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Thank you for Sharing the Spirit with us this Holiday Season!
By Rebecca Dowling

Many traditions come at the end of the year, traditions that relate to New Year’s and Christmas. We bake, make gingerbread houses, wrap gifts, and deck the halls. But, one of my favorite tradition is one that started almost by accident in 2009.

My husband, Matthew, and I hosted a Christmas party for family and friends, and only having been in our home for a few months we were fearful that people would think it was a housewarming and feel obligated to bring a gift. We often joke about the knickknacks we may have received and chose to make the party a fundraiser instead. We suggested our guests donate to one of several charities we were working with at the time. That first year we raised around $1,300 for charity. Just like that, Share the Spirit was born.

Share the Spirit is an event dedicated to strengthening non-profit causes in Fayette County, Pennsylvania through the generosity and support of individuals and businesses. Central to the success of the event and the cause is the idea that anyone can be a philanthropist. Our non-profit partners benefit from gifts small and large made in conjunction with this annual holiday gala where our community unites to “Share the Spirit” of the season. To date, Share the Spirit has generated over $72,000.

This year our partner charities included: The State Theatre Center for the Arts, the Boy Scouts of America Westmoreland Fayette Council, Rolling Thunder, the Redstone Foundation, and the Dowling Family Fund (DFF). Proceeds from DFF are used as seed money for each year’s Share the Spirit and periodic requests for local community projects are granted at the request of the fund administrators and with the approval of the Community Foundation’s board of directors.

With the 2019 event behind us, and looking forward to our tenth anniversary in 2020, we want to thank the many people that make this event possible. Thank you to Renee Couser and the wonderful staff of the Community Foundation of Fayette who work to provide the backend support this event needs.

Thank you to the many volunteers, especially: Erica Miller, Tracey Richardson, Amanda Cuteri, Blair Howarth, Meg Hudock, Thursa Crouse, Lindsay Lippencott, the Hardison Family, the Dowling Family and many more!

Thank you to our restaurant and business partners: Auntie Anne’s, Backdraft Pizza, Braddock’s Inn, Bogey’s at Duck Hollow, Christian W. Klay Winery, DiMarco’s Bistro & Cantina, Jersey’s, Lynn’s Dairy Queen, Marilyn’s on Main, Myers Catering, Miller Roofing, the National Road Heritage Corridor, Neubauer’s Flowers, Potter’s, Ridge Runner Distillery, the Uniontown Country Club, Uniontown Elks, Stone House Restaruant and Inn, and Sullivan Brothers.

Finally, thank you to our donors! Share the Spirit could not have the impact it has on the community if it was not for the generosity of those who attend.

Rebecca Dowling is the co-founder of Share the Spirit holiday open house, wife of State Representative Matthew Dowling (R-Fayette & Somerset), and the mother of two rambunctious boys – W. Pierce and Preston Dowling.