Local nonprofits in Cambria and Somerset County received more than $500,000 Thursday, thanks to the Lee Initiatives Health and Wellness Endowment.
In total, 46 charities were awarded $562,000. The nonprofits include food banks, first responders, children’s program and health clinic.
CEM Johnstown provides meals, activities and field trips to underprivileged children. They received $25,000.
“It just touches my heart to know I’m making a difference for a child,” said CEM Program Director Anda Ray.
The Windber Area Community Kitchen was awarded $3,750.
“It will be used to feed children and families,” said Joan Albright, the kitchen’s director.
The biggest grant was worth $45,000 and was awarded to the Highlands Health clinic.
“It feels fantastic,” said Rosalie Danchanko, the executive director, “but, I have to be honest: it’s also very humbling because there are so many organizations that deserve just as much money as we got.”
“We’re thankful, we’re appreciative and we need it. We need it to serve the patients that are ever increasing in our clinic, not only in Johnstown, but in Somerset County,” Danchanko continued.
Lee Initiatives CEO Don Gardill said awarding the grants is bittersweet because there are so many deserving charities in the area and they can only pick so many.
“They all work on a very tight budget. So, any time they can get more money and get extra money to help them get through and do more good for the community, it’s a win for everybody,” said Gardill.
Over the past 12 years, Lee Initiatives has awarded more than $5.5 million dollars.