$350K Challenge Grant created for ‘We Believe in Erie Fund’

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The Erie Community Foundation announced today that a $350K Challenge Grant has been created to encourage people to donate to the “We Believe in Erie Fund.”

Local businessman Thomas Hagen created the $350,000 Challenge Fund to encourage additional gifts.

Gifts of any size, up to $350,000, will be matched, according to Erie Community Foundation President Mike Batchelor.

The fund was launched on Friday, April 30th, when the Greater Erie Economic Development
Corporation (GEEDC) and The Erie Community Foundation announced each organization committed $1 million to increase pathways to success for local minority students through scholarships, apprenticeships and internships.

“Without question, the “We Believe in Erie” fund can significantly impact the lives of ethnic
minorities and women throughout Erie County for generations to come.” stated Gerald Blanks,
CEO of GEEDC. “The very idea of having the opportunity to become gainfully employed with
family-sustaining employment is no longer a dream, but a true reality.”

Students like Avery Stevens — a Sophomore and a nursing student at Gannon University — will benefit from this joint effort to inspire hope and bridge economic and racial divides.

“I was raised by a single mother, who could not afford to send me to college,” stated Stevens. “This fund will help generations of students like me who want an education, a career and to live in Erie.”

“Once fully funded, this will become an increasingly important source of hope and support for students, and for local businesses that will benefit from an increased pipeline of local talent. If we have learned anything during this past year, it’s that together we can make a difference in other’s lives,” stated Foundation President Mike Batchelor.

To learn more about the “We Believe in Erie Fund” or to make a gift to the fund, visit
ErieCommunityFoundation.org or call Vice President of Philanthropic Services Susannah
Weis Frigon at 814-454-0843.

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