Penn State York makes history with first Women's Philanthropic Network

November 13, 2015

YORK, Pa. — Di Hershey, director of campus development at Penn State York, had a vision: to inspire women in the community to become philanthropic leaders by engaging in learning, networking, and mentoring activities through the resources available at Penn State York. Her new initiative, the Women’s Philanthropic Network (WPN), is the first of its kind at the University. The WPN’s inaugural event, a discovery luncheon to review initiatives for the upcoming year, is set for noon on Monday, Nov. 16, on the stage of the Pullo Family Performing Arts Center (The Pullo Center) at the campus.

Special guests for the meeting include Molly Barron, wife of Penn State President Eric Barron, and Madlyn Hanes, vice president of the Commonwealth campuses, who will join with Peg Chown, director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Penn State York, and David W. Chown, chancellor of Penn State York, to take part in a panel discussion. Each member of the panel will share his or her philanthropic passions through a casual conversation and question and answer session with those in attendance. As part of the meeting, attendees will be invited to write their philanthropic passions on quilt patches, which will later be joined together into a quilt to represent the organization. The quilting theme included throughout the event is in recognition of Molly Barron’s passion for quilting.

“We are pleased that Penn State York is the first Penn State entity to have such an initiative,” said Chown. “I look forward to the WPN doing great things for the campus.”

The WPN was started when a group of women, who shared a passion for community philanthropy and support of the Penn State York community, were invited to be charter members of this new and innovative network. Hershey worked with this initial group, members of the campus community, and development officials at the University, to start the initiative.

“I have enjoyed being a member of a giving circle where our gifts combined have a significantly greater impact than what we could accomplish as individuals,” said Hershey. “I wanted to create that same experience at Penn State York. By pioneering this idea through the establishment of the Women’s Philanthropic Network at the campus, WE ARE inspiring the next generation of giving,” said Hershey. “I am excited for the future to see how WPN members become more engaged with the campus community and each other, and to see how the WPN can become incorporated into the fabric of life at Penn State York.”  

Each year, WPN members will gather to consider projects to be funded based on recommendations from the campus community. At the WPN’s annual discovery meeting, which members can attend in-person or remotely, participants will have an opportunity to offer recommendations for funding. Funding initiatives can include a broad range of ideas, from scholarships for students and support for academic programs to student life activities and community outreach endeavors.

Funding initiatives recommended for the first year of the WPN include scholarships for student leaders; support for the 20th anniversary celebration keynote speaker for Pathways to Your Future, a program for seventh grade girls that encourages careers in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM); support for the Nittany Success Center at Penn State York, which provides professional and peer tutoring, study groups, testing and academic coaching for students; and Teaching International, a program designed to internationalize the campus experience for students.

WPN members are encouraged to interact with fellow members, personally and professionally, and take part in mentoring activities and other events throughout the year. Members can determine their level of participation based on their interest and availability. A directory of members and a Linkedin page will be available for participants in the WPN.

WPN members are required to make annual gifts, with membership levels of giving from junior membership at $100, for young alumni within one to 10 years of their graduation date; sapphire membership, from $500-$2,499; and diamond membership, for gifts of $2,500 or more. Contributions are accepted throughout the year.

To learn more about becoming a member of the WPN at Penn State York, please visit or contact Hershey at (717) 771-4127 or

  • WPN Logo York

    Penn State York's new Women's Philanthropic Network (WPN) will have its first discovery meeting on Monday, Nov. 16 at the campus.  The WPN encourages women to become philanthropic leaders by engaging in learning, networking, and mentoring activities through the resources available at Penn State York.

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated November 13, 2015