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Pittsburgh Foundation Day of Giving helps Sewickley groups

| Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Donations raised through the Pittsburgh Foundation's Day of Giving event have helped at least two local nonprofits offer financial assistance to families in need, directors said.

Those families likely might not have been able to take part in programs offered through the Sewickley Valley YMCA and the Laughlin Children's Center, leaders of the two organizations said.

“We've never denied a family for financial aid,” Laughlin Center Executive Director Doug Florey said. “But ... there may be a day we don't have those donor resources that we might have to say no. I certainly hope that day doesn't come. But it's feasible.”

That's why any amount of money raised through Tuesday's Day of Giving is important, YMCA Executive Director Trish Hooper said.

“Without that money, there may be kids who aren't able to go summer camp or families who wouldn't have access to affordable child care so that they could go to work,” she said.

Last year, about $168,000 in financial assistance for child care was given to 111 families, Hooper said.

In 2012, about $130,000 in financial assistance was offered.

Including Laughlin and the YMCA, 12 other members of the Sewickley Area Non-Profit Consortium are working to increase donations, including Allegheny Land Trust, Child Health Association of Sewickley, Fern Hollow Nature Center, Friends of Quaker Valley Schools, Homeless Children's Education Fund, Pittsburgh Fellows, Samaritan Counseling Center of Western Pa., Sewickley Public Library, Sweetwater Art Center, Union Aid Society, Watson Institute (D.T. Watson) and Village Green.

As mental health funding has been cut, organizations such as Samaritan Counseling Center find more people seeking their services, its leader says.

“Without public support, the Samaritan Center would not be able to provide subsidized counseling for economically disadvantaged people,” Executive Director Carl Baughman said.

“While the majority of the clients we see have health insurance coverage, about one-third of our clients do not have health care coverage or have extremely high deductibles. Donations allow us to continue to provide subsidized services to approximately 1,000 people on an annual basis, especially single, low-income mothers who are dealing with serious crises in their lives.”

Samaritan provides faith-based counseling to more than 3,000 men, women and children in Western Pennsylvania.

Supporting local nonprofits is important, Hooper said.

“Every dollar that's given here, stays here,” she said. “All of those dollars are used to support people in our community.”

That's why members of the nonprofit consortium are working together to reach out to donors, she said.

“That's the great part of the effort that we're doing together,” Hooper said. “We're encouraging people who live here and work here to also give here.”

Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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