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Zenith in Sight for Progress Fund Capital Drive

A generous $100,000 grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation puts The Progress Fund on the verge of completing a $1.4 million capital campaign that will fuel new tourism-related businesses in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The Benedum Foundation announced its board’s decision to authorize a two-year, $100,000 grant to the Fund on Sept. 12. The grant will capitalize a loan fund to stimulate the tourism industry in Fayette and Greene counties.

The grant brings the Fund’s capital campaign total to $1,280,000. “It’s been a long climb, but thanks to many generous people, the summit is in sight,” said Progress Fund President and CEO David Kahley.

Every cent raised in the capital campaign will be invested in small businesses in rural Southwestern Pennsylvania. “With $1.4 million to lend and our in-house expertise, we will help new businesses get going, help established businesses expand, and create jobs in southwestern Pennsylvania’s promising tourism sector,” said Kahley.

The Progress Fund has also received the following grants in its current capital campaign:

  • $380,000 from the Richard King Mellon Foundation
  • $250,000 from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institution fund
  • $250,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business Extension Grant Program
  • $300,000 from an anonymous donor

In another development, the Appalachian Regional Commission announced on Sept. 24 a $35,000 operating grant to the Fund, for economic development activities in Fayette, Greene, Somerset and Westmoreland counties. The grant was arranged by Congressman John P. Murtha. Along with a recent $325,000 operating award from the Pennsylvania Community Development Bank, the grant will allow the fund to provide technical services to small businesses.

Recent recipients of Fund loans and assistance include Cherryhill Manufacturing Corp. of Blairsville, Indiana County; Cones & Chrome of Tarrs, Westmoreland County; and the Janey Lynn Motel of Bedford, Bedford County.