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Parnassus nonprofit partnership proposed

| Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Logan's Ferry Presbyterian Church in New Kensington is spearheading an effort to form an umbrella organization to bring together six nonprofits already operating under one roof at the Parnassus church.

The aim of the organization, known as the Parnassus Preservation Partnership, is to coordinate efforts, share information and enhance fundraising opportunities.

“We're trying to positively impact this community by pulling together the resources of our church,” said the Rev. Bob Henry. “By using each other's resources we can accomplish more in the Greater New Kensington Area.”

Among the local organizations slated to be part of the Parnassus Preservation Partnership are:

• Living Well: A support group for people who want to live healthier lives, nutritionally, socially and spiritually.

• Circles — Bridges out of Poverty: A national campaign to end poverty by giving individuals and families the tools and mentors they need to get out of poverty.

• Resurrection 15068: A group of Logan's Ferry members who assist low-income families with correcting code violations on their property, constructing handicapped- accessibility ramps and other maintenance issues.

• Nar-Anon: A support group for family and friends of people struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.

• Zachariah's Corner: An organization that will work toward neighborhood improvements such as developing a community garden.

• Butterfly Project: A project for honoring and helping the physically disabled.

The church provides office space or administrative assistance for the programs.

“Our organization is designed to be a community movement, so having a local base is very important to us,” said Scott McMannis, a community engagement specialist for the AK Valley Circles site.

He believes the Partnership will benefit all the organizations because of the increased networking opportunities.

“We could spin off something that might not come under our organization's (mission),” McMannis said. “Say we develop an idea that's something the people in the community would want to do, there's a place for that to happen.”

Tracey Burton of Tarentum, secretary at Arnold United Methodist Church, said she believes the partnership will allow the organizations to serve more people.

Burton is coordinating the Compassion Network, a component of the initiative that will be a hub of information on resources and services offered by local churches and social agencies.

It will enable better tracking of those served.

“Every church's resources are limited; funds are down, donations are down, and we want to make sure money goes to people who really, really need it,” she said. “It's not fair for one family to get help from four different churches and there is one family who really needs help, but gets turned away because there aren't enough resources.”

Henry said the Partnership's mission statement is to preserve health, history and human dignity.

The history component is to be fulfilled through the agencies coming together to help preserve the church building in which they're located.

The church was built in 1885. A portion of the sanctuary sits on a site that once was Fort Crawford, which served as a supply fort.

“The history is not the church, per se, it's the building,” Henry said. “The way this will work is through the partnership they'll be able to fundraise for (their organization) or solicit funds for their office space and their building.”

The church is currently raising money to pay for $250,000 in roof repairs over the sanctuary.

“There's a history to the place, and I think that's an important component when we're building community,” McMannis said. “It's important to have that connection to the past as we're looking forward now to our future story.”

Before fundraising can begin, the Partnership's application for nonprofit status must be approved by the Internal Revenue Service.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or

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