CDCF Annual Meeting

Officers were elected and accomplishments highlighted during the CAN DO Community Foundation’s 24th annual meeting held at Ferrwood Music Camp.

Prior to the meeting, foundation President Gary F. Lamont recognized Phil Latella for his leadership and volunteering efforts that, along with his team of volunteers, make the music camp a reality. The meeting opened with a thank you also to the members of the board, volunteers, the community and CAN DO for their contributions of time, talent and resources to the foundation during the past year. Lamont noted the significant funding that has been approved for projects that have been “adopted” by the Foundation.

“The effort of board members to be engaged in projects is noteworthy. It allows the foundation to provide support and to leverage their funds with other funding sources to accomplish mission-focused projects,” Lamont said.

Accomplishments of the year were highlighted at the foundation’s annual meeting.

Donald Pachence provided the treasurers report, noting the favorable investment results as well as the minimal cost to operate the foundation due to the significant administrative, accounting and property management support provided by CAN DO staff.

Nancy Stasko provided an update on the plan for the restoration of the lower fields at Correale Stadium. This project is a partnership with the City of Hazleton and the Hazleton Little League. Bids were recently awarded and start of construction is being scheduled.

Krista Schneider reviewed the progress with the downtown Hazleton revitalization initiatives. She discussed the recent announcements regarding the Main Street designation and the interest by the banking community with FNCB, Luzerne Bank, Mid-Penn (Miner’s Bank) and Wells Fargo initially committing to participate in a tax credit program. Additional banks have displayed an interest in the program that is one of the benefits of the Main Street designation. Progress on repurposing the Security Savings building to house the Art League and the numerous investments that are being made in the downtown were discussed. Downtown activities including the First Friday events and the Farmers Market were noted.

Schneider also discussed the grant award from the PA Historic Commission to assist in the funding for the planning of a historic district. The foundation applied for the funds on behalf of the Greater Hazleton Historical Society. The Board recognized Schneider for receiving the P.E.A.R.L. Award through the Hazleton YWCA.

Elaine Judd provided an progress update on the restoration of the Freeland YMCA façade. Phase one is completed and phase two is being advertised presently. The foundation is working with the YMCA Board of Directors, Executive Director Joe Flanagan, Joe Rudawski and Deb Carr to secure additional funding to complete the next phase of the façade restoration. The Board recognized Judd for receiving the CAN DO Volunteer of the Year award.

During the year, the project to place a historic marker at the site of the Sheppton Mine Disaster through the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Office was completed and the marker was erected in a community ceremony. The foundation funded the plaque while a team led by member John Patton completed the necessary paperwork.

It was noted the “adopted” Saint Gabriel House has been successful in the initial response from donors to successfully restore the landmark building.

Ross Valenti, the instructors and students at the Keystone Job Corp were recognized for their projects that aid in the maintenance of the Ferrwood Music Camp. Most recently a new stone fireplace was built by the masonry class.

Chris Stamatopolous shared that this year’s Ferrwood Music Camp was at full capacity. Board members were able to enjoy the camp’s practice sessions by a number of talented young people. The Board enjoyed a breakfast prepared by Stamatopolous and served by volunteers. Other uses of the camp include a camp for visually impaired children and a nutrition and wellness camp. The Commission on Economic Opportunity was recognized by the Board for their invaluable assistance.

The CAN DO Community Foundation also awarded its “Camperships” to area students to attend Ferrwood Music Camp. This year’s recipients areGenna Rainey, Haley Nelson, Jenna Wetterau, Gianno Tomaino and Josh Wufsus.

For the eighth year, the Joseph Yenchko Award for “Camperships” was given to area students to attend Ferrwood Music Camp. The awards were named for CAN DO’s first employee. This year’s recipients are Sean Brislin, Hannah Kunetz, Alexis Rossi, Nora Herseim, Caylee Herseim, Kathleen Graham, Marissa Clatch, Kaitlynne Drennan, Janessa Clatch and Kayla Paredes.

The application review committee consisted of Phil Latella, principal at Heights Terrace EMS; Chris Stamatopoulos, of CEO; and Nancy Stasko, of CAN DO; Stephanie Latella, Ferrwood Music Camp Lead Counselor and Louis Kugelman, music teacher at Drums Elementary School.

The Board expressed gratitude to Stasko in successfully seeking donations and thanked Carla Thaller of SAMI Hotels, who provided lodging for the camp instructors, along with Hershey, Tootsie Roll, and Cargill, who provided donations. Stasko also reviewed the marketing committee’s accomplishments with the updated website, newsletters and news releases.

This year, the foundation presented the 15th annual Edgar L. Dessen Community Service Award scholarships to seven students from the high schools that serve Greater Hazleton. Incoming Dessen Scholars are Erika Book, HAAS; Hayley Fellin, HAHS; Sydney Karpowich and Gabriella Kupsho, MMI; Aaron Srinivasan and Tina Capparell, MCHS; and Joel Hinkle, WAHS. Stasko thanked her selection committee – Charles Burkhardt, Elaine Judd and Lani Drobnock.

Last year’s Dessen Scholars, graduates of the Junior Leadership program, are Ann Amentler (HAAS) of Drums, Jerry Gasser (HAHS) and Jenna O’Donnell (MCHS), both of Hazleton who are also CAN DO Student Board members this year, Morgan Gower (WAHS) of Weatherly, Garrett Kost (MMI) of Freeland, Natalie Ryba (HAAS) of Sugarloaf, and Nicolas Vitagliano (HAHS) of Hazle Township.

Board member and Chairman of the Annual Fund Drive Earl Berger reviewed plans for the upcoming fund drive. Berger expressed his appreciation to the individuals and businesses in the community for their contributions to the campaign and recognized board members and volunteers for their efforts in the drive.

Officers elected were: Gary F. Lamont, president; Earl C. Berger, vice president; Nancy R. Stasko, secretary; Donald M. Pachence, treasurer; Elaine Judd, assistant secretary; and W. Kevin O’Donnell.

At the meeting, the following people were elected for a three-year term as directors of the board: Matthew B. Bayzick, Earl C. Berger, Mark Imbriaco, W. Kevin O’Donnell, Donald M. Pachence, Lonnie Polli, Chris Stamatopoulos, and Nancy Stasko. They join board members Eugene M. Dougherty, Dr. Terrance M. Eyerly, Dr. Anthony Falvello, George R. Hludzik, Esq., Elaine Judd, Gary F. Lamont, Robert J. Moisey, E. Richard Moore, John Patton CPA, E. Thomas Sandrock, Krista Schneider, and John J. Spevak. Joseph M. DeBias, Jennifer Hopkins CPA and John H. Wright Jr. are honorary board members.

The CAN DO Community Foundation’s endowment has grown from numerous sources including the donation of real estate, individual and corporate gifts, memorial donations, foundations and investment income. The foundation serves as the philanthropic arm of CAN DO and supports worthwhile community projects that make a difference and improve the Greater Hazleton community.

The foundation’s mission is to select projects that will benefit from conservation, preservation and reclamation of distressed landscape and historic and other locally significant buildings. “CPR – Breathing New Life into Our Community” is the foundation’s slogan, referring to its mission.  

In accordance with its mission, the foundation continues to review mission-focused projects in the greater Hazleton community.

Pictured above are, first row, from left: Krista Schneider, board member; Donald M. Pachence, CAN DO Community Foundation Treasurer; Gary F. Lamont, CAN DO Community Foundation President; Earl C. Berger, CAN DO Community Foundation Vice President; and Nancy R. Stasko, CAN DO Community Foundation Secretary. Second row: John Patton, CPA, board member; Eugene M. Dougherty, board member; E. Thomas Sandrock, board member; Elaine Judd, CAN DO Community Foundation Assistant Secretary; W. Kevin O’Donnell, CAN DO Community Foundation Assistant Treasurer; Chris Stamatopoulos, board director; George R. Hludzik, Esq., board member; and John J. Spevak, board member.