Bright Lights grants awarded to community advocates, nonprofit agencies

In recognition of PPL’s 100th anniversary, the PPL Foundation awarded a $100,000 in special grants to help illuminate the outstanding contributions of individuals working in the nonprofit sector. Ten Bright Lights grants of $10,000 were awarded in recognition of the honorees to the nonprofit agencies they support.

Melisa Baez leads the work of ASSETS Lancaster, a nonprofit focused on transforming the community through ethical and inclusive business practices. She has helped countless entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses in Lancaster County and South Central, Pa.

Dave Brumbaugh, founder and executive director of the Uptown Music Collective in Williamsport, Pa., has spent the last 20 years pursuing one goal – to educate and create well-rounded musicians, ages 10-18, so that they can connect their community with music.

Yamelisa Taveras is the founder of Unidos, an organization in the Lehigh Valley that works to improve the quality of life for underprivileged and marginalized residents by empowering unity and self-investment. The group recently raised funds to provide free laptops to Allentown School District students transitioning to remote learning due to COVID-19.

Sarah “Sally” Casey has led the struggle against domestic violence in Schuylkill County, Pa., since the grassroots efforts began in 1983. Her dedication and vision ever since to Schuylkill Women in Crisis (SWiC) has developed into a collaborative community response that has helped thousands of victims and their families find safety and healing.

Teresa Peters is making a huge impact in her hometown of Berwick, Pa., and beyond, by operating For the Cause, the area’s first free, public and youth-led teen center. The nonprofit provides unique programming aimed at developing and supporting teens in grades 7-12. In addition, it offers basic needs such as nutritious food, shelter and clothing.

Kristen Boyle is an inspiration to everyone who meets her. Legally blind, she has become an integral part of the design and creation of many programs for Northeast Sight Services in Exeter, Pa. She is committed to the development and improvement of programs that help other members of the community who suffer from vision loss.

For more than 20 years, Darian Colbert has invested in the Allentown, Pa., community by engaging in the leadership development of thousands of students, adult leaders and volunteers through the nonprofit agency, Cohesion Network. Its mission is to collaborate with residents, organizations and local government to empower people socially, educationally and economically, and create lasting change.

Darian Colbert

Tim Lee is the driving force behind The Mountain Center, a facility that offers a multitude of services to Monroe County, Pa., residents through Pocono Services for Family and Children. Four years ago, Lee turned an abandoned school building into a community resource center that has assisted thousands of Monroe County residents in 2019.

Melissa Fillman founded Kindness is Magic, a Lehigh Valley organization that improves the education outcomes of public-school students by advocating for all students to be provided a nutritious lunch regardless of their economic status.

Christopher Kaag, Bright Lights grant recipient, founder and executive director of the IM ABLE Foundation in Berks County, Pa., works to promote active lifestyles for everybody, including people with disabilities and veterans. Funding from the Bright Lights award will be used to sustain no-cost online and in-person fitness and social programs for clients.

For more information about grants available from PPL Foundation.

October 7, 2022

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