Pennington Foundation awards grant for youth center |

Pennington Foundation awards grant for youth center

Steve Ranson
LVN Editor Emeritus

The William N. Pennington Foundation is continuing to make its mark on Churchill County by awarding the city of Fallon a $4.5 million grant for the construction of a new Fallon Youth Center at Venturacci Park.

The grant, which was announced by the Pennington Foundation this week, covers construction of the youth center and related improvements. The total estimated project cost is $5.8 million. The 15,500 square-foot building will be designed to meet the current and future needs of Churchill County's youth. According to the Pennington Foundation, the building will have a large multi-purpose room with a stage platform and necessary kitchen facilities to support the nutrition program for the youth center, learning rooms with computers, a recreation center, art room, teen center, meeting rooms, hangout areas and adequate administration and conference rooms to administer vital youth programming.

The new building will replace the current facility, which is located in the former Churchill School District Administration Building on East Richards Street. Prior to that, the Fallon Youth Club began its operations at E.C. Best Elementary School. The Pennington Foundation also said the new center will have a separated playground and outdoor recreational area and an expansive parking area with a drop-off and pick-up zone for the children.

Both the city and Churchill County have secured approximately $1.4 million in required project matching funds.

“We are so appreciative of the generosity of the William N. Pennington Foundation.”

—Mayor Ken Tedford

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"We are so appreciative of the generosity of the William N. Pennington Foundation," said Mayor Ken Tedford. "Mr. Pennington had a strong love of community and a desire to help people and families, especially children and the elderly. This project would not happen without the generous contribution and commitment from the Pennington Foundation."

Formed in 1989 by the late William N. Pennington, a gaming industry pioneer and philanthropist, the Pennington Foundation has provided grants to Northern Nevada-based organizations in the areas of education, community services, health care and medical research.

"Our community will be forever grateful to Mr. Pennington and his foundation for their support of the recently completed William N. Pennington Life Center and the new Fallon Youth Center," Tedford said. "Their contributions to our youth and senior citizens will have a significant positive impact on our community for many years to come."

The Pennington Foundation provided a $2 million grant in 2015 toward the construction of a new senior center, the William N. Pennington Life Center on South Maine Street., which celebrated its ribbon-cutting in June

"The William N. Pennington Life Center is another example of the extraordinary things this community achieves when dedicated individuals work together to address a need in our community and make the seemingly impossible, possible," County Manager Eleanor Lockwood said at the time.

This isn't the first youth center in central Nevada the Pennington Foundation has awarded a grant.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Mason Valley broke ground on its new William N. Pennington Teen Center in Yerington, on Nov. 3 after receiving a $1,430,842 grant. The new 7,200-square-foot center more than triples the center's' current 2,500-square-foot building.

The Pennington Foundation has provided grants for education to the University of Nevada, Reno for the 59,000-square-foot William N. Pennington Health Sciences Building that opened in 2011 and the William N. Pennington Student Achievement Center.

Hundreds of Northern Nevada high school students have previously received $300 Jump Start College scholarships at the three Western Nevada College campuses due to a donation from the Pennington Foundation. 

Jump Start College is a partnership between Western Nevada College and 14 western Nevada high schools that offer high-achieving juniors and seniors the opportunity to earn an associate degree prior to their high-school graduation. Participating area high schools include Churchill County, Fernley, Oasis Academy and Silver Stage.