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Current WISH Award Recipients

Women’s leadership in philanthropy - whether high-profile or quietly strong and informal - is a powerful force in solving the challenges facing our families, our communities and our world.
Maureen O’Gara Hackett, Shaw-Hardy Taylor Award for Advancing Women’s Philanthropy Recipient

2020 Grant Award Recipients

The 2020 WISH grant awards were presented to three nonprofits totaling $29,835 each and two Shepherd Learning Projects totaling $35,375 each.

Community Nonprofit Winner- A Farm Less Ordinary

Becoming WISH’s first out-of-state grant recipient, A Farm Less Ordinary provides employment opportunities for intellectually or developmentally disabled teens (or older) to work as “Growers” at the farm located in Bluemont, VA. The farm was developed by owners and founders Maya Wechsler and Greg Masucci as a way to provide job experiences for their disabled son, and others, who find few job training or employment possibilities. The WISH grant will provide monies displaced by COVID-19 that will allow for payroll throughout the growing season and continue operations through 2023 and beyond.

“The intellectual/developmental (ID/DD) disability community currently suffers from an unemployment rate of over 80% in the United States. Thanks to this generous grant from WISH, A Farm Less Ordinary will employ adults with ID/DD as Growers, working with them to develop good habits, social skills and workplace behaviors that they will use in a variety of workplaces over the course of their lives. Thank you for helping us transform lives and give these people a stepping stone from school to employment.”– Maya Wechsler, owner and co-founder

Owner and Co-Founder Greg Masucci

Community Nonprofit Winner- Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities is a social services organization run with a focus on inclusivity in regard to the clients they serve, mainly working with low-income and homeless individuals. The WISH grant will allow the Martinsburg office to renovate a first floor space into a handicap-accessible laundry and shower facility. This will help alleviate demands for services, which have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Individuals and families who are living in poverty struggle to meet their basic needs, including doing laundry and taking a shower. The Martinsburg office offers these services on the second floor, but they are not available to anyone who is unable to climb stairs due to physical disabilities or illness. The Catholic Charities staff is grateful that the WISH grant is providing funds to renovate our laundry and shower facilities so they are available to everyone regardless of physical limitations.”– Trina Bartlett, Eastern Regional Director for Catholic Charities

Pictured (l. to r.) are Trina Bartlett, Eastern Regional Director Catholic Charities West Virginia; Siobhan Bertone
program assistant; and Luci Hernandez, case manager.

Community Nonprofit Winner- WV Freshealthy Bucks

WVFreshealthy Bucks/Physician’s Farmacy is a double value coupon program that allows Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to “double” their money if they shop at local farmer’s markets in Martinsburg, Shepherdstown, and Charles Town. The WISH grant funds will be used to not only double the client’s SNAP allocation, but it will provide stipends for volunteer market managers and will provide advertising and marketing dollars to reach more clients, help develop partnerships with under served community organizations, and help share healthy eating information in medical clinics, community centers, WIC offices, food banks, and local schools.

“We are in the early miles of the COVID marathon. Our poor nutritional health and food insecurity are making us vulnerable as a nation, especially in West Virginia. We are proud to partner with WISH to make it easier for families to eat healthy local foods while supporting our local farm economy simultaneously.”– Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, program director

Pictured (l. to r.) are James Hersick, communications and marketing support; Candace Sutphin, program manager; and Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, project lead. Not pictured are Fiona Harrison, Charles Town market manager, and Cindy Marzullo, Shepherdstown Market Manager.

Shepherd Learning Project Winner- Chemistry Department Instrumentation for Success

Chemistry students, including chemistry majors/minors, most science majors, pre-meds and nursing students are engaged in hands-on laboratory experiments that few other universities can offer– small lab sizes with experienced professors performing the labs alongside them. Because technology, particularly instrumentation, changes at such a rapid pace, new state-of-the-art equipment is needed in the teaching labs to better prepare Shepherds students for direct-entry into the workplace or graduate/professional school. The WISH funds will be used to upgrade the equipment in the chemistry lab. This one-time request will provide updated equipment that is smaller, more portable and tied to existing technology.

“The Chemistry Department is so grateful to WISH for this funding opportunity for student laboratory instruments which will be used to train future scientists now and for years to come.  In chemistry, there is a gender gap between women and men, especially beyond the bachelor’s level where men earn around twice as many graduate degrees than women.  I am excited that students will see the women of Shepherd investing in their education and hope it will inspire them to help fund the future.”– Dr. Jacquelyn Cole, department chair

Dr. Jacquelyn Cole, Shepherd University Chemistry Department Chair

Shepherd Learning Project Winner- School of Education Collaborative Technology Innovations

The Shepherd University School of Education’s Collaborative Technology Innovations initiative is the second Shepherd Learning Project grant recipient for 2020. Headed by Dr. Jennifer Penland, the initiative will provide an updated space for student teachers to receive appropriate technology training for real world application, especially in a growing virtual teaching environment. The WISH Shepherd Learning Project grant will be used to update the laboratory space through the purchase of Apple TVs, MacBooks, Chromebooks, Swivel Bundles, and iPads.

“There is no better instructional venue than to provide students with a collaborative space model in which they may practice such requirements between and among each other before exiting as highly marketable, certified teachers. With this WISH grant, the School of Education will be able to accomplish this. We are so honored to have received this award.”– Dr. Jennifer Penland, Shepherd University School of Education Chair

Pictured (l. to r.) are Dr. Dawne R Burke, Dr. Jason Allen, Helen Baker, and Dr. Jennifer Penland
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