LEWISBURG — The Degenstein Foundation approved a $20,000 grant for the Buffalo Valley Recreation Authority, according to BVRA’s executive director and board members.
The grant eliminates 25% of the estimated $80,000 shortfall the municipal authority faces through year’s end — an admittedly uncertain estimate, according to Executive Director Shirley Nelson Brough, given the potential for the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to further thwart revenue opportunities.
“It’s not everyday someone gives you $20,000,” board member Char Gray said as she passed around a Thank You card meant for the Foundation.
Board members met Wednesday for BVRA’s monthly meeting. Seven of the Authority’s 12 members attended: Pat Musselman, Mike Glazer, Char Gray, Tim Hutchings, all representing East Buffalo Township; George Botelho, Pete Bergonia, and Dana Bosak, all representing Lewisburg.
The way Brough described the gift from Degenstein Foundation, it came as a surprise. The Foundation awards grant requests through the First Community Foundation, to which Brough applied on behalf of BVRA. The request was denied by First Community Foundation, she said.
“Later in the same afternoon, I got a letter from the Degenstein Foundation which said they’ll give us $20,000,” Brough told board members.
“We’re very appreciative of that,” Gray said.
Brough said an application through Weis Markets for a $5,000 grant is pending. She asked that anyone aware of potential grant funding opportunities to contact her office. BVRA wasn’t eligible for a grant through Union County’s CARES program because it’s a municipal authority, she said.
Brough approached East Buffalo Township Supervisors earlier this month for financial assistance. The township board, which includes Gray, voted to authorize emergency funds of up to $8,000 between meetings through year’s end. The move allows faster action rather than waiting for a formal board vote. Additional funds could be authorized by the board at its meetings.
Brough said she’ll make a funding request of Lewisburg, too, and has been invited to present her case at the borough council’s work session in October.
The pandemic thwarted revenue including from BVRA’s primary source, its gymnastics program. The gym’s since reopened but government restrictions reduced access and, as a result, revenue.
“They slowly seem to be coming around especially since now they’re sending kids to public schools,” Brough said of gymnastics program.
BVRA continues to pay $10,000 monthly to the operators of the GreenSpace Center in Lewisburg where its offices and gym are located. Brough said she was denied a deferral but will approach the facility owners again.
“A solvent client makes a good one longterm,” Hutchings said in support of Brough’s request to reduce or defer rent payments.
Brough expressed caution about a deferment, saying it just pushes the problem into 2021 as she expects the new year will begin where the current one looks to leave off — unstable income and continued expenses.