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Holiday Huddle 2023

Collaboration and Celebration
Thursday, December 14th from 4:00 - 7:00
Monarch Place (lower level), 100 Brugh Ave, Butler, PA

The Holiday Huddle is an opportunity for all aspects of our Butler County community to gather in a forum of celebration, information sharing and relationship-building. The Holiday Huddle provides many Butler County professionals with the opportunity to mingle with other people and organizations who care about Butler County and are working diligently to make it a better place for all.

The event will be held in the beautiful Dedication Hall at Monarch Place, with food provided by Where Pigs Fly and the Butler Hoagie Shop.  Both food vendors were chosen based on their selfless giving to the community for those with financial struggles and food insecurity during the height of the COVID Pandemic shutdowns.

The following is an overview of the event highlights From 2022 Holiday Huddle

Changes to BCF Executive Committee Leadership


Starting off the event, the new 2023 BCF Executive Committee Members were announced.  Joining the team are Linda Thoma of Jean B. Purvis Community Health Center as incoming Co-Chair, Tricia Pritchard of BC3 as incoming Education Representative, and Ken Clowes as incoming Adult Community Representative.  Scott "Howie" Dittman of EVIG Consulting and Help Butler County was announced as the new Vice Co-Chair, moving from his former position as Adult Community Representative.  The BCF Executive Committee is fortunate to see the return of the following in a new 2 year term: Janet Arida of Highmark Caring Place as Treasurer, Caitlin Painter (community member) as Secretary, Bob Sherwin of Bethany Christian Services as Faith Based Representative, and Cindy MacTaggart of State Farm Insurance as Business Representative.

Exiting from their years of service on the Executive Committee with many thanks are Kortney Bradley of Family Pathways having served as Vice Co-Chair, Karen Jack of BC3 having served as Education Representative, and Mandy Geibel of Mental Health Association having served as Past Chair.  Joshua Strelbicki of Children's Advocacy Center of Butler County exited his role as Co-Chair and will move into the Past Chair role.

2023-Mini-Grant Winner Announced

After applications were reviewed and vetted, two incredible projects were presented at the November General Membership Meeting for a chance to win the $5,000 BCF Mini-grant award.  Lead applicants had to be current members of the BCF and either Non-profit/Human Service Agencies or Houses of Worship, had to partner with a minimum of two other BCF member agencies/businesses, and had to address an identified service gap in Butler County. 


The first project presented was Rise Up Rides, a collaboration between Alliance for Nonprofit Resources, Butler Health Systems, and The Lighthouse Foundation.  The project is focused on addressing medical and non-medical transportation needs for individuals in Butler County where transportation options are sparse or nonexistant.  Of note, a goal is to aid in ensuring community members have transportation to important appointments, services, and life sustaining/enhancing opportunities such as job interviews and grocery trips.

The second project presented was A Year of Family Fun, a collaboration between SRU Institute for Nonprofit Leadership, Butler County Human Services, Butler SUCCEED, and Butler Family YMCA.  This project aims to provide 10-12 families experiencing poverty in the 9023 Census Track a year of affordable and accessible family strengthening programming through monthly enrichment and entertainment activities via a cohort model.  In addition to these activites, participating adults will complete the Institute for Nonprofit Leadership's Community Leadership Certificate Course, which is designed to assist them in finding their voice, empower them to self-advocate, and address issues in their own neighborhood.

Based on a very close vote from the BCF Membership, Rise Up Rides, was announced at the Holiday Huddle as the recipient of the 2022-2023 BCF Mini-grant award and was presented with a check by BCF Coordinator, Jim Smith, and Co-Chair Joshua Strelbicki.  Cody Slater of ANR Transport, Becky Clouse of Butler Health Systems, and staff from the Lighthouse Foundation thanked the membership for their support and stated that the grant was just the beginning of tackling the transportation issues facing the community.

Following the award presentation, Pastor Joel Benson of Trinity Lutheran Church came to the stand and discussed the calling he and his congregation had felt to ensure that both worthy projects received the funding and support they deserved (hear his message to his congregation here).  Pastor Benson and his board chair then presented A Year of Family Fun with an equal $5,000 donation on behalf of their congregation to ensure the project's success.  The award was graciously received by Alice Del Vecchio of Institute for Non-profit Leadership and Jessica Burr of Butler Family YMCA who encouraged BCF members to connect with the program to collaborate on activities and ensure families could learn about their services and programs.

Prior to dismissal for break-out discussion, Family Pathways Executive Director, Dr. Elan Welter-Lewis, announced additional support for Rise Up Rides and provided a matching $5,000 check for the project noting the wide-reaching impact that it could have on the people served by the social service sector.  Following the event, Dr. Welter-Lewis shared the following words:  "Family Pathways was pleased to support the transportation mini grant process because it made good practical sense for the whole community. It was a proposal that laid the foundation for leveraging transportation resources and expanded opportunities for unaddressed vulnerable populations in our County. This is a founding principle of the BCF."

Breakout Discussions

Following the incredible show of support toward the two collaborative projects, attendees were dismissed to either enhance professional connections, learn about the many programs and services offered in the community, or to participate in one of two breakout session topics. 


The first breakout topic was "Post-Pandemic Children" and focused on the challenges facing the children of Butler County as they make the shift back into schools, as well as the sharing of any known solutions/resources available to address learning gaps that occurred during the Pandemic.  Topics ranges from sociability, to mental health, education, and beyond.

The second topic was "The Elderly" and focused on how various institutions in the community can better engage with the elderly populations and the programs that serve them, to ensure they thrive, have connections with others in the community, and feel a sense of purpose.  Topics included issues with isolation, lack of transportation, and opportunities for meaningful collaboration between programs.

Thanks to all that attended the event and participated in the discussions!

Feedback From The Event

If you attended the 2022 Holiday Huddle, please take a moment to provide your feedback so that we can ensure a meaningful experience for the 2023 Holiday Huddle.

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