Dunmore Native honored by Pittsburgh Business Times

By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore native Maria Montaro, Ph.D, is more than making her mark in Pittsburgh.

Daughter of Tony and Diana Montaro, she was recently named 30 under 30 Honoree by the Pittsburgh Business Times.

The award goes to a business professional residing in Pittsburgh who has completed exceptional work and made a difference in the community.

“I am super thankful that the volunteer work I do is recognized,” she said. 

The 2011 Dunmore graduate has done a lot of volunteer work for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Much of the work was completed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Montano, 28, is considered a certified nonprofit professional with the American Management Institute.

She received extensive education in nonprofit management fields, most recently earning her Ph.D in Community Engagement from Point Park University in Pittsburgh.

Her research showed Allegheny County’s nonprofit sector is at risk due to the upcoming baby boomer retirement gap and effects from the COVID-19 virus. She helps nonprofits prepare for the future through implementation of recruitment, retention and succession planning strategies. 

“It is my goal to work to sustain and develop the nonprofit sector to withstand baby boomer retirement in order to reduce the occurrences of hiring gaps within the sector and maintain a level of competitiveness with the for-profit and government sectors,” she said.

Montaro’s recognition as one of Pittsburgh’s “30 under 30” for 2021 is an award honoring leaders in Pittsburgh’s business and nonprofit communities who are under 30. 

Winners are selected for their successful efforts to grow a business or nonprofit and for their contributions to the community and civic organizations.

After graduating from Dunmore High School, Montaro received a bachelor of science degree. in Social Work and NonProfit Management from Slippery Rock University. 

She accomplished this while serving full term with AmeriCorps where she interned and volunteered at various nonprofit organizations, including a school in Cape Town, South Africa. She also worked full time at a residential treatment facility for at-risk youth.

Montaro went on to receive an master of social work degree from the University of Pittsburgh ‘s Community Organization and Social Action program.

She then went on to receive an MBA from Fitchburg State University where she focused on human resource management. She also became a Certified Nonprofit Professional with the American Management Institute before receiving her doctorate. 

As an accomplished consultant in the nonprofit sector, she specializes in creating effective and meaningful succession plans for small to mid range nonprofit organizations. This includes recruitment, retention and emergency planning to help nonprofits succeed.

Montaro is very passionate about social justice issues. If your nonprofit’s mission is actively targeting social justice issues such as systematic racism or the eradication of police brutality, the Dunmore native will consult for your organization for free.

Montaro was a four year member of the track and field team at Dunmore where she was also a basketball cheerleader and member of the National Honor Society.

Montaro, a thoughtful and giving young woman, teaches in the community engagement department at Point Park University. She helps transition freshmen students to college life. 

“I believe very strongly in education and doing work for issues you believe in,” she said. 

The Dunmore native has resided in Pittsburgh for the past 10 years.

Local Students Awarded Scholarships Through SACF

The Scranton Area Community Foundation has announced its 2021 scholarship recipients, benefitting 168 local students from various schools in the area from scholarship funds administered by the Foundation. 

A total of $474,440 was recently distributed through 63 scholarships, including the #GaryInspiredMe Scholarship, the Matt McGloin Scholarship, the Neal J. Fasula Scholarship, and the highly competitive James F. Swift Scholarship.

The Scranton Area Community Foundation is a partner with the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) in their Partnership for Access to Higher Education (PATH) Program to offer qualifying students additional financial aid. Through PHEAA, many scholarship recipients may be eligible for additional dollars toward their tuition.

For more information on any of the scholarships at the Scranton Area Community Foundation, please contact Brittany Pagnotti, Communications Manager of the Scranton Area Community Foundation at 570-347-6203.

To establish a scholarship fund in honor of or memory of a loved one or to include a scholarship as a legacy gift in your estate plans, please contact the Scranton Area Community Foundation today or visit safdn.org to learn more.

Scholarship recipients include:

Catherine A. Alu Memorial Scholarship
Paige Martin, Dunmore High School

Cinderella’s Closet Scholarship
Jillian Brennan, Holy Cross High School

James F. Swift Scholarship
Jillian Brennan and Alexis Tanana, Holy Cross

Jeffrey Morgan Davis Memorial Scholarship
Sean Herbert, Holy Cross

John R. and Maureen J. Pesavento All Saints Interparochial Academy Scholarship
Nicholas Rusinko, Holy Cross

Joseph P. McDonald Memorial Scholarship
David Day, Katie McKitish and Steven Quarmout, all from Dunmore HS

Neal J. Fasula Scholarship
Kevin Jumper and Norah Kelly, Holy Cross

Student of the Month: Ally McNeff

Ally McNeff, 17, daughter of John and Jennifer McNegg, has been named Dunmore’s Student of the Month. She is a senior at Dunmore High School. 

Her involvement at school involves: varsity football cheer co-captain, editor-in-chief of the year book, varsity girls’ tennis member, junior class president, vice president of the Spanish Club, treasurer of the Crimson Company, French Club, Health Careers Club, Service Club, member of show choir, chorus, and jazz band.  In her downtime she likes to play piano, ukelele, and tennis.

After graduating from Dunmore High School, Ally says, “I plan on attending college to pursue chemical engineering. I am also  interested in scientific research, so I hope to work on research of my own during and after college.”