Women United

Women United Graphic


Centre County Women United

Women United, originally working as the Women’s Leadership Group within CCUW, is a group of community women who focus on issues, projects, and programs aligned with the wellbeing of women and children in Centre County. We are part of a network of over 70,000 women in over 165 United Way organizations across the country.  We offer several opportunities to be a part of this important work to like-minded women in Centre County.


In  2004 Ellie Beaver, Executive Director of the Centre County United Way, attended a National United Way Conference and learned about the concept of the Women’s Leadership Initiative and the Power of the Purse. She started researching the information on the Women’s Leadership Initiatives throughout the country. She was so excited by the concept of women making their own decisions on charitable giving separate from their husbands. She was equally excited about the concept of a “Separate Campaign” with a separate designated fund with the money being used for issues related to women and children. But along with the excitement was a concern that the money raised through the initiative would not detract one single cent from an annual general campaign...and it doesn't!

Ellie rallied women in leadership positions across the county to join the group and over the past 18 years the group members, focus, functions, and requirements for membership have evolved. One thing that has stayed the same is the committment to the women and children of Centre County.

Looking for a meaningful way to support new initiatives to serve women and children in Centre County? Look no further. Women United of Centre County United Way (CCUW) is the answer.

Women United members meet several times a year to learn about and discuss issues affecting women, children, and families in Centre County. We are connected to local organizations that share information and supply opportunities for volunteer work. Women United also hosts after-hours events for networking and to support local organizations serving women, children, and families.

A key activity for Women United is the annual grant program which funds local 501(c)3 organizations implementing new or expanding projects, programs, or services that support women and children in Centre County. Since 2008, Women United has provided over $183,000 to local organizations for start-up programs, including:

  • Child Access Center and Centre County Courthouse Children’s Space

  • Mid-State Literacy Council to support health literacy for women,

  • ARC of Centre County and Adults Creating Residential and Employment Solutions (ACRES) for programs addressing healthy relationships

  • Jana Marie Foundation, YMCA of Centre County, and Tides for mental health programs

  • Bellefonte Branch YMCA and Discovery Space for security system equipment

  • Eagle Ambassadors in the Bald Eagle school district to train elementary school students on how to recognize, react, and report unsafe scenarios.

  • Centre County Youth Services Bureau for youth outreach in rural areas


Funding for Women United grants comes from financial support of the group in addition to regular campaign contributions to CCUW. Women 49 and younger contribute $250 for membership in Women United in addition to a minimum contribution of $250 to the CCUW general campaign. Women 50 and older contribute $500 or more to Women United and $500 or more to the CCUW general campaign.


Organizations applying for these grants must be 501(c)3 organizations but are not required to be CCUW Partner Agencies. Grant applications are available in the spring of each year. Women United members review the applications submitted and select the recipients. Representatives of recipient organizations share updates with Women United throughout the funding year regarding program outcomes, client feedback, and future needs.


Currently, women join Centre County Women United by designating a contribution to Women United in addition to their contribution to the general campaign. With this structure, funds are raised as a separate designated fund that will not detract from the CCUW annual general campaign. 


Since 2008, Centre County Women United has contributed over $183,000 to organizations within Centre County. Funds are granted to support new or expanding initiatives that specifically benefit women and children. Projects funded have included the start-up of the Centre County Child Access Center and the Centre County Courthouse Children’s Space, health literacy for women, healthy relationships, recognizing unsafe scenarios, youth outreach in rural areas, and facility security.  


Join us to… 

  • Meet and network with other women interested in focusing their efforts within this area 

  • Stay informed about issues impacting women and children in Centre County 

  • Have an impact in Centre County through grants benefiting women and children specifically 

  • Be involved in funding decisions regarding the annual grants 

    For more information about becoming a member, please contact

Ja Nae Wian at janae@ccunitedway.org.


Women United Grant History

Total Awarded to Date: $183,628


8 applicants, $7,350 to award

  • The Makery of Central Pennsylvania - $6,350 for the Centre County Courthouse Children’s Space

The need for this space was confirmed in conversation with staff from Youth Services Bureau, the Courthouse, and other organizations. It will be an alternative for children and teens now having to wait in the hallways of the Courthouse, providing them instead with a peaceful, secure waiting space. Courthouse staff have identified a space. Funds will be used to renovate the identified space and acquire some of the furnishings.

  • Centre Volunteers in Medicine - $1,000 for the Breast Health Program

CVIM’s Breast Health Program provides vouchers to those uninsured or underinsured for mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsies, and other testing related to identification and treatment of breast cancer. The grant will be used to increase awareness of this program through advertising, to reach more potential clients who otherwise, because of cost, would not get the testing.


7 applicants, $10,850 to award

  • Discovery Space - $3,724 for security cameras on the property

 Before 2020, Discovery Space only served children under the age of 14 and their families, primarily across 5 days a week. In February 2020, Discovery Space expanded to include The Rivet, a makerspace designed to engage high schoolers and adults. There are growing numbers of people on-site, varying from toddlers to retirees, seven days a week,

  • YMCA of Centre County - $3,600 for Dolphins, A Mental Health Program for Kids

 Dolphins is a 6-week program facilitated by two licensed therapists that educate and supports children 7 to11 years old. In this age range, kids have a strong need to feel that they belong, so groups can be a great way for them to gain a sense of belonging.

  • Tides - $2,906 for grief support programs and resources in Centre County school district. The funds will be used to support six-week support groups in each of the seven school districts of Centre County: Bald Eagle, Bellefonte, Keystone Central, Philipsburg Osceola, Penns Valley, State College, and Tyrone, for children who have experienced the death of a loved one.
  • CenClear Child Services - $620 to support transition of children into kindergarten

This program is targeted for children entering kindergarten in 2023. It will serve 25 economically disadvantaged, underperforming, or at-risk of underperforming children attending CenClear’s Head Start program, the Park Forest Preschool, or otherwise identified. The children will attend the summer 2023 6-week Champs Camp summer camp hosted by the State College Area School District (SCASD).


7 applicants, $11,500 to award

  • Mid-State Literacy - $5,000 for Literacy for Life

This is a new program that will reach 20 women in low-wage jobs living in specific low-income housing. The programs will be delivered in the housing facilities in State College and Bellefonte.

  • ARC of Centre County - $3,500 for Healthy and Safe Relationships

This program will provide education to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the areas of healthy sexuality, understanding degrees of intimacy, navigating healthy relationships, and the prevention of abuse.

  • Centre Safe - $3,000 for Off-site Shelter for Rural Survivors

This program will fund shelter outside of State College, possibly in local hotels, for survivors in rural areas, so that they can maintain local community contacts and children can remain in local schools.


7 applicants, $8,000 to award

  • Park Forest Preschool - $5,000 to provide for increased costs for cleaning, to ensure an environment that protects the well-being of students, families, staff, and volunteers in the face of Covid-19
  • Mid-State Literacy Council - $3,000 for “Literacy for Life: Computer Skills for Grandmothers Raising Grandchildren”


9 applicants, $13,000 to award

The funds will be used for a new group targeting younger women on the Autism Spectrum (in their teens, twenties, and thirties) and their mothers to help develop comfort when discussion sensitive topics related to dating, relationships, and abuse.

CACJ has established Youth Aid Panels that provide a community-based alternative to traditional court processing of juvenile offenders.

CCYSB Street Outreach Program serves youth in outlying and rural areas (Boalsburg, Centre Hall, Philipsburg, Wingate, Bellefonte, and Milesburg) with access to Youth Center facilities and staff on a regular weekly schedule, with food, homework assistance and activities that focus on good decision making and safety issues.

Shine Girls Club is a middle school program offering resilience and confidence building through learned skills, activities, and art at meetings twice a month.


8 applicants; $12,500 to award

  • Penns Valley Emergency Medical Services – fund scholarships for EMT certification training for eight students
  • Discovery Space - purchase and install security system equipment.
  • Mid-State Literacy Council – Women’s Health Literacy Initiative – development of seven or more lessons to be delivered by volunteers to low literate and limited English women on topics specifically related to women’s health and safety


11 applicants; $12,000 to award

  • Mid-State Literacy Council – Intensive ESL training for immigrants
  • Youth Services Bureau – Into the Streets – youth outreach program in rural areas


7 applicants; $11,928 to award

  • Eagle Ambassadors – educating children in Bald Eagle school district in grades K-5 how to recognize unsafe scenarios and how to react and report.
  • Discovery Space – computers for expanded programming


10 applicants; $16,500 to award

  • Park Forest Preschool - to extend hours.
  • Jana Marie Foundation - for programming


7 applicants; $13,000 to award

  • Mid-State Literacy Council - equipment to support training in Health Literacy
  • YMCA Bellefonte - camera security system in childcare areas


WLG developed process for receiving and reviewing requests for grants on a regular basis; WLG supported Stewards of Children training

2010 - 2012

WLG provided nearly $10,000 to school districts in the county for things like class trips, sports equipment, and yearbooks for students who did not have sufficient funds

2008 - 2009

WLG provided major support for the start-up of the Centre County Child Access Center – through 2014 WLG provided over $57,000


Join us at an upcoming Women United event.

See events here: