News

Scranton Neighborhood Pocket Park Collaborative Celebrates Project Kickoff on July 2

SAF Grant Award PhotoThe Jackson Park Kickoff celebration speakers will include:
Congressman Matt Cartwright; Laurie Zierer, Executive Director, PA Humanities Council; Laura Ducceschi, President & CEO, Scranton Area Foundation; Sondra Myers, Fellow, University of Scranton; Karin Foster, President Hyde Park neighborhood watch.

Date: July 2, 2014
Time:  10:00 – 10:30 AM
Place: Jackson Park, 1304 Jackson St.
West Scranton
Contact: Laura Ducceschi, MBA, MA
President & CEO, The Scranton Area Foundation
570-347-6203
LD@SAFDN.ORG

On July 2, the Scranton Neighborhood Pocket Park Collaborative will celebrate the kickoff of a project designed to engage the community of West Scranton residents in the humanities and empower them to contribute to West Scranton revitalization.  Elected officials will be in attendance to celebrate the launch at the pocket park, along with representatives from both the Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC), and the Scranton Neighborhood Pocket Park Collaborative. The Neighborhood Pocket Park Collaborative will fully develop the West Scranton site as a model and pilot project that can be replicated throughout the greater city of Scranton to include other neighborhoods and community groups.

The project is possible because of a $50,000 civic engagement grant awarded by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council to a consortium of six local nonprofit organizations, under the leadership of the Scranton Area Foundation (SAF). After a rigorous and competitive selection process, The Scranton Neighborhood Pocket Park Collaborative was chosen to receive the PHC Civic Engagement Grant Award.  The grant supports community dialogue and planning that will influence the utilization of a neighborhood pocket park as a host site for public events and humanities programs in the community of West Scranton.

“We are truly honored by this award,” commented SAF President & CEO Laura Ducceschi.  “As Lackawanna County’s community foundation, the Scranton Area Foundation takes pride in its ability to bring together caring community leaders in the spirit of improving the quality of life for our residents.”   She adds, “The success of this proposal is a tribute to the neighborhood of West Scranton, its deep sense of civic pride, and dedicated community volunteers.”

As the anchor institution of the Neighborhood Park Collaborative, the Scranton Area Foundation will lead six local nonprofits: Lackawanna County Library System, Lackawanna Heritage Valley, NeighborWorks NEPA, United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania, United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties, and the University of Scranton.  Sondra Myers, Senior Fellow for International, Civic, and Cultural Projects at The University of Scranton, will guide an Advisory Council in the design of humanities programs that inspire local residents to explore and discuss important issues, and ultimately to revitalize the community of West Scranton.

“The humanities are at the heart of The Scranton Nonprofit Collaborative pocket park project. Through collaboration and the sharing of personal histories, residents will play an integral part in shaping the use of their neighborhood space beyond the planning process. At the PHC, we believe such an inclusive process will better connect and build a collective identity, vision, plan of action, and community network among people from diverse backgrounds,” said Laurie Zierer, PHC Executive Director.

PHC designed the Civic Engagement Grants initiative to advocate for humanities-driven programs as an effective way to foster dialogue and to generate new ideas for a given community, its institutions, and most of all its citizens.

Photo Caption: Members of the Scranton Neighborhood Pocket Park Collaborative gather to celebrate the Civic Engagement Grant Award from the Pennsylvania Humanities Council. From left to right: Julie Schumacher Cohen, Director of Community and Government Relations, The University of Scranton; Natalie Gelb, Executive Director, Lackawanna Heritage Valley; Michael Hanley, Executive Director, United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern PA; Sondra Myers, Senior Fellow for International, Civic and Cultural Projects, The University of Scranton; Jesse Ergott, Executive Director, NeighborWorks Northeastern PA; Gary Drapek, President & CEO, United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties; Laura Ducceschi, President & CEO, Scranton Area Foundation; Linda Mlodzienski, Director of Operations, Lackawanna Heritage Valley; Karin Foster, President, West Scranton Hyde Park Neighborhood Watch; Molly Boylan, AmeriCorps VISTA, NeighborWorks Northeastern PA; Jack Finnerty, Director, Scranton Public Library.