John Gismondi grew up in Uniontown and still feels tremendous allegiance to his hometown. “Uniontown is very near and dear to me.\ I have fond memories of a great childhood provided by my parents, and it is a place where my closest lifelong friendships were formed.”
John Gismondi discussing his roots in Uniontown in a video produced by students at Uniontown High School.
Uniontown, like many small communities in southwestern Pennsylvania, has faced economic challenges as the decline of the coal and steel industry led to reductions in both the population and the tax base. “I am always looking for ways to help the people of Uniontown,” says John. So far, grants from The Gismondi Foundation have gone to these organizations in the Uniontown area:
(Above) The Gismondi Center for Media Arts Entrance
At John Gismondi’s high school alma mater, a grant to create “The Gismondi Media Arts Center,” a facility equipped with state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment and two recording studios, all for the purpose of allowing students to create audio and video material to incorporate into their school assignments or extracurricular activities.
John Gismondi describes the genesis of the idea, “I met with school officials and asked what program or facility we could fund that would make a difference for the students, and they pretty quickly talked about a state-of-the-art art media studio.”
According to the Center’s Director Tammy Marzano, “The Gismondi Center for Media Arts has allowed Uniontown High School to provide industry-standard broadcast equipment and software for students . . . .”
Most importantly it has allowed students to explore new avenues of interest. As one student said, “The Gismondi Center has given me countless opportunities to expand my creative skills and work with my peers. I am so thankful for the opportunity we have had . . . at our school.”
“There is such a need right now for media literacy and digital literacy. . . . Using an audio-visual lab like The Gismondi Media Arts Center to teach is such a strong and powerful tool for learning.” Mary Wallace, Educational Technology Coordinator, Uniontown High School.
(Above) John Gismondi, along with his mother, Leda, present grant to the staff of Fayette County Community Action.
A grant to support operating expenses of this broad-based program that provides food for the elderly, sick and shut-ins. As John Gismondi explains, “We wanted to do something to help senior citizens in Fayette County, and this seemed like a great program to support and improve financial stability.”
Jim Stark, Executive Director of Fayette County Community Action, was most appreciative of the grant from the Foundation, “We certainly have received donations to the program through the years, but never one of this size. With the rising costs of supplies, this donation could not have come at a better time. . . . This donation truly makes a difference in the lives of those growing older here in Fayette County, and we are forever grateful to you for your thoughtfulness.”
(Above) John Gismondi presents Foundationcheck to Uniontown Public Library representatives and Uniontown City Council.
In honor of John Gismondi’s father, a grant to create the “James F. Gismondi Learning Center,” a multi-purpose room outfitted with computers and other equipment to facilitate childhood education. A separate endowment fund was also created to provide operational expenses for year-to-year updates to computers and software throughout the entire Library.