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CAUSES

OF THE Susquehanna Valley Text by Karen Hendricks Photography by Donovan Roberts Witmer Causes—we all have programs and groups that we are passionate about. It could be helping neighbors, or raising funds for education or healthcare or simply making someone’s day a little brighter. In this issue of “Susquehanna Style” we are partnering with non-profit organizations as well as corporate donors to shine the spotlight on how you can make a difference right here at home. We live in the most generous nation on the planet. This year we have seen devastation in the form of hurricanes and wildfires. Plus we have seen struggles with social programs and dwindling resources. Americans—and especially those of us right here in the Susquehanna Valley—have stepped up, and we applaud you. But what about making an even bigger impact? Think about your passions and how you would like for those ideals to live forever. There are programs right here in our area that focus on how you can make a lasting impression. Did you know that only seven percent of us have made provisions to contribute to the causes we care about in our wills? Groups like the organizations profiled on pages 28-30 are eager to educate us on how we can make the most of giving generously even after we are gone. It’s a lasting legacy to support generations to come. Please take some time to learn more about the very worthy CAUSES on the following pages and discover how you can make a difference that will mean so much both now and in the future.

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OF THE Susquehanna Valley

Transforming Today’s Students and Tomorrow’s Workforce

Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology Stephanie Mekhail, ’17, was a single mom working in a day care when she decided she wanted a career change. At Thaddeus Stevens College in Lancaster, she studied to become a skilled electrician, and that opened doors. An internship at Nestlé Purina in Mechanicsburg, led to a job offer before she even graduated. “I’m part of a team,” says the new Controls Technician at the pet food manufacturer, “It’s not just a job—it’s a career. Plus, I’m able to work for a company that shares a passion of mine—pets.” After only six months, Stephanie already manages contractors and is planning to take advantage of the company’s advancement opportunities. “Earning a degree at Stevens and joining Purina are the best things I could have done for my life,” she says. “Being financially independent is

a big deal. I’m the head of household now. I can support my son, and my mom could afford to retire.” Alex Headings, ’14, tried several entry-level jobs before he got an associate’s degree at Stevens. Hands-on learning kept him engaged, and he graduated with zero debt. “Professors are passionate about what they are teaching,” he says. The College taught him a strong work ethic and to keep learning, which he is practicing as a Controls Technical Specialist at Purina. “It’s a collaborative environment. Everyone is willing to share ideas and learn,” he says. Stephanie and Alex are living proof that Thaddeus Stevens is transforming today’s students into the skilled workforce companies like Purina need.

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Nestlé Purina Nestlé Purina is dedicated to developing highly-skilled manufacturing employees through robust apprenticeship, mentorship, internship, and management development opportunities. Partnerships like that between Thaddeus Stevens and our Mechanicsburg factory provide hands-on experience developing some of the most innovative products within the Purina portfolio—products proudly made right here in Central Pennsylvania.

Thaddeus Stevens Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit, supports and advances the mission of Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology by receiving and disbursing donations from corporate donors, such as Nestlé Purina, private foundations, and from individuals like you. To find out how you can help, please visit stevenscollege.edu/give-to-tsct. December 2017 | SUSQUEHANNA STYLE 33


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Saving Four-Legged Lives

The Humane League of Lancaster County Since 1917, The Humane League of Lancaster County has been preventing animal homelessness and cruelty in the Lancaster area. On November 17, The Humane League staff, board members and patrons celebrated this milestone at the Marriott Penn Square in Lancaster. Thanks to your continuous support, we’re able to continue our work to save animals and help pet owners be the best caretakers they can be for another 100 years to come! As a Humane Pennsylvania partner, The Humane League of Lancaster County has annually assisted in the adoptions of over 3,000 animals and provided more than $750,000 in emergency veterinary care to pets in-need. Most recently, The Humane League aided in the relief efforts of Hurricane Maria by housing and caring for a total of 44 dogs and cats transported from Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands, giving these displaced animals a second “leash” on life.

Want to Help? As you spend time with your family and friends this holiday season, take a moment to think of the homeless pets that will spend their winter nights at The Humane League of Lancaster County. Then, please consider making a gift that will help us care for these animals: just $25 provides a pet in our shelters with food, toys, a blanket and treats while waiting for a “furever” home! To make a donation, visit our website at humanepa.org, or visit our shelter at 2195 Lincoln Highway East in Lancaster (across from the Tanger Outlets). 34 SUSQUEHANNA STYLE |

December 2017

Howliday Open House

Join us on December 2 for a howlin’ happy kickoff to the holiday season! Bring your pets to The Humane League of Lancaster County to have their photos taken with Santa Paws. Raffles, baked goods and more await your arrival! Plus, all pets who are adopted during the Howliday Open House will go home with a an extra-special gift.

Howliday Donation Drive

For the entire month of December, donations of pet food, litter, cleaning products and office supplies can be dropped off at collection boxes stationed at local businesses. Your donation is a gift that makes a difference in the lives of homeless, neglected and abused animals this winter and all year round. View all participating locations and Wish List items on our website at humanepa.org.


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OF THE Susquehanna Valley

Building Confidence with Every Step

Girls on the Run Lancaster Studies show that girls’ self-confidence and physical activity both drop around age nine or 10, while 50 percent of girls ages 10-13 experience bullying. The national nonprofit organization Girls on the Run (GOTR) aims to help girls navigate all of these challenges. “Girls on the Run is a nonprofit, positive youth development program that runs for 10 weeks at a time and lasts a lifetime,” says Carrie Johnson, Executive Director, GOTR of Lancaster and Lebanon. As the organization’s mission states, “We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experiencebased curriculum which creatively integrates running.” Founded in 2009, GOTR of Lancaster has grown exponentially. In 2017, the afterschool program served 158 teams in Lancaster and Lebanon Counties,

reaching 2,127 girls in grades 3-8. “Our coaches are the shining lights in our program,” says Johnson. Each curriculum lesson integrates core values: confidence, character, care, connections, competence and contribution, impacting community and developing compassion—all “C” words. Johnson says 50 percent of the girls receive financial assistance to defray the registration fee of $150, which covers insurance, coach and CPR training and more. The ratio of three volunteer coaches per 15-20 girls allows for hands-on mentoring. The program culminates in a 5K every spring and fall. “It’s magical to see,” says Johnson. “Crossing the finish line completes the season; it’s symbolic of the tools our amazing girls have gained—celebrating their bodies, activating their power and sharing their voices.”

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Lancaster’s Atlee Hall Lancaster’s Atlee Hall is a full-service trial law firm specializing in medical malpractice and products liability. Whether defending clients, volunteering or partnering with nonprofits like GOTR, the firm’s mission is to make the central Pennsylvania community a safer, more compassionate place to live. For more information, see AtleeHall.com.

GOTR volunteers fulfill many roles: office assistance, 5K help, running buddies and coaches. SoleMates, people who raise money for GOTR via athletic events like marathons or triathalons, are also vital. As the organization approaches its 10th anniversary, Johnson says legacy gifts are welcome from both individuals and sponsors, to allow GOTR to realize their limitless potential for years to come. GOTRLancaster.org. December 2017 | SUSQUEHANNA STYLE 35


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IMAGE COURTESY HINGEWORK PHOTOGRAPHY

OF THE Susquehanna Valley

Willow Valley Communities Helps Students Hit High Notes

Music for Everyone

Many Susquehanna Valley residents and visitors are familiar with Keys for the City, one of Music for Everyone’s most visible annual programs. About 15 brightly-decorated pianos, sponsored by area businesses, are placed throughout Lancaster from May to September. That’s how Willow Valley Communities first became involved with Music for Everyone (MFE). The relationship has grown into a mentoring program, with a key group of Willow Valley residents volunteering their time to tutor beginning music students at several schools including Lancaster’s Carter & MacRae Elementary School. For every mentor provided by Willow Valley, MFE provides an instrument to a student in need. “It’s so much more than tutoring,” says Ross Fairweather, Willow Valley Communities resident and volunteer leader of the mentoring program. “So

many students are facing difficult situations—homelessness or a parent who is incarcerated, for example. There’s not enough classroom time for every student to learn their instruments, so having a tutor is a win-win for everyone.” Fairweather says music education helps students in many ways—for starters, studies show that music improves students’ comprehension of STEM subjects. She encourages others in the community to learn more about MFE and become involved for the greater community good—“music to everyone’s ears,” so to speak. “One of our residents worked in accounting for many years. Now that she’s retired and mentoring a music student, she says it’s the best job she’s ever had.”

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Willow Valley Communities Willow Valley Communities, a senior living community, offers a full range of amenities to support their mission, “Life Lived Forward.” With two campuses, 210 acres and over 100 floor plans, Willow Valley Communities is home to 2,500 independent living residents in Lancaster County, which was recently named the country’s second-best retirement location by “U.S. News & World Report.” See WillowValleyCommunities.org. 36 SUSQUEHANNA STYLE |

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MFE’s mission is to cultivate the power of music for education and community building. Since 2006, MFE has provided over $1.3 million in grants, scholarships and support for schools and community arts groups in Lancaster County. Check the website (MusicForEveryone.org) to get involved—volunteer, donate an instrument, sing in the community chorus, make a tax-deductible contribution, and much more.


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OF THE Susquehanna Valley

Pictured above: Robert Wolpert project manager (left) and Akeem Talton master cook

Soul Food—Seasoned with Community Good

Reunion Food Truck

When Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County (CAP) launched its Reunion Food Truck in June of 2017—and sold out of food in less than three hours—they knew they had a successful “recipe” for social enterprise. The anti-poverty agency splits proceeds from the Lancasterbased food truck with Crispus Attucks Community Center (CACC), while employing three people—two full-time and one part-time, says Vanessa Philbert of CAP. “CAP works to provide low income folks with a hand up towards selfsufficiency in a variety of ways,” Philbert says. “The concept for Reunion Food Truck came in partnership with CACC, as we were thinking creatively about generating revenue in new ways.”

The food truck’s soul food menu includes mac & cheese, pork BBQ, coleslaw and even an employee’s family recipe for fried chicken. But “swaffies” are the signature dish—sweet potato waffle fries topped with maple syrup and cinnamon sugar. Reunion’s meals begin with fresh ingredients from several local vendors, including Darrenkamp’s Markets. “We’re thrilled to buy locally, with great customer service from Darrenkamp’s and a relationship that is deepening with time,” says CAP’s Kristy Aurand. So far, Reunion has been a hit with downtown Lancaster. Philbert says customers enjoy the soul food menu—and it’s good for the soul in several ways. “When we have the opportunity to share our mission, people get even more excited.”

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Darrenkamp’s Markets Darrenkamp’s Markets is a family-owned business from Lancaster’s Cabbage Hill neighborhood. Celebrating 85 years, Darrenkamp’s has four locations operated by the fifth generation of the Darrenkamp family. They are known for store-made signature items (60+ varieties of sausage!), quality meats, outstanding customer service and commitment to community, best summarized in their tagline, “We care.”

Follow Reunion Food Truck on Facebook, and pick up a meal (or two)! “Buy one, feed one”: Every time you purchase food from Reunion, you are also supporting a meal at CACC. Catering needs? Book the Reunion Food Truck at EatReunion.com. Businesses and foundations wishing to donate may contact Kristy Aurand at kaurand@caplanc.org. December 2017 | SUSQUEHANNA STYLE 37


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OF THE Susquehanna Valley

Doing God’s Work in the World

HOPE International HOPE International, based in Lancaster, is celebrating its 20th anniversary of serving families living in poverty with small business loans and a safe place to save. But HOPE’s holistic approach goes several steps beyond providing financial services—the nonprofit’s model provides biblically-based training and devotional support while building community for more than 950,000 clients in 16 countries. As HOPE’s mission proclaims, “We invest in the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities as we proclaim and live out the Gospel.” “Families living in poverty are incredibly valuable and have God-given talents and skills,” says Justin Watkins of HOPE. Examples of small business loans that transform lives include Jean Marie’s story: His loan financed the

purchase of farm animals in Rwanda; those farm animals fertilized the soil so that he could create a farm; his produce led to the creation of his restaurant; and now he supports 11 orphans in addition to his own five children. “His story is not unique; it’s representative of many of our clients’ stories,” Watkins says. The repayment rate for HOPE’s loans is a staggering 98 percent; that money is recycled time and time again into future business projects, touching lives in Haiti, Peru, Ukraine, the Philippines and many other underserved populations. “The Gospel calls for us to respond out of gratitude to what God has provided to us,” Watkins says. “HOPE International puts us into active partnership, doing God’s work in the world.”

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McKonly & Asbury McKonly & Asbury, founded in 1973, offers audit, tax and business consulting services in Camp Hill and Lancaster. “We believe part of our responsibility in life is utilizing profits to enrich the lives of others—an initiative called Purpose through Profits” says Mark Heath, CPA and partner. McKonly & Asbury has partnered with HOPE International for seven years. macpas.com / purposethroughprofits.com 38 SUSQUEHANNA STYLE |

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See the “Take Action” and “Donate” tabs on HOPE’s website, hopeinternational.org. Or give the gift of hope at GiveHope.org—the organization’s gift catalog where you can read actual clients’ stories and give gifts in honor of your loved ones. “With HOPE’s efficient and self-sustaining model, donations grow over time and continue to make a positive impact,” Watkins says.


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OF THE Susquehanna Valley Celebrating these community leaders and their support of Forever Lancaster:

back: Chip and Rebecca Cargas, Sally Saxton, Nelson and Karen Polite, Christa Shoreman, Rick and Jessica Rodgers front: Jim Saxton, Deborah Polite Read their stories at LancFound.org/ForeverLancaster

Driving Innovation, Impact, Legacy

Lancaster County Community Foundation Relationships are at the heart of Lancaster County Community Foundation’s mission: relationships with individuals, relationships with more than 450 regional nonprofits and relationships connecting sectors of industry. “The Community Foundation works 360 degrees around the community, driving innovation, supporting and lifting up the entire philanthropic sector,” says Tracy Cutler, Executive Vice President. In 2017, nearly $3 million in grant investments will flow through the Community Foundation to nonprofits, while November’s Extraordinary Give generated additional millions of dollars, creating widespread impact for Lancaster County and the Central Pennsylvania region. Cutler says the region is generous: “Ninety percent of residents donate to causes in which they believe, yet only seven percent make provisions for

donations in their wills,” she says. That’s why the Community Foundation launched Forever Lancaster, an initiative that helps people establish and leave a legacy of giving. Cutler encourages Forever Lancaster donors to consider the question, “What causes speak most deeply to you?” to guide their giving. “Forever Lancaster gives people the ability to impact specific organizations— such as the YMCA, the Fulton Theatre—or people can shape specific areas of interest—education, the arts, economic development, youth and families, safety nets, inspiration programs—they all come together to make our community stronger,” Cutler says. “And that’s the exciting thing about the Community Foundation—your dollars can go wherever your passions go and make a difference forever.”

Want to Help? Start with Lancaster County Community Learning more about philanthropy and the organization’s Foundation’s website, lancfound.org. Learn more partners will help you maximize your gifts in order to support about Forever Lancaster’s impact in the community, the causes you care about the most. sign up for free informational events, subscribe to newsletters, You can also simply look for the “Donate” button and give today! learn about volunteer opportunities, and follow the To support Forever Lancaster and customize your legacy of giving, contact the Community Foundation at 717-397-1629. organization’s active social media accounts. December 2017 | SUSQUEHANNA STYLE 39

2017 Causes  
2017 Causes