Foundation Announces End of Year for 2018

Westfield – In 2018, the Westfield Foundation distributed over $278,000 in grants to 26 different agencies, among them: the Westfield Service League, Our House Foundation, Flintlocks BSA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Alzheimer’s Association, Arts Power and the YWCA Union County.  The diversity of grant recipients is a testament to the fact that the Foundation’s grants impact many lives. 

The foundation focuses on four sectors: Education, Health, Social Services and the Arts. For 2018, 46% of the grants were for educational requests, 5% for health, 44% for social services and civic and 5% for the arts.

Grants from the Foundation help individuals and agencies launch promising civic projects, so they can become sustainable agencies that meet a specific community need.  In 2018, the Foundation provided a major grant toward the renovation of Mindowaskin Park, which recently opened to the public.  In addition, the Foundation funded a state-of-the-art science, technology, engineering and math classroom at Westfield High School.  These major grants were from the Bertha Bogaert Fund held at the Foundation.

In the fourth quarter, the Foundation distributed $68,000 to 7 organizations. Recipients included Social Justice Matters, the New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra and Community Access Unlimited.

Currently, the Westfield Foundation is holding their annual fundraising appeal. The Foundation has added the capability of making a secure donation, via their website, for the first time. 

The Foundation holds only one annual fundraising campaign per year. If you wish to donate by check, to the foundation’s current annual appeal, donations may also be sent to: Westfield Foundation, PO Box 2295, Westfield, NJ 07091.

If you have questions about making a donation or are interested in creating a ‘family legacy’, which would benefit the community for years to come, please contact Betsy Chance, Executive Director, by phone at 908-233-9787 or by email using our contact form. Thank you for giving back to our community.

2018 Van Dellen Scholarship Winners: Claire Hunter and Mia Melao

Westfield – The Westfield Foundation is pleased to announce Claire Hunter and Mia Melao as the Clarence H. and Florence Horn Van Dellen Scholarship recipients for 2018.

Claire Hunter studies at The College of New Jersey.

Claire was an outstanding student at WHS, taking a very demanding program of study.  She balanced her rigorous academic schedule while teaching “Little Stars” – a dance program for children with special needs and disabilities.  She was an Assistant Athletic Trainer, a Transition Leader and has reached the highest level in Girl Scouts.

Claire is attending The College of New Jersey.  She is studying Occupational Therapy. Her journey to become an occupational therapist was sparked by her Junior research paper.  Being a lifelong dancer, she wanted to combine her love of dance with her interest in the health sciences.   She focused on the use of dance therapy with autistic children.  Her results found a positive effect on the physical, emotional, mental and social well-being of the children. Her goal is to use dance therapy combined with a degree as an occupational therapist to help children with autism.

Mia Melao is a student at Fairfield University.

At WHS, Mia was a standout cross-country runner and is on the cross-country team for Fairfield University in Connecticut, where she is enrolled in the honors program, studying nursing. Mia shared her love of running with youth in the area, as a coach for the Westfield YMCA Flyers Track Club.  Additionally, Mia was an active member at WHS as a transition leader, a member of the WHS National Honor Society, volunteered as a peer minister at St. Helen’s Church, and volunteered for Project Linus, a charity dedicated to distributing blankets to children in hospitals, shelters, and social service agencies.

Mia realized she wanted to be a nurse during her junior year of high school.  An AP Biology class reading requirement, Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives by Annie Murphy Paul, inspired her Junior research paper.  For her research, Mia studied new technologies which could predict illnesses in a fetus that would not present themselves until late adulthood.  This paper combined with her dissection unit in biology made her realize she loved the sciences and inspired her to become a nurse.

The Van Dellen Scholarship is $10,000 a year for four years totaling $40,000.  The selection criteria for the scholarship are: community service, academic achievement (top 25% of class), character, financial need and leadership.

The Westfield Rotary’s Scholarship Committee also administers several scholarships for the community-based Westfield Foundation.  Two top scholarships awarded in memory of Charles and Florence Wallace total $15,000 each, to be paid over the course of four years. The 2018 recipients are Claire Hunter and Shea Elliott.   The recipient of the Scholarship in memory of Chester A. Gerdes is Noah Ensslin.  In addition, the Linda Read Memorial Scholarships recipient is Julia Vricella-Stokes and the Read Law Scholarships recipients are Julia Schiano and Julia Robb.

Complete listing of the 2018 scholarship winners is here.