Thank you to Dr. Joyce Miller, CEO of Northwest Institute of Research!  Dr. Miller climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in June in an effort to raise awareness about high quality early childhood education and to fund raise for Erie’s Future Fund scholarships.  Along with the $10,000 donation from the Northwest Institute of Research and fundraising, Joyce was able to raise $18,100 for Erie’s Future Fund scholarships!  Thank you, Joyce, for your efforts to help our children “climb” to success!

Mt. Kili Check Presentation

Thank you, Dr. Joyce Miller!

Pictured left to right: Michelle Harkins, Scholarship Director of Erie’s Future Fund and Associate Executive Director of Early Connections; Dr. Joyce Miller; CEO Northwest Institute of Research, Northwest Regional Key; and Darlene Kovacs, Executive Director, Early Connections.


Thank you to the donors who supported Erie’s Future Fund during the 2015 Erie Gives Day! Your generosity helped fund scholarships that benefit children throughout Erie County.

Help Erie’s Future Fund Scholars “Climb” to Success!

Kilimanjaro update:

Joyce Miller with Banner

Dr. Joyce Miller briefly pausing during her Mt. Kilimanjaro climb.

For two days, Dr. Joyce Miller climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in very precarious situations.  Most of the time was spent climbing rocks up the mountain, instead of the anticipated trekking.  The second day of the climb took 12 hours, instead of the expected 4-7 hours.  Due to chest pains and a low heartbeat from the altitude and climbing intensity, Joyce needed to descend Kilimanjaro (another 4 hour trek!).  Thank goodness that Joyce decided to climb back down the mountain at that time.  It took her a few days for to recover from the physically taxing climb, but Joyce was looking forward to the rest of her visit in Tanzania.

We would like to congratulate Joyce for her strength and determination during such a difficult climb.  Joyce explains, “I got up to 12,300 ft and have memories of the most difficult physical exhaustion I have ever felt, the coldest sleeping conditions in a sleeping bag that was difficult to move around in…However, the stars on the mountain were amazing.”

Joyce Miller, you are one of Erie’s Future Fund’s amazing “stars”, forever shining the light on Erie’s Future Fund and the importance of  providing our children with a high-quality early childhood education experience.  We applaud you for your accomplishment- 12,300 feet!  Erie’s Future Fund thanks you, and everyone who has and will be donating to your Mt. Kili fundraiser.  This fundraiser continues until the end of June:

Join Dr. Joyce Miller to Help Erie’s Future Fund Scholars “Climb” to Success!

Dr. Joyce Miller is climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in June to support Erie’s Future Fund, which is a scholarship program that helps low-income children attend high quality early education programs throughout Erie County.

She is initially donating $5,000 from her company, Northwest Institute of Research.
Her goal is to raise another $5,000, which she will match,
for a total of $15,000 for Erie’s Future Fund.

 Please help Joyce reach her goal

Use this link to share or make your donation:


Thank you Dr. Joyce Miller and the Northwest Institute of Research, for Helping Erie’s Future Fund Scholars “Climb” to Success in School and Life!

First Annual Vinyl Palooza

A big thank you to Erie ExperienceVinyl, Z3 Concepts, Custom Audio and the Sandbar!  They teamed-up on June 25th for the First Annual Vinyl Palooza and raised $4000 for Erie’s Future Fund.  What a fun event!  And a big thank you to the GE Interns who took the time out of their busy schedules to volunteer, Rocket 101, and  those who attended and supported Erie’s Future Fund.  Stay tuned for the date of our second annual Vinyl Palooza!

Vinyl Palooza 2014 pic final

Pictured from right to left are Michelle Harkins, Scholarship Director for Erie’s Future Fund, Stan Zlotkowski from Z3 Concepts and Erie ExperienceVinyl, Sandbar owner Kum Miller, Mike Plazony, member of PA’s Early Learning Investment Commission and Erie ExperienceVinyl, Pete Rakoczy from Z3 Concepts and Erie ExperienceVinyl, Sondralee Orengia of Custom Audio, and Associate Executive Director of Early Connections Darlene Kovacs.

In The News

May 2 ELIC and State OfficialsThis school year, Erie’s Future Fund provided high-quality early childhood education scholarships to 230 children ages 3 and 4.

  These children will be better prepared for kindergarten and life.

  What this means to you is a stronger community and workforce.

On May 2, Erie’s Future Fund hosted a breakfast for business leaders and legislators to discuss how our first year of operation has made a difference, and how we can continue to grow.

Attending Erie’s Future Fund’s First Year Report to the Community on May 2, and pictured above:

Ryan Bizzarro, PA State Representative; State Senator Sean Wiley; Flo Fabrizio, State Representative; Nick Scott Jr., PA Early Learning Investment Commission Member  and VP of Scott Enterprises; Mike Plazony, PA Early Learning Investment Commission Member and Senior Vice President Erie Family Life at Erie Insurance Group; Betsy Bort, PA Early Learning Investment Commission Member and VP of ERIEBANK; and State Representative Pat Harkins.

Nick Scott Jr., PA Early Investment Commission Member and VP of Scott Enterprises was also interviewed by WJET-TV Click below to hear the interview:

Erie’s Future Fund WJET

Erie’s Future Fund Announced

Erie’s Future Fund was created in 2011, an outgrowth of the Erie Community Foundation’s Early Childhood Advisory Panel in partnership with United Way of Erie County, Success By 6, members of the Early Learning Investment Commission (ELIC) and Erie Together. Leaders from the foundation, corporate, nonprofit and civic sectors sought to address growing concerns about the lack of school readiness among many children entering kindergarten, and the significant impact this was having now, and would have in the future, on Erie County’s economy and quality of life.

Early childhood research shows that well-focused early childhood education investments can produce high public returns, particularly for children living in families with low income levels. Erie’s Future Fund will provide scholarships to low-income families in neighborhoods with the highest percentage of families with children under 5 living in poverty.

The scholarships allow children to attend a high-quality Early Childhood Education (ECE) program at ages 3 and 4. Families select from area public and private ECE programs that meet the STARS* criteria of Level 3 or 4. 

Erie’s Future Fund through Success By 6 and its task forces that target areas of health, children’s mental health, education, special needs, and prevention of abuse and neglect, promotes parent involvement beginning prenatally.   Families are provided guidance on selecting an ECE program, skills and knowledge necessary to promote school readiness throughout their child’s early years, and information about health, child development, and community resources to support their family’s needs. 

Erie’s Future Fund goal is to provide scholarships for approximately 285 low-income children in the 2012-2013 school year.