Campus Life

Student Philanthropy Council

The Hill School’s Student Philanthropy Council (SPC) was established in 2008-09 thanks to a generous donation by Mr. Charles Frank III ’59 P ’88 ‘90 and his wife, Betty.

The Franks wanted to establish the program at Hill to enable Hill students to carry out their shared belief that young people should volunteer their time and efforts to benefit their communities that will then establish life-long philanthropic interests.

In 2012, through the Franks' leadership and the generosity of several other donors, The Student Philanthropy Council became an endowed program at the School with the establishment of The Student Philanthropy Council Endowment in honor of Kay and David Dougherty (Hill's former headmaster from 1993-2012 and his wife).

Each year, the SPC awards $16,000 worth of grants to local non-profit organizations to help fund those entities’ programs (see below). Each fall, interested organizations are encouraged to submit a grant application to the SPC. Throughout the school year, the members of SPC have weekly meetings evaluating each proposal. The group also visits with each organization to discuss the proposal in person. Grant decisions are made in April, and check presentations occur in late-April or early-May each year.

 

History of the Student Philanthropy Council

Through the generous gift of Charles A. Frank, III '59 P'89 '90 and his wife, Elizabeth, Hill School students now have the opportunity to learn about the value and processes of philanthropy – and to provide funds to Pottstown organizations with missions that range from educating children to greening community parks. 

On Thursday, October 2, 2008, Mr. and Mrs. Frank visited campus to officially launch a new program – the “Student Philanthropy Council” (SPC). The Franks met with Caitlin Klein '09, the first president of the SPC; Tyler Gofus '09 the first vice-president; and the 12 young men and women who were selected from nearly 50 student applicants eager to serve their School and the Pottstown community through this distinctive experience (pictured on right). 

“We do not know of any other high schools in the nation that offer something like this, and there are only a few universities that claim a similar program,” said Klein, adding that Cornell, Davidson, and Colgate are a few of the colleges known to have created such endeavors. 

The Franks’ desire to establish a philanthropy program at The Hill was tied to their wide-ranging involvement with civic endeavors and to their passionate, shared belief that young people should volunteer their time and efforts to benefit their communities – and that, through such efforts, students will develop life-long philanthropic habits and interests. 

After much thought as well as some preliminary research, the Franks decided to make a generous gift of $35,000 to The Hill in 2008 for the purpose of establishing the SPC. To get the program started, Klein and Caitlin Manak '08 conducted research and created a “manual” regarding the operation of philanthropic organizations in the summer of 2008.

The 12 SPC representatives were selected by the SPC student leaders based on the quality of their written applications, interviews, and their sincere interest in committing considerable time to the group. The SPC met once a week to study the history and processes of philanthropy and – by Hill’s winter term – created and distributed Requests for Proposals to Pottstown area nonprofits. The students, with support from the group's first faculty advisers also visited the sites of the various organizations and spoke with each organization's respective administrators.  A dinner was held in the Center For The Arts on April 27, 2009 to honor the work of the SPC grant recipient organizations, and the first grants were awarded two days later.

The $20,000 remaining from the Frank’s initial gift was distributed by the SPC to the Pottstown community in 2010 and 2011. The funds for 2012 grants were generously donated by Dr. and Mrs. Clement C. Alpert, grandparents of a member of The Hill's class of 2011. In 2012, through the Franks' leadership and the generosity of several other donors, The Student Philanthropy Council became an endowed program at the School with the establishment of The Student Philanthropy Council Endowment in honor of Kay and David Dougherty.

SPC Awards Grant Money for 2018

ArtFusion | $2,203 
ArtFusion is dedicated to providing artistic experiences (including pottery, painting, oil painting, and murals) to underprivileged children in our community. Following the closing of the YMCA, this organization has become extremely important as a place where kids can go after school. This award will sponsor 10-15 children for a week-long summer arts program. 

Bon Homie Adult Day Care Foundation | $3,000 
Bon Homie assists families who have chosen to care for older or challenged family members at home and provides a pleasant protective environment. It is staffed and managed by professionals who really care about the health, safety, well-being, and self-esteem of their clients ranging in age from 18 to 80+. Clients benefit from individual and group activities that help maintain their level of functionality and promote social interaction and stimulate new interests. The Bon Homie Foundation raises money to allow them to do more for their clients. The award will fund speech, occupational, and physical therapy evaluation and services for clients whose insurance will not cover these services.

Camp Rainbow | $2,000 
Camp Rainbow is a week-long overnight camp for children aged 7-16 who have financial, social, and/or emotional disadvantages. The camp provides a new experience for these children that contributes to their positive development into successful and productive adults. This grant was awarded to support the committed staff as they continue to be an encouraging influence in the lives these children.  

Developmental Enterprises Corportation | $2,500 
The Developmental Enterprises Corporation (DEC), helps individuals with developmental disabilities by providing training and therapy for them to reach their full potential and support their own living. With the help of DEC, many individuals hold paid employment or volunteer positions. The award will go toward the purchase of assessment tools needed for DEC’s adult literacy program. This is a highly successful program that was started with grant money from the SPC and has continue to grow thanks to the support of SPC grants.

The Good Samaritan Shelter | $1,225
Good Samaritan Services owns and operates eight homeless shelters, with approximately 50 people in each shelter. The award will fund the purchase of an Automated External Defibrillators (AED) for its location in Phoenixville.

The Growing Center | $2,000
The Growing Center offers horticultural therapy to hundreds of people in the Pottstown community per year including senior citizens and those with Alzheimer's, at-risk youth, physically and mentally challenged individuals, and cancer patients, regardless of their ability to pay. The award will go towards this year’s unusual cost of winter propane (three-times the normal amount due to severe weather), a new desktop computer, and repairs to the Center's van.

The Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities | $1,572 
The Pottstown Cluster is an organization that provides a range of services to address the basic needs of individuals within and beyond the Greater Pottstown area. The award will be used to purchase electronic equipment for a classroom in The Cluster’s newly renovated building that will support its signature Understanding Poverty to Plan and Persevere (UP3) program, a 16-week workshop designed to allow participants to both understand the causes of poverty and seek means to become self-sufficient.

Project Purpose | $1,500
This award will help fund the Summer Scholars program, which allows students who received a 60-69% in a class during the school year to retake the class in a credit recovery setting. The program helps teach students self-efficacy, a key point in developing the work ethic of adolescents, and one that is often overlooked in these sorts of program.

SPC Awards Grant Money for 2017

Bon Homie Better Days Foundation | $800 
Bon Homie is a local adult daily living center. "The Shed" project offers opportunities to interact with the community by selling merchandise and food to the public. The participating individuals create the merchandise and run the shed as a small business project, with the hope is that each person who participates will find a sense of purpose, pride, and belonging to the community. The expectations of the individuals working in the shed are as follows: making the craft projects; growing plants and flowers; pricing crafts, plants, and food items; displaying sale items in the shed; making and serving food items; keeping inventory; and assisting customers with purchases and gift wrapping. This grant will fund the shed that will be used to sell merchandise.

Montgomery Child Advocacy Project (MCAP) | $1,034
MCAP is a unique victims’ service provider, serving a vulnerable population of abused/neglected at-risk children. Such a population inherently has virtually no access to justice as they are minors with no earning capacity nor voting rights to represent their separate and distinct perspectives in the legal and social service systems. Their interests may not align with the adults or the organizations in the system. This grant will allow MCAP to expand their educational outreach focused on child abuse awareness, risks, and resources available to at-risk children. First, MCAP will raise awareness as to the risks and realities of abused and neglected children. Second, MCAP will inform others of the resources available to abused and neglected children.

Olivet Boys & Girls Club Ricketts Center | $1,346 
Olivet is working to form partnerships with other Pottstown organizations to expand its program offerings. One partnership is being developed with The Hill School. The Hill School and its dedicated teachers and students have created a program that has allowed the Ricketts Center to open approximately one Saturday a month throughout the academic year to provide additional extracurricular activities such as soccer, arts and crafts, reading, mentoring, and more. Currently, members are only able to attend the Ricketts Center from 2:30 to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday. These activities are staffed and monitored by school teachers, volunteers, and students. This grant will help support the Rickett’s Center staff who work on open Saturdays.

Girls on the Run Montgomery and Delaware Counties, PA (GOTR) | $1,400 
GOTR is the only research and evidenced based physical activity, positive youth development (PA-PYD) program meeting both the social-emotional and physical needs of elementary and middle school girls in Pottstown. Every GOTR lesson includes at least 30 minutes of physical activity. All efforts are recognized, regardless of speed or distance performance, as the girls set and strive to meet their own personal goals. By better understanding themselves and choosing positive peer influences and friendships, participants develop their competence, feel confident, develop strength of character, respond to others with care and compassion, and create positive connections with society. This grant will fully fund participation for an additional eight girls at Pottstown Middle School program.

Coventry Christian School's "Project Purpose" | $1,530 
"Project Purpose" is an after-school tutoring program. The funds will support tutoring resources (books, school supplies, educational resources) and personnel expenses. The program serves 75 at-risk, students in grades K through 12 with one-on-one tutoring sessions, which are conducted at CCS by a volunteer tutor.  More than 100 volunteers from local churches who are passionate about meeting the educational needs of the community serve as tutors. Tutoring sessions are tailored to meet students‘ unique academic needs and include help with completing homework, reading books, practicing math, working on school projects, playing academic games, and more.  

Pottstown Regional Public Library | $2,140
Recent renovations to the Pottstown Regional Public Library have improved access and energy efficiency, provided additional space for public use, and re-purposed existing space to meet the needs of the community. This renovation will be a long-term benefit to the community, providing safe, accessible, flexible, and attractive space for the educational, informational, and cultural needs of a diverse and changing population. The grant will fund a 65" LED HDTV, wall mount, and sound system to facilitate programs in a new conference room dedicated to adult/multi-generational programming. 

Pottstown Downtown Foundation | $3,000 
In 2017, the Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority set a goal of "Main Street Designation" through the Keystone Community Program, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED). As a Main Street Designated Community, Pottstown will have more opportunities to receive grants and special funding, which is important to make the downtown a desirable destination for everyone. Membership to the PA Downtown Center (PDC) will allow the Main Street Manager to attend training and seminars, which is essential to the development of innovative revitalization activities in the downtown. Additionally, the Main Street Manager must be full-time in order to have such designation. The grant will fund a professional grant writer to assist the Foundation in obtaining the Main Street Designation.

The Salvation Army | $3,750
It is the desire of The Salvation Army (TSA) in Pottstown to continue to serve individuals and families living in poverty to gain new confidence, skills, and employment to become economically self-sufficient. For more than four years, three professional and skilled community volunteers have faithfully worked with residents in the family shelter to build resumes, search for employment, apply for jobs, conduct mock interviews, and encourage job retention. Following the 20-year-old "Cincinnati Works" model, the grant awarded by the SPC will allow the TSA to create "Pottstown Works," a new, formal work-readiness program for people in the Pottstown community living in poverty. In addition to services mentioned above, the program also will offer post-employment support.