Groves' gifts could total $3.5 million

December 14, 2004|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - Through their business and philanthropic endeavors, the names of the late John L. Grove and his widow, Cora, are well-known in the region and will be visible on several more buildings after Cora Grove handed out $3.1 million in gifts to 14 nonprofit organizations Monday.

The total of the gifts could reach $3.5 million if three of the organizations - Caledonia Theatre Co., The Capitol Theatre Center Foundation and the Cumberland Valley School of Music - raise additional funds to meet matching challenges set by Grove.

"Over the years, John and I have had the good fortune of operating several successful businesses in Franklin and Fulton counties," Grove, 86, of Greencastle, Pa., said in a written statement read by her secretary, Patricia Carbaugh.


Grove said she and her late husband were "blessed with financial success beyond our dreams and needs."

"The charities who are beneficiaries today are doing important work in educating young people, advancing medical care and improving the cultural arts in the area," Grove said in the statement.

John Grove helped create two of the area's largest industries. He co-founded Grove Manufacturing, now Grove Worldwide, in Shady Grove, Pa., in the late 1940s, and in 1969 was one of the founding partners of JLG Industries in McConnellsburg, Pa. He died in 2003.

Cora Grove also had business interests, including the Chuck Wagon and Tropical Treat restaurants in Chambersburg during the 1950s, Walker said.

"I would like to think this is the turning point," Franklin County Library System Executive Director Bernice Crouse said of the $500,000 the system received for the planned John L. and Cora I. Grove Family Library. Construction of the $2.5 million library, which will replace the Ragged Edge Library in Guilford Township, will begin next spring, Crouse said.

Crouse said about $1 million has been raised for the library, which is being built near the site of the old library on land donated by the township.

Summit Health received $500,000 for the construction of the John L. and Cora I. Grove Oncology Center. President Norman Epstein said the center will be part of the $8.5 million Keystone Pavilion to be built next year at the Summit Health Center Campus on Norland Avenue.

The Shippensburg University Foundation received $500,000 for an auditorium named after the couple in the university's new performing arts center. University President Anthony Ceddia noted the couple's past largesse in helping fund the John L. Grove College of Business and the Cora I. Grove Spiritual Center.

Another $500,000 gift went to the Fulton County Medical Center for a courtyard that will be named for the couple. Chief Executive Officer Robert Murray said the center is budgeted at approximately $23 million and construction could begin next fall, with completion in late 2006 or early 2007.

Walker said those four entities also are to receive undisclosed bequests upon Grove's death.

Menno Haven Inc. received two gifts of $250,000, one going toward renovating and expanding its Menno Village nursing home and the other for its benevolent fund to assist nursing home residents whose funds have been exhausted.

Chief Financial Officer David Bishop said the nursing home project is in the planning stage and is budgeted at approximately $15 million. Work on the home could begin by June 2005, he said.

The Caledonia Theatre Co. got $100,000 and will get another $200,000 from Grove if it can raise an additional $100,000 in pledges by Dec. 31, 2006.

The Capitol Theatre Center also got $100,000 and will receive another $100,000 if it raises $100,000 in matching pledges by the end of 2005.

Cumberland Valley School of Music received $50,000 and will receive another $100,000 from Grove if it can raise $50,000 in matching pledges by Dec. 31, 2005.

More giving

Grove also presented checks to the following organizations:

· Mason-Dixon Boy Scout Council, $100,000 to build a dining hall at Camp Sinoquipe at Fort Littleton, Pa., in Fulton County.

· United Way of Franklin County, $100,000 to fund its endowment.

· Mercersburg Academy, $50,000 for scholarships for students from Franklin and Fulton counties.

· House of Grace, a Christian ministry that teaches life skills to low-income women, $50,000 to reduce its mortgage debt.

· Montessori Academy in Chambersburg, $25,000 for a classroom in its new building.

· Lillian S. Besore Library in Greencastle, Pa., $25,000 for an endowment to fund library services.

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