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.
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:
Melissa Clatch of Drums, a student at Drums Elementary Middle School; Sarah Habel of Hazleton, a student at Heights Terrace Elementary Middle School; Hannah Kunetz of Hazle Township, a student at McAdoo Kelayres; Megan Novak of Freeland, a student at Freeland Elementary Middle School; Dustin Snyder of White Haven, a student at Freeland Elementary Middle School; and Angelina Umbriac of Hazleton, a student at Heights Terrace Elementary Middle School.
The selection committee, chaired by Nancy Stasko, included Phil Latella, Jerry Panisak and Chris Stamatopolous.
“We are always proud to present the Joseph Yenchko Awards to these very deserving students,” Lamont said. “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.”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.
Officers for 2013/2014:
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 2013/2014:
Earl C. Berger
Joseph M. DeBias
Eugene M. Dougherty
Dr. Anthony Falvello
George R. Hludzik, Esq.
Jennifer Hopkins, CPA
Robert J. Moisey
E. Richard Moore
John Patton, CPA
E. Thomas Sandrock
John J. Spevak
John H. Wright - honorary