The CAN DO Community Foundation is locally owned and sponsored.
Originated in 1992 through the efforts of CAN DO, Inc. (the Community Area New Development Organization), the Foundation is a not-for-profit organization exempt for federal income tax under Section 501C(3) under the Internal Revenue Code and is designated a public charity.
Through this authority, the Foundation supports worthwhile community projects that can make a difference and improve the Greater Hazleton community. The Foundation attracts and manages funds from a broad spectrum of donors with the desire to have their gift applied to CPR with the ultimate goal of making a positive difference to the present and future well-being of the Hazleton area.
The mission of the CAN DO Community Foundation is “Conservation, Preservation and Reclamation (CPR) – Breathing new life into the community.”
Initiated with a start-up grant from CAN DO, the endowment has grown from numerous sources, including the donation of real estate property, individual and corporate gifts, memorial donations and investment income.
The CAN DO Community Foundation has refocused its mission to "CPR." Initially, the Foundation played a role in numerous initiatives to improve the quality of life for the Greater Hazleton community. Penn State Hazleton received a grant for the campus scholarship endowment campaign. MMI Preparatory School received a grant to support its capital campaign. The Foundation supported the Greater Hazleton YM/YWCA campaign that allowed the existing facility to be renovated and expanded to meet the growing needs and uses of all segments and age groups in the community. Other grants have been made to civic and educational organizations in Greater Hazleton.
The CAN DO Community Foundation will continue to flourish because of the generosity of individuals, businesses and other foundations who share in the commitment to make a positive difference in creating a healthier community – now and for future generations.
- Strategic Plan – The Foundation conducted a facilitated SWOT analysis session at the Penn State Hazleton Campus. The Foundation reaffirmed its focus of CPR – Conservation, Preservation and Reclamation – and discussed prospective future initiatives.
- Ferrwood – Work to restore this historic summer music camp for children continues. Under the leadership of the Foundation, Ferrwood Music Camp was nominated to and placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Upcoming projects include the reconstruction of a pump house, repairing the roof and providing new furnishings for the great room.
The restoration of Ferrwood has received almost $600,000 to date in the form of county, state and federal grants; contributions from individuals, foundations, organizations and unions; and donated labor and materials from businesses and foundations.
- “Castle on the Hill” auditorium restoration – The Foundation has pledged a challenge grant of $50,000. Members of the Foundation are on a committee to restore the auditorium for school and community use.
- Interstate 81/State Route 924 Utility Work – This entranceway to the Greater Hazleton community from Interstate 81 along State Route 924 is realizing the aesthetic benefits from the reclamation of the site. Through the efforts of CAN DO, the sewer lines that had been located under this area have been relocated to allow the better use of the site.
- F.M. Kirby Center for Performing Arts – The forensic restoration of this art deco theatre on its 70th anniversary was assisted by the Foundation through a contribution.
- Tri-Area Recreation – The Foundation donated to Tri-Area Recreation for the reclamation of a site named City View Park that will be used for recreation and open space along the Arthur Gardner Parkway.
- Carriage House – The City of Hazleton-owned Pardee “Carriage House” was demolished after an inspection determined its condition was too deteriorated to allow for restoration and that the building was in danger of collapsing.
- Stockton General Store Restoration – The Greater Hazleton Civic Partnership, under its “Rails to Trails” program, was notified of the Foundation’s interest in the possible relocation and restoration of a building that would be located near the Stockton Mine Disaster on a trail.
- Hazleton Area Public Library – Library Board of Trustees have initiated a capital campaign that will include the restoration of the original building located on West Green and North Church streets. The restoration was advocated by the Foundation. The library celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2007.
- PSU Scholarship – The CAN DO Foundation Scholarship at Penn State Hazleton is awarded annually at the annual Highacres Society Dinner.
Upon the Shoulders of Giants
The Edgar L. Dessen Community Service Award
"Mentoring the Next Generation"
In 1956, volunteers from the communities of Greater Hazleton rallied with Dr. Edgar L. Dessen to establish CAN DO, the Community Area Economic Development Organization. At that time, the future of Hazleton was bleak, and the need for new business and jobs was paramount. What seemed to be impossible turned into reality. Industry came to Hazleton. Jobs became available. And it was the work of volunteers that made it possible - a group of area residents who banded together and turned the tide.
It was Dr. Dessen who quoted Sir Isaac Newton, “If I have seen further… it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”
"Upon the Shoulders of Giants" became the way Dessen described the strength he received from community volunteers in his leadership role of establishing and growing CAN DO.
Today, the spirit of volunteerism thrives in this area. CAN DO, the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce, the many agencies of the United Way of Greater Hazleton, the Hazleton Area Public Library, hospital boards, schools, places of worship, telethons, community service groups and many, many other organizations all benefit from community volunteers.
The Edgar L. Dessen Community Service Award is dedicated to this spirit of volunteerism. The award recognizes area high school students and their volunteer efforts in the community. A scholarship to Junior Leadership of Hazleton is awarded to eligible high school students to further their experience in service and learning leadership and teamwork skills.
Scholarships to Junior Leadership of Hazleton are awarded to sophomores from each of the area high schools:
- Hazleton Area High School
- Weatherly Area High School
- MMI Preparatory School
- Immanuel Christian High School
- Marian Catholic High School
The 2011 Dessen Scholars...
The Joseph Yenchko Awards
"Supporting Our Youth in the Arts"
Foundation President Gary F. Lamont and CAN DO President Kevin O’Donnell presented the awards to: Kyle Lennon, a student at Hazleton Area High School; Mary Sweeney, a student at Freeland Elementary/Middle School; and Jaquiline Watkins of Weatherly.
“We are proud to present the inaugural Joseph Yenchko Awards to these very deserving students,” Lamont said during the presentation. “The musical education provided at Ferrwood Music Camp is part of a well-rounded education, and the CAN DO Community Foundation is happy to link the legacy of Joe Yenchko and CAN DO to Ferrwood.”
Joe Yenchko, who passed away in August 2008, was CAN DO’s first employee. He served as the full-time director of industrial development for 21 years.
He was also one of the creative forces behind Valmont and Humboldt industrial parks and was responsible for the construction of more than 80 industrial buildings in Greater Hazleton, pioneering the concept of shell buildings.
Yenchko shared CAN DO’s mission and methods of success with organizations and committees across the United States.
Community Foundation Officers and Board Members
Officers for 2012/2013:
President - Gary F. Lamont
Vice President - Matthew B. Bayzick
Treasurer - Donald M. Pachence
Secretary - Terrance M. Eyerly, D.C.
Assistant Treasurer - W. Kevin O'Donnell
Assistant Secretary - Nancy R. Stasko
Directors for 2012/2013:
Matthew B. Bayzick - at-large
Earl C. Berger – at-large
Joseph M. DeBias
Eugene M. Dougherty
Terrance M. Eyerly, D.C.
Dr. Anthony Falvello - at-large
Jennifer Hopkins, CPA - at-large
Gary F. Lamont
Robert J. Moisey
E. Richard Moore - at-large
W. Kevin O'Donnell - CAN DO President
Donald M. Pachence
John Patton, CPA - at-large
E. Thomas Sandrock
Krista Schneider - at-large
John J. Spevak
Nancy R. Stasko
Arthur D. Sweeney, AIA - at-large
Edgar. L. Dessen, M.D. - honorary
John H. Wright - honorary