Campus Life

Student Philanthropy Council

The Hill School’s Student Philanthropy Council (SPC) was established in 2008-09 thanks to a generous donation by the late Mr. Charles Frank III ’59 P ’88 ’90 and his wife, Betty. Each year, the SPC awards $25,000 worth of grants to local non-profit organizations to help fund those entities’ programs.

The Franks’ goal was to encourage students to learn about the value and processes of philanthropy; develop life-long habits of volunteerism and “giving back”; and provide funds to nonprofits working to enhance the lives of Pottstown-area residents.  

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 Head of School Emeritus 1993-2012 and his wife).

The 12 SPC members are elected after an application process that looks for students’ genuine interest in altruistic endeavors and in serving the community where Hill makes its home. 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.

2023 Grant Recipients 

Berks Connections Pretrial Services (Mothers’ and Fathers’ Voices Program)

This program allows incarcerated parents to create videos showing them reading children’s books. Recordings then are shared with their children. In this way parents and children can maintain and enhance their connections and ease their transitions upon the inmates’ returns to their families.

Foundation for Pottstown Education

Students in each of the Pottstown School District’s six buildings – from the elementary schools through the high school -- will work together with their teachers to create grant proposals for projects that will benefit their school. Eligible projects can be anything that enhance their school environment, touch as many children as possible; and fund items typically NOT funded by the school district.

Montgomery Child Advocacy Project

MCAP’s mission is to prevent and end child abuse.  The SPC grant will support the organization’s recent purchase of a therapy dog named Nutmeg, who helps witnesses – especially traumatized children – remain composed and calm during often overwhelming court experiences. The funding will help provide food and veterinary services for Nutmeg so she can do her best work.

Mother Goose Read to Me

This relatively new program is dedicated to promoting early literacy among parents and their babies among socioeconomically disadvantaged families in the Pottstown area.  Mother Goose partners with other agencies to give free age-appropriate books to parents and encourage them to read to their infants and toddlers. As the Mother Goose representative noted, the families who benefit from this program simply do not have extra money to spare for books as they are worried about being able to pay rent, buy food, and meet other day-to-day needs.

Pottstown FARM

Pottstown FARM, our local seasonal farmer’s market, will use this grant to encourage good nutrition and help underserved families stretch their food budgets.  Our funds will allow FARM to fill bags with fresh, sustainable foods such as tomato sauces, jams, and honey, as well as some fresh vegetables and healthy recipes.  Approximately 20 of these bags will be distributed to underserved families every other Saturday from May through October when the FARM market is held in downtown Pottstown.

Pottstown Historical Society

The SPC grant will allow Historical Society volunteers to rebind directories that date back more than 100 years.  In addition, the Society will purchase archival-quality materials to protect other irreplaceable documents. As more people dive into family genealogy and new investment occurs in Pottstown, the value of well-preserved local history has never been greater. 

Project Purpose

Project Purpose strives to provide low-income students with quality extra-curricular activities, with an emphasis on serving the students and families of Rolling Hills. Specifically, the SPC grant will help a STEAM curriculum club called Ignite, inspiring K through eighth grade students throughout the year with hands-on, scientific inquiry enrichment projects and field trips. Fifteen children will benefit through participation in Ignite with assistance from this SPC-funded grant. 

Schuylkill River Greenways

Receiving a partial grant, the SPC is helping to fund the Youth Watershed Education Program – a free program for youths ages 10-14.  Participants from the Pottstown area will learn about environmental issues, conduct water quality-related testing, and enjoy guided paddling experiences on the Schuylkill River. 

Steel River Playhouse

Steel River depends on donations to help it create professional-grade entertainment that contributes to our region’s cultural life.  Additionally, Steel River is committed to making arts education affordable to as many students as possible, regardless of their ability to pay.  The Playhouse will use this SPC grant to provide youth scholarships to Summer Camp and Summer Intensive Production programs.