed future endeavors. It resulted in the completion of a strategic plan. The nonprofit organization was established to carry out the plan. Since then, the Foundation has partnered with DHAP and other organizations and businesses in completing downtown projects including home of the Greater Hazleton Art League, the Hayden Family Center for the Arts, the CAN DO Community Park, the Penn State Launch Box, several commercial building and façade improvements. The foundation provides financial support to the organization.

Sheppton Mine Disaster and Rescue Marker The Foundation sponsored and funded the erection of a Pennsylvania Historical Museum and Commission historical marker at the Sheppton site to commemorate the 52nd anniversary of the day two coal miners in a mine cave-in were rescued.

Little League Fields at Correale Stadium The Foundation teamed up with Hazleton Little League, the City of Hazleton, Hazle Township and CAN DO to improve the fields to accommodate the increased demand for kids learning to play baseball. A master plan was completed and the first phase of the plan to improve the area located in both Hazleton and Hazle Township was completed. The funding from the Foundation augmented local contractors who donated equipment and labor to prepare the area for multiple fields, install fencing and backstops, and provide ADA access to the lower area.

Louis Schiavo City View Park With the donated land and under the leadership of the Tri Area Recreation Authority, the Foundation aided in the initial preparation of the expansive parcel to become a recreation park.

Edgar L. Dessen Community Service Award The Edgar L. Dessen Community Service Award recognizes area high school students and their volunteer efforts in the community. Through the Dessen award, a scholarship to Junior Leadership of Hazleton is awarded to eligible high school students to further their experience in service and learning leadership and teamwork skills.

Joseph Yenchko Award The CAN DO Community Foundation established the first Joseph Yenchko Award – a scholarship named for the first CAN DO employee. Awards with these “camperships” are made annually to area students to attend Ferrwood Music Camp. Other campership donations continue to grow each year. A committee of representatives from the Foundation and the community reviews campership requests and make awards.

Penn State Scholarships The CAN DO Community Foundation Scholarship at Penn State Hazleton provides scholarships annually. The fully endowed fund continues to grow, allowing for increased scholarships to new and existing students to begin and continue their education at the campus.

Every penny you donate to our annual fund drive goes directly toward helping organizations and causes like these. We hope we can count on your support this year as we continue to focus on having a positive impact throughout Greater Hazleton.