THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF WESTMORELAND COUNTY LOST DREAMS AWAKENING PHILANTHROPISTS FAITH FORWARD WESTMORELAND COUNTY DRUG OVERDOSE TASK FORCE PREVENTION POINT PITTSBURGH Westmoreland County residents raise matching funds for nonprofits fighting addiction. By Mark Marino ADDICTION MEETS ITS MATCH CIRCLINGUP SUPPORT O V E R T H E PA S T D E C A D E , thenumberofoverdosesperyearinWestmoreland County has increased almost fourfold — from 50 in 2007 to 193 in 2017. In response, a group of concerned citizens is taking a unique philanthropic approach and empowering Westmoreland County nonprofits that are fighting the opioid epidemic. VonZellWade,Ph.D.,oncestruggledwithsubstanceaddiction.Nowhe runstheNewKensington–basednonprofitLostDreamsAwakening,which he launched in 2015 with his wife, Laurie Johnson-Wade, to provide a safe space for people struggling to recover from substance addiction. The organization was among seven nonprofits that took part in the first-ever Impact Giving Circle organized by The Community Foundation of WestmorelandCounty(CFWC)in2017.LostDreamsAwakening,alongwith Faith Forward, a Latrobe-based nonprofit dedicated to addiction recovery and counseling, were selected by participants to receive $25,000 each over two years, starting this year. The funding, Wade believes, will save lives. Wade started using alcohol and drugs at age 8. At age 23, after four yearsofusingcrackcocaine,hegotclean.Hesaysheoweshisrecoveryand happinesstohiswife,whowasalsousingwhentheymet.Shegotsoberfirst, which inspired Wade to do the same. He recently turned 50 and marvels at how much his life has changed. “IfIdiedtoday,I’dhavelivedabeautifullifeallbecauseIgaveupdrugs,” Wadesays.“Whenindividualsstopusingdrugs,theirlostdreamsareawakened.” Wadewasamongthenonprofitexpertswhospoketoparticipantsinthe ImpactGivingCircleorganizedbyCFWCincollaborationwithThe Pittsburgh Foundation’s Center for Philanthropy. ImpactGivingCirclesbringtogetherlike-mindedindividualswhomeet onceamonthoverafour-monthperiodtocombineresources,learnabout an issue and collectively make grants. 11 RE PO RT TO TH E CO MMU N ITY THE PITTSBURGH FOUNDATION