White Rose Ventures fuels growth for South Central PA entrepreneurs

White Rose Ventures announced today its closure of an $11.9 million White Rose Impact Fund aimed at investing in South Central Pennsylvania entrepreneurs. 

A regional venture capital firm, White Rose Ventures is led by Martin Fedorko and Alexa Born. 

According to a company press release, the closure of the venture fund “marks a significant stride towards revolutionizing the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.” 

Fedorko said that as Central Pennsylvania has a rich history of entrepreneurship, White Rose deems it a privilege to invest in visionary entrepreneurs. 

“We extend our utmost gratitude to our esteemed investors – the very embodiment of dynamic, progressive institutions,” Fedorko said in a statement. “Through entrepreneur-led economic development, we are poised to forge a future that generates and attracts the jobs of tomorrow for our region.” 

The White Rose Impact Fund is backed by a consortium of institutions, including the Powder Mill Foundation, J. William Warehime Foundation, Fulton Bank, WellSpan Health, Arthur J. Glatfelter Foundation, Select Capital Group, York County Community Foundation, and York College of Pennsylvania. 

The White Rose Ventures team began investing in 2021, and through investments totaling $4.98 million, has helped fuel the growth of local companies such as Naqi Logix, Reflexion, cyberconIQ, Pledge It, EVERMIND, TEAMology, ReturnLogic, Gilson Snow, and The Pretzel Company. 

CyberconIQ announced recently that White Rose Ventures is one of the co-investors in a $4.5 million Convertible Debenture placement. 

“White Rose Ventures is consistently impressed by cyberconIQ and their unwavering commitment to innovation and excellence within the cybersecurity industry,” said Fedorko. “We are honored to invest in a company that is dedicated to making a meaningful impact across the business world.” 

White Rose’s nonprofit arm, Braided River Collective, supports organizations such as Keystone Merge and WayFinder EcoMap.

York nonprofits receive Racial Equity grants

More than $69,000 in grants have been provided to eight local nonprofit organizations by the Racial Equity Fund (REF) Grant Program of York County Community Foundation (YCCF). The REF is made up of community leaders of color who choose projects that focus on issues of racism and integrity, addressing “shifting the paradigm of equitable opportunities.” 

Grants of up to $10,000 each for projects that address equity gaps for communities of color are awarded by the REF in the following areas: 

  • Education and job readiness 
  • Criminal justice system 
  • Community leadership and development 
  • Income and wealth creation within communities of color 
  • Racial and cultural education 
  • Health and wellness within communities of color 

“The REF is pleased to have completed its second round of grant funding for 2022,” Lisa Kennedy, Chair of the Racial Equity Fund, said in a statement. “We continue to encourage potential applicants to reach out to us with any questions about the work we do to advance racial equity within our community.” 

The REF was created in 2020 by the YCCF to establish a dedicated grant program to support meaningful, positive action towards addressing racial inequities in the York community. To establish an endowment to ensure meaningful grants are distributed every year, additional contributions are being sought. 

The following programs received grants to address iniquities in York County: 

  • Appell Center for the Performing Arts for its Culturally Responsive and Teen Empowered Creative Career Programs that prioritize culturally responsive pedagogy, youth empowerment and pipelines into the performing arts. 


  • Handle with Care Project UPLIFT US Project to unpack issues related to interactions between police and racially diverse community members with disabilities through a series of interactive presentations and dialogue circles. 


  • Junior Achievement (JA) of South-Central PA for its Empowering Equitable Tomorrows in the School District of the City of York Program. JA is working with York City School District to increase its students’ participation in JA’s programs to more equitable levels as other York County students. 


  • Shiloh Baptist Church for The Impact Project (TIP) – an education/job preparedness project that seeks to address equity gaps and racial disparities within communities of color through job training, career preparedness, and income equity. 


  • York College of Pennsylvania for its Race, Mentorship and Career DEI Readiness Program to provide mentors for women of color and career DEI readiness for its BIPOC students. 


  • York County History Center to support the Community Historian for Diversity and Inclusion Position. With YCCF’s support, the York County History Center will be able to offer a Full-time Community Historian Position for Diversity and Inclusion. 


  • YWCA York Leadership for its Youth Summit Expansion Program. The Leadership Summit engages high school students in dialogue around racism and provides activities for continued growth and education throughout the year. 


  • YWCA York for its Voice/Vision/Value – An Advocacy Workshop Series for Teens. This series focuses engaging teens in harnessing their talents to drive equity and build a stronger York. It incorporates the Voice/Vision/Value message through sessions on advocacy through art, music, poetry, civic engagement, and podcasting. 

Four grants were awarded to help nonprofit organizations build their diversity, equity, and inclusion capacity through training. Half the cost for these DEI-related trainings will be covered by the YCCF, the other half by the organizations. The organizations include the following: 

  • Children’s Aid Society SOPA COB 
  • LifePath Christian Ministries 
  • MidPenn Legal Services 
  • PennCares Support Services 

“Strengthening the cultural competence of the nonprofit sector by investing in the leadership, boards, and staff will enable them to become vocal advocates for the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community. It is important to work together to affect positive change,” said Adrian N. Buckner, vice president of grants and community engagement and chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer at YCCF. 

Nonprofits seeking to qualify for a grant must be working directly with people of color, with a preference for projects that are led by people of color. 

Area nonprofits to benefit from YCCF grants

Eleven nonprofits were awarded grants totaling $63,040 by local community leaders who helped to advance York County Community Foundation’s (YCCF) vision of a vibrant York County. 

YCCF’s community grant making program invites York County residents to bring a wider perspective to the review process by serving as volunteer grant readers.  

Volunteers evaluated grants of $6,000 or less from the THRIVE grants from the Fund for York County and the Hahn Home Fund for Embracing Aging. Grant readers reviewed 16 applications and awarded $45,040 for THRIVE grants and $18,000 for Embracing Aging. 

“We are grateful to have many community grant readers who display a great passion for supporting and aiding our community’s growth through this grantmaking program,” YCCF Grants Program Officer Roth J. Preap said.  

Grants are awarded to organizations or collaboratives that support YCCF’s strategic direction in creating new programs, expansion of existing programs, and planning and research. THRIVE grants focus on programs and collaboratives that transform lives and the York community by helping low-income people achieve economic mobility. Embracing Aging grants support new or existing programs that focus on helping adults aged 50 or older. 

Recent THRIVE grant recipients include the following: 

  • Children’s Museum of Lancaster for its new Museums for All program which provides learning opportunities for low-income children and their grownups with a discounted admission rate to Hands-on House. 
  • Young Thinkers of York, Inc. for its GEAR (Gaining Early Access to Robotics) Project Part 2 that uses robotics and engineering to teach students how math, science and technology can be used in the real world. The grant will provide 15 new robots to grow the program. 
  • YWCA York for its Bridge Housing Program Financial Literacy Program provided to domestic violence survivors in its Bridge Transitional Housing to break the cycle of poverty. 
  • The Movement of York, Inc. to grow its capacity at the Movement Pantry. The pantry aims to empower individuals to gain access to the resources they need through a trauma-informed approach. 
  • PennCares Support Services for its Community Enrichment Project to assist low-income families through a coat and shoe drive, a breakfast with Santa, and an Easter Egg Hunt Program. 
  • Junior Achievement of South-Central PA to provide experiential educational opportunities for K-12 students in Title 1 schools in York County focusing on financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. 
  • York Habitat for Humanity to provide financial education for low-income first-time homeowners with York Habitat. The homeownership program requires new homeowners go through financial counselling. 
  • York Jewish Community Center to support the coordination of its Family Services programs, including a food pantry, senior transportation, and resource referrals, providing a wrap-around safety net for low-income individuals. 

Recent Embracing Aging grant recipients include: 

  • Suicide Prevention of York for its “Make It Ok to be an Older Adult” campaign to help those suffering both mentally and physically to not feel alone. 
  • PennCares Support Services for its “Wits Workout and Aging Positively” training programs for older adults at the White Rose Senior Center. 
  • Hospice & Community Care for its Enhancing Care Through Intergenerational Volunteer Pilot Program to build a diverse, intergenerational volunteer program to strengthen its patient care, primarily given to York Countians over the age of fifty who suffer from a serious illness. 

“We are in our third year of offering this grant program,” said Cathy Bollinger, Managing Director of Embracing Aging. “Community volunteers tell us how much they enjoy learning about the various non-profits by reading their grant applications.  They say it provides an increased knowledge about the many resources and programs available to enrich the lives of York Countians of all ages.”

York County COVID-19 fund finances new rental assistance program

Two York County nonprofits received $56,000 grants to help families stay in their homes as they face the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

The York County COVID-19 Response Fund, a grant program organized by the York County Community Foundation (YCCF) and the United Way of York County, announced its second round of grants this week.

For the latest awards, YCCF and the United Way focused on funding educational resources for York County residents that could be facing eviction from their homes because of a loss of income related to the pandemic.

The Community Progress Council, and New Hope Ministries, two nonprofits that provide services for low to moderate income individuals to help them become self-sufficient and PA 211, a local nonprofit helpline, will use the grants to give area residents education on how they can prevent future financial struggles, courses on crisis budgeting and rental assistance.

The fund previously awarded $186,000 of grant funding to nonprofits in the county that were working together to meet the increased demand for food due to the pandemic.

The fund’s second rollout of awards provided its own set of challenges, since the first grantees were already working as a unit to solve the issue of food insecurity in the county. YCCF and the United Way had to build the program with the help of local nonprofits for the second awards.

“We had to pull together a brand new group that hadn’t already been working together for two years,” said Lise Levin, vice president of community investment at YCCF.

Using the grant funding, the grantees plan to release educational resources to community members regarding the eviction moratorium and other housing issues. Individuals in need of further assistance will be able to enroll in budgeting courses on subjects like contacting landlords and financial stability steps to take during the crisis and recovery.

Households that complete these courses could then be eligible for rental assistance.

Levin said the money currently available for housing and rental assistance is limited to people in poverty. The new program would allow the nonprofits to expand efforts to help those in need of assistance after losing work.

“One of the focuses of the funding across the board with this, is ‘how do we continue to help people who live in poverty, but then also help the people who have never had to use food pantries and aren’t eligible for residential assistance in the current funding streams,’” she said.

Prior to the pandemic, the United Way of York County published its Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) report. The report found that 32% of the county’s households were living paycheck to paycheck, said Anne Druck, president of the United Way of York County.

Druck said she expects that those numbers have grown exponentially alongside growing unemployment numbers in the county, which rose from 4.4% to 5.0% from February to March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

YCCF and the United Way raised more than $970,000 for the York County COVID-19 Response Fund and will be looking for additional efforts to fund in the coming months.

Jane Conover, president and CEO of YCCF, said that the funds will be used not only for immediate support for York County residents but will allow area nonprofits to offer help into recovery.

“We will be soliciting additional grants in May around food and we will be learning more about the housing needs as they evolve,” she said. “One of the beautiful things about the fund is that it is adaptable and we want to make sure that we are here for the midterm and the long term.”