West Chester business group launches grant giveaway for non-profits

An organization comprised of West Chester businesses is launching a new effort to more regularly give back to Butler County organizations and their causes.

Union Centre Boulevard Merchant Association is accepting grant applications from area non-profits for a monthly grant giveaway, said UCBMA President Rebecca Wilber.

“They must be qualified as a 501(3)C and either an organization that someone is familiar with from UCBMA or another organization within Butler County that hears about our organization,” Wilber said.

Filling out a grant request form at www.ucbma.com makes an organization eligible for as much as a $1,000 grant, Wilber said.

“Our organization will review their request and we’ll vote monthly on who we would like to receive the monies,” she said.

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UCMBA recently provided $1,000 grants to Bicycle Recycle for its efforts to rehab bikes for children in foster care, event rental company Alleen Company to help assist its “Holiday in Lights” effort at Sharon Woods Park and Empty Bowls West Chester-Liberty for its Nov. 21 event to help combat local hunger.

“They had come to us so we realized that we have a need in our community so how about opening it up to even more people in our community that we could give back to?” Wilber said.

The grant giveaway is made possible by extra cash earned via the Shamrock Shuffle, Union Centre Food Truck Rally and other events, as well as “considerable funds” from beer sales from the First Financial Bank After-Hours on The Square @ Union Centre summer concert series.

“We’ve been blessed to have some more money in bank right now … so we decided we would like to give back on a more frequent basis,” she said. “We wanted to give back more than we have in the past.”

The first monthly grant giveaway will be distributed this January, Wilber said.

UCBMA already donates a percentage of profits from its annual Union Centre Food Truck Rally to an area non-profit. It recently gave $11,000 to Reach Out Lakota, a food and clothing pantry serving West Chester and Liberty townships.

“This wonderful donation will help us sustain our programs and allow for us to purchase the items most needed in our food and clothing pantries.” said J. Peyton Gravely, fundraising and donor relations coordinator for Reach Out Lakota. “We are completely community funded, through in-kind and monetary donations, and we are grateful to the Union Centre Boulevard Merchants Association for its generosity.”

Next month, UCBMA will give away money to four non-profit organizations as part of its annual Christmas initiative.

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