CONCERN Receives Grant

Region Director Kelly Crum, Supervisor of Community Based Programs and Community Residential Rehabilitation Nicole Kacmar, Director of Fundraising & Marketing Art Silverman (center) surrounded by members of The Power of the Purse in Berks County Fund.

The Power of the Purse in Berks County Fund, administered by the Berks County Community Foundation, has awarded CONCERN’s Greater Berks Regional Office and its Intensive Family Reunification Services Program a grant in the amount of $15,000.

CONCERN’s Intensive Family Reunification Services Program utilizes short-term, intensive, family and home-based interventions designed to reunite families with their children who are in out-of-home placement as quickly and safely as possible. This program is designed to reduce the length of time a child is in foster care by strengthening the family unit.

The project “Enhancements to CONCERN’s Intensive Family Reunification Services Program to Better Empower Working Mothers” is designed to help mothers achieve success by assisting them in reunifying with their children by reducing the barriers in obtaining education and finding employment while providing assistance in accessing community resources to strengthen the family system.

Grant dollars will be used to fund GED preparation and testing, housing security deposits, home transition and furnishings, business attire for interviews and jobs, monthly bus passes to get to and from work and appointments, and other related miscellaneous expenses.

The overall expected outcomes will be achieved by having the women learn skills for entering the workforce, obtain stable housing, and maintain a healthy routine for providing for their children. This, in turn, will reunify six families and reduce significant risk factors for future out of home placement.

The grant will be led by the Supervisor of Community Based Programs and Community Residential Rehabilitation Nicole Kacmar, along with Parenting Educator Meredith Congelio, and Community Based Program Caseworkers.

The Power of the Purse in Berks County was started in 2012 by a group of women to improve the lives of local women and children. The fund functions as a women’s giving circle, where members’ donations are pooled to create a bigger impact than each member could make alone.

Each year, group members review grant applications, visit nonprofits and vote to determine which programs will receive grants. Since the group began, it has awarded over $225,000 in grants to local organizations.