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The Elsie Skvir Ganister Foundation Fund provides financial assistance for organizations and parishes with innovative approaches to advancing the mission of Orthodoxy in the United States. June 30 is the annual deadline for submitting grant applications, and recipients are announced in the fall of each year.

Founded in 2001, the Elsie Skvir Ganister Foundation Fund is a component fund of the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania, located in Williamsport, PA. The foundation takes its name from the village of Ganister in Central Pennsylvania, where immigrants drawn there by jobs in the limestone quarry founded St. Mary’s Holy Assumption parish in 1916.

Favor is given to proposals that address priority needs of the Orthodox Church in America, especially those that do so in catalytic ways. The selection process also weighs leadership experience, clarity of goals, the presence of a stable funding base, and faithfulness to the teachings and ministry of the OCA. Applicants must articulate how their undertaking will have a positive impact on a specific priority need, without duplicating other programs or projects already serving the Church.

Grants are modest in size, generally ranging from $500 to $3,000. But, properly used, they have the potential to jump-start valuable initiatives that might not otherwise get off the ground. Examples of grants given over the years include:

  • Fund a guest speaker program to help seminarians develop their pastoral skills
  • Provide tutoring materials and sports equipment for a church-run after-school program for inner-city Latino children
  • Translate invaluable music textbooks from Russian to English
  • Purchase digital recorders to distribute Orthodox radio broadcasts world-wide
  • Develop a “mission starter” kit
  • Print materials regarding human services for aging Orthodox Christians
  • Support continuing education opportunities for clergy
  • Underwrite the Profiles of Ministry program to assess and counsel seminarians on their strengths and weaknesses

Applicants must be qualifying 501c(3) entities as described under IRS Section 509(a)(1). Grants will not be considered for endowments, ongoing operational support, annual campaigns or event sponsorships, debt reduction, research grants, or support of individuals.

To receive an application, contact the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania, 201 West Fourth Street, Williamsport, PA 17701, or visit the Foundation’s website, Applications will be reviewed, and recommendations made by the Advisory Board of the Elsie Skvir Ganister Foundation Fund, a donor-advised component fund of the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania.