Community Impact

The VIA is always doing good for the communities within Bucks County. Follow these pages to learn more about our impact.

Community Response & Recognition

Community Response Grants

The VIA awards one-time grants to other non-profit organizations which address unmet community needs. Grant requests should be consistent with the VIA’s mission to enhance the health and welfare of Central Bucks County and surrounding communities and may not provide permanent support, either total or partial, to an agency or individual.

Grant applications are received year-round for review each fall and the grants are awarded once a year.  Please click here to download the Community Response Grant Guidelines and Application.

Since 2000, More than $160,000 in Community Response grants have been awarded.

For a list of Community Response Grants that have been awarded.

Community Response Grant History

Year Organization Amount
2018 Lenape Valley Foundation $10,000
2018 Doylestown Hospital Mental Health Forum $2,500
2017 Ann Silverman Community Health Clinic $5,000
2017 PARVEE Foundation $5,000
2017 Bucks County Foodshed Alliance $2,500
2016 Maternity Care Coalition $4,000
2016 Rolling Harvest $3,500
2016 Boy Scouts Post #125 $2,000
2016 Doylestown Boro Parade Committee $2,000
2016 I Can Shine Bike Camp $2,000
2016 Special Equestrians $1,140
2015 Coalition to Shelter & Support Homeless $7,000
2015 Peace Valley Creative $7,000
2014 CB Cares $4,000
2014 VFW Post 175 $3,000
2014 Child, Home & Community $1,000
2013 Special Equestrians $6,000
2013 Bucks Beautiful $2,500
2013 United Vets of Doylestown $2,500
2013 YMCA
2012 Bucks County Children’s Museum $5,000
2012 Health & Wellness Center $5,000
2012 Town & Country Players $1,500
2011 Friends of the Birthing Center $9,585
2011 Doylestown Comfort Choir $600
2010 CB Cares $10,000
2010 St. Vincent de Paul $5,000
2010 The Lord’s Pantry $3,000
2009 James-Lorah Memorial Home Auditorium $4,000
2008 Doylestown Hospital Arboretum $3,000
2008 Habitat for Humanity $2,500
2007 Foundation Behavioral Health $2,600
2007 Pine Run Community $2,400
2006 James-Lorah Memorial Home $1,700
2006 Bucks County Alliance $1,000
2006 Wrapping Presence $500
2005 Bucks County Library $2,500
2005 Town & Country Players $2,000
2004 Cottage Street Sport Club $2,500
2004 Dance Theater of PA $1,000
2004 Child, Home, & Community $500
2003 Bucks County Choral Society $2,000
2003 Central Bucks YMCA $2,000
2003 Central Bucks School District $900
2002 Community Care Project $3,000
2002 Community Service Memorial Committee $1,500
2001 Doylestown Township Police $3,000
2001 Bucks County Youth, Inc $1,000
2001 Heritage Conservancy $1,000
2000 Central Bucks Healthier Community Team $5,000
2000 Doylestown Hospital $2,500

Community Recognition

Biannually, the VIA selects and recognizes an individual or group who has contributed to the community consistent with the mission of the Village Improvement Association. The recipients are honored at the June VIA Luncheon.

(L to R) Joyce Hanson, Dr. Brenda Foley, and Marilyn Mele. ¶
The 2019 recipient of the VIA’s Community Recognition Award is Brenda Foley, MD, assistant director of Doylestown Hospital’s Emergency Department. Dr. Foley joined Doylestown Hospital in 2008 and is President-elect of the Medical Staff. She is recognized for her efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. Dr. Foley helped establish Doylestown Hospital’s “Narcotic-Responsible Hospital” policy several years ago to manage the prescribing of narcotics in the Emergency Department. She also launched the Medication-Assisted Treatment program in 2018, providing access to medications like buprenorphine to help people quit their use of heroin or other opiates. Dr. Foley is a board member of the Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission. She contributed to the VIA’s opioid education forum last year and continues to help the VIA meet its mission by addressing the opioid epidemic in its strategic initiatives.¶

For a list of past Community Recognition Awards.

Community Recognition Award History

Year Organization Individual
2019 Dr. Brenda Foley
2017 Hannah Sexton – Hannah’s Closet
2015 Diane Smith Roxy Reading Therapy Dogs
2015 Ray Hendrick “The Bluebird Man”
2013 Bucks County Children’s Museum
2013 CB Cares Educational Foundation
2011 Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve Hon. Edmund V. Ludwig
2009 Doylestown Bike & Hike Committee Karen Thompson
2007 Heritage Conservancy Marne Dietterich – Wrapping Presence
2005 Special Equestrians
2003 Larry Schade
2003 Rev. John Weatherhog
2003 Rev. Tracy Weatherhog
2002 Bicycle Trail Louis White
2002 Bicycle Trail Lynne B. Goldman
2001 Delaware Valley College Mike & Arlene Stachel
2000 FISH Milton Rutherford
1999 Peace Valley Nature Center Joe Helberg
1998 Eleanor Bracer Pitcairn
1998 Officer Judy Murphy
1997 Penn Engineering Herman & Ann Silverman
1996 County Theater Stuart Montgomery
1995 Genuardi Family markets Jane & Chuck Acton
1994 Doylestown Business and Community Alliance Walter Conti
1993 Nature Club Helen & Ken Gemmill
1992 Junior Women’s Club Howard Foote (Posthumous)

Educational Scholarships

The VIA is committed to empowering others through education and offers several awards and scholarships. The VIA offers Educational Scholarships, HOBY Scholarships, and Women’s Scholarships. Through the James-Lorah Memorial Home Committee, it also gives two awards: the James-Lorah Deed of Kindness Prize and the James-Lorah English Prize.

VIA Teen Scholarships

The Education Committee awards three Hannah Pollock-Laura Haddock Scholarships to graduating high school seniors who reside in the Central Bucks School District and have been accepted by a college or university to major in a human health-related program. Since 2008, the VIA has awarded $54,000 in scholarships to Central Bucks graduates.

YEARNameHigh SchoolUniversityAward
2019Sabrina AntonucciCBEastNotre Dame$2,000
2019Laura SpadtCB SouthPenn State$2,000
2019Julia WiegerCB EastUniv. Pittsburgh$2,000
2018Ashley WeissCB EastUniv. Maryland$2,000
2018Lydia HuCB WestPenn State$2,000
2018Sambhav JainCB EastGeorgia Tech$2,000
2017Alekhya GunturiCB EastBoston University$2,000
2017Jack TrainaCB WestHarvard$2,000
2017Sammy OmesiCB WestUniv. North Carolina$2,000
2016Casey ZhangCB EastUniv. Pittsburgh$2,000
2016Joseph M. Callaghan IIIAB WoodPenn State$2,000
2016Madeline MyrtetusCB EastUniv. Virginia$2,000
2015Abby RubinCB SouthWashington Univ.$2,000
2015Michele KarnCB SouthFranciscan Univ.$2,000
2015Pooja GandhiCB EastLaSalle Univ.$2,000
2014Lisa TheinAB WoodPenn State$2,000
2014Sarah D’SouzaCB EastPenn State-Schreyer$2,000
2014Zoe BarbatiCB EastUniv. Pennsylvania$2,000
2013David WeinsteinCB EastUniv. Michigan$1,000
2013Erin RossCB SouthSt. Joseph’s Univ.$1,000
2013Timothy SchisselbauerAB WoodTemple Univ.$1,000
2012April ZhangCB SouthUniv. of Miami$1,000
2012Michael ChenCB WestMass. Institute Tech.$1,000
2012Priya PatelCB EastWellesley$1,000
2011Jennifer GuideraCB EastHarvard$1,000
2011Kimberly LorCB SouthUniv. Pittsburgh$1,000
2011Sarah HadyniakCB SouthBoston University$1,000
2010Brendan FairmanCB WestUniv. Calif.-Berkley$1,000
2010Christopher ZhengCB SouthCornell$1,000
2010Mira AminCB SouthTemple 7yr. BA/MD$1,000
2009Ana BoccutiCB WestFranklin & Marshall$1,000
2009Andrew DegatanoCB EastCornell$1,000
2009Sasha HalazeCB WestMoravian College$1,000
2008Katelyn MullenCB West $1,000
2008Kathryn CalpinoCB East $1,000
2008Kelly DonahueCB South $1,000
   TOTAL$54,000

Ruth Boland Memorial Nursing Scholarship

The committee also evaluates senior high school nursing scholarship candidates and selects the recipient for the VIA Ruth Boland Memorial Nursing Scholarship which is financially supported by the family of late VIA President Ruth Boland.

For the eighth year, the family of the late Ruth Boland, former VIA President and nurse, funded the VIA Ruth Boland Memorial Nursing Scholarship. At the VIA June 2019 Luncheon, Kathleen and Jeanne Boland presented the $2,000 award to Rebekah Cheng, a Central Bucks East student who plans to attend the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Nursing.

HOBY Scholarship

Since 1992, the Village Improvement Association of Doylestown has worked with the three Central Bucks School District high schools to identify outstanding sophomore students with promising leadership skills to attend Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership seminars. The VIA funds the fee to attend these informative skill-and-character-building three-day sessions. Each June, these students are invited to attend the VIA Membership Luncheon to be honored and share how the experience has impacted them. The three recipients this year include Sarah Zhang, Central Bucks East; Livia Olsen, Central Bucks West, and Elizabeth Zuerblis, Central Bucks South.

Hugh O’Brian, best known for his acting role as Marshall Wyatt Earp in the 1950 TV series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, was a humanitarian as well. In 1958 O’Brian established the Hugh O’Brian Youth Foundation whose mission is “to inspire students to a life of leadership and service to their communities.”

Today, the HOBY Foundation holds seminars nationwide and in many foreign countries with more than 12,000 students participating each year.


James-Lorah Prizes

In 1924, Martha James Lorah established the Deed of Kindness Prize in her will and her husband, George Lorah, both a minister and amateur poet, established the George H. Lorah English Prize in his wife’s memory.  In June 2018, $100 was awarded to Hailey Bekos for the Martha James Lorah Deed of Kindness Prize and $100 was awarded to Andrew Cox for the George H. Lorah English Prize.

Women’s Scholarships

This committee was established in 1997. It is a program designed to provide financial aid to eligible women to obtain education and/or training to prepare them to secure employment or to improve their work status by upgrading their skills. The scholarships are based on need and must be used only for educational/vocational purposes.

The committee receives applications from women who are primarily referred through social service agencies, local college counselors, and community support groups. Applicants are generally adult women seeking to re-enter the job force who are in need of support services for counseling and housing. Many of the applicants are single parents hoping to establish financial independence for themselves and their children. Applicants submit a goal statement, personal references and a plan of study. This committee does not review applications from graduating high school students.

Click here to download an application – WOMEN’S SCHOLARSHIP FORM

Veterans

The mission of the Veterans Committee is to “Support the mission of the VIA by providing information on military issues to the VIA membership and by collecting and coordinating VIA donations to selected military charities.” The committee collects donations at the October and November VIA meetings and distributes the funds through the rest of the club year. The veteran-related charity is always consulted about its needs, and the committee purchases and delivers these selected items when possible

History of giving:

2018$2,500Horsham AGS FRG Programs
2018$500Washington Crossing National Cemetery
2018$150Pine Run Veterans’ Garden
2018$100Hometown Heroes- Freedom Square
2018$26Central Bucks Family YMCA Luncheon
2017$2,000Horsham AGS FRG Programs
2017$500Doylestown American Legion Post 210
2017$500Shamrock Reins
2017$500Washington Crossing National Cemetery
2017$450Operation Paperback
2017$350US War Dog Association
2017$100Central Bucks Family YMCA Luncheon

Welfare

The Welfare Committee, originally named the Organized Charity Committee, was established in 1897 to serve those in need in the community.

The committee receives referrals from area social service agencies and provides financial assistance for food, clothing, baby supplies, prescription medicines, car repairs, rent, and utilities. 

Annual winter gift-card giving assists financially challenged families of students enrolled in the Central Bucks School District.

Members of the committee are available seven days a week to receive referrals. 

Welfare is funded by earnings from trusts, donations from VIA members and the community at large, and proceeds from VIA’s largest fundraiser – the Bucks County Designer House & Gardens.  

Past Organizations Supported

2018Doylestown Food Pantry
Lenape Valley Foundation
Meals on Wheels
A Women’s Place
Doylestown FISH
Bucks County Intermediate Unit Homeless Education
Valley Youth House/Synergy Project
$3,600
$3,000
$2,500
$2,500
$4,000
$2,000
$2,000
2017Ann Silverman Community Health Clinic 
A Women’s Place
Bucks County Intermediate Unit Education Program
Doylestown Food Pantry
Doylestown FISH
Lenape Valley Foundation
Meals on Wheels
$2,500
$2,500
$2,000
$3,000
$4,000
$3,000
$2,500
Prior YearsAnn Silverman Community Health Clinic
Child, Home & Community
Doylestown Food Pantry
Doylestown Hospital Case Manager Fund
FISH, Friends in Service to Humanity
Lenape Valley Foundation
Meals on Wheels
A Woman’s Place
Bucks County Intermediate Unit Homeless Education
Valley Youth House/Synergy Project

NAS Project

The initiative includes providing supplies to parents of babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

DOYLESTOWN – The Village Improvement Association of Doylestown (VIA) is helping families affected by the opioid epidemic by providing essential baby items to parents of newborns with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).

Members of the VIA gathered at Doylestown Hospital on January 16 to assemble the donation bags for the families.

“Building on our strong history of supporting the health and welfare of the Central Bucks County community, this effort extends our reach to some of the youngest in our area who are impacted by the opioid crisis,” said Joy Levy, VIA corresponding secretary who helped coordinate the effort. “We hope the contents of these bags will help these infants flourish and make a difference in the lives of their families. We are grateful for all the support and donations we received to make this effort possible.”

The initiative is one way in which the VIA is addressing the opioid crisis and meeting its mission to support the health and welfare of the community. The VIA held an Opioid Listening Forum in April 2018 to understand how this issue is being addressed by other organizations and community resources, and to identify gaps in treatment and support where the VIA could be most effective.

Through its Community Response Fund, the VIA provided a $10,000 grant to the Lenape Valley Foundation to sponsor a resident bedroom in the new Lenape Valley Foundation Lodge, a short-stay residential facility located in Bristol Borough.

As founders of Doylestown Hospital, the VIA also wanted to have an impact on families that get their start in the hospital’s VIA Maternity Center. 

About 35 babies are born at Doylestown Hospital each year with NAS, a set of conditions found in newborns exposed to opioids in utero. After birth, these babies may experience withdrawal-like symptoms including tremors and irritability along with difficulty feeding and gaining weight.

Instead of staying in the Intensive Care Nursery, babies with NAS and their mothers stay in the Della Penna Pediatric Center, which has private rooms and specialized nursing care around the clock. There nurses provide support to help the new moms learn to calm their newborn and give their babies the comfort and love needed to recover and grow. In late 2018, the VIA purchased two seats designed to help soothe irritable babies and a breastfeeding pump for use by families in the Della Penna Center.

The VIA also wanted to provide items that would help these infants when they leave the hospital for home. Babies born with NAS will head home with a bag of items including sleep sacks to promote safe sleep, pacifiers to help improve their sucking reflex and other items including hats, blankets, baby wash, baby lotion, nursing pads, toys and books.

The baby care bags were made possible with support from the VIA, Doylestown Hospital, the Eden Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, Doylestown Hospital Knitting Group, Pine Run Community and Minuteman Press of Doylestown.

Kathy Donahue, director of Maternal-Child Services for Doylestown Health, provided guidance to the VIA regarding which items and equipment would be most beneficial for the families.

“The dedication of these women toward new families is wonderful, they help us in so many ways and this project is from the heart,” said Kathy. “The families will be so grateful to get a head start with the gift bags and the generous donation of equipment will help for years to come.”

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