Last updated: February 19. 2013 3:14PM - 244 Views

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FOR A ONE-TIME gift of $2,000, you can accomplish good deeds in Luzerne County for the rest of your life – and beyond.

That's the power of the Millennium Circle Fund, a project still unfamiliar to many area residents and underappreciated by most.

The circle – an assortment of people, social groups, civic clubs and businesses that care about this region and its residents' welfare – got its start in 1999 (as the new millennium approached) with the goal of attracting 2,000 participants. The vision: Create a $4 million permanent pool of money, from which investment income of $200,000 or more could be given each year to charitable programs.

The Luzerne Foundation, a philanthropic venture headquartered in the borough of Luzerne, administers the Millennium Circle Fund, which has struggled to attract the number of donors initially envisioned. Nevertheless, the Circle Fund's supporters have over several years awarded more than $230,000, according to the foundation's figures. Its most recent gift of $20,000 will go to the Anti-Bullying Coalition of Luzerne County, according to an announcement Thursday.

Each year, all the fund's contributors are encouraged to nominate potential award recipients, thereby helping to identify unmet community needs. At an annual luncheon, the donors then cast their votes for the money winner. Past recipients include Ruth's Place, a shelter in Wilkes-Barre for homeless women, the Volunteers in Medicine free health clinic in Wilkes-Barre and Candy's Place, a Forty Fort-based support center for cancer patients and their loved ones.

The Millennium Circle is by no means a millionaires' club. Even people of modest means can join the effort, either by pledging to pay the $2,000 over two to five years, or by partnering with family members, co-workers, friends or others to collectively raise the sum.

The Millennium Circle is not a spot on the map. Although as of this week, its still-growing membership is acknowledged with a statue at the Millennium Circle portal of the Wyoming Valley Levee in downtown Wilkes-Barre.

The Millennium Circle is a mission – to help make this a better community, today and tomorrow.

Your donation can fill the gap, ensuring this circle is not broken.

Complete circle

For information about the Millennium Circle Fund, call The Luzerne Foundation at 714-1570. Or visit www.luzfdn.org/millennium-circle.html.

Disclosure: The Times Leader is a business member of The Millennium Circle Fund.

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