Fayette LaunchBox receives $250,000 endowment

Penn State will currently match additional gifts of $25,000 or more.

LEMONT FURNACE, Pa. — Fayette LaunchBox powered by Penn State has received a pledge of $125,000 from an anonymous donor. Penn State will make a 1:1 matching contribution to create a new endowment valued at $250,000 to support Fayette LaunchBox programming in perpetuity.

Established in 2018, Fayette LaunchBox is a no-cost business accelerator designed to help regional entrepreneurs and University affiliates develop ideas into commercially viable products and services. Fayette LaunchBox is a joint venture between Penn State and the Fay-Penn Economic Development Council, under Invent Penn State, a Commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation, and student career success. Fayette LaunchBox is a signature program of the Invent Penn State initiative, and one of 21 innovation hubs located in Penn State campus communities across Pennsylvania.

The facility, located at the Fay-Penn Economic Development headquarters, provides 6,000 square feet of state-of-the-science flex space, including 3-D printing and light manufacturing labs, as well as a 1,500-square-foot event center that can accommodate up to 70 people for meetings, workshops, training, seminars and conferences.

“We are grateful for the generosity of our community represented by this anonymous gift,” said Charles Patrick, chancellor and chief academic officer at Penn State Fayette. “The endowment will generate proceeds annually that will provide faculty, students, alumni and the community opportunities to develop innovative and entrepreneurial talent, comprehensive support for actual business startups within the community and a future readiness component to high school students to create experiences for learners to design and lead a purposeful life.”

In 2020, Penn State Fayette established an annual, six-week summer mentorship and microgrant program for students with promising entrepreneurial projects. The program’s second cohort is currently working under faculty supervision to complete business and marketing plans, video elevator pitches and more.

In 2021, Fayette LaunchBox held its first Shark Tank Competition for University affiliates and community members, which required entrants to present a brief elevator pitch for a proposed product or service. A panel of judges awarded cash prizes.

Efforts will continue to connect entrepreneurs with the regionally available tools and resources necessary to launch a successful business. This summer, marketing of LaunchBox services will be increased in an effort to reach new clients. Plans to expand existing programming will engage more students and local community members, and new programs — like an investing and finance club and financial literacy series — will be established with support from this endowment. 

Currently, donors who pledge endowments of $25,000 or more will be matched 1:1 by the University. To contribute a gift to Fayette LaunchBox, contact Lori Omatick, director of development, at 724-430-4190 or [email protected].

This gift advances “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.