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The Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce Invests in Local Students’ Futures

Earlier this month, The Foundation for Free Enterprise Education (FFEE) recognized the Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce for 25 years of investment in students from Columbia and Montour Counties through Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week (PFEW), an award-winning youth leadership and career development program focused on helping high school students understand and celebrate modern business and develop critical employability skills.

The partnership between the two Foundations is made possible through the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit program (EITC). In this program, approved businesses direct tax-deductible contributions to support local students through Educational Improvement Organizations such as FFEE and the Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce. Over the past quarter century, the Chamber Foundation has allocated over $82,000 in sponsorships so 182 local students could attend PFEW.

With over 50,000 graduates from across the Commonwealth, Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week typically serves over 1,600 students a year, and in 2023, 1,640 students took the PFEW journey, including 26 from Central Columbia SHS and one from Columbia-Montour AVTS. The students have all expressed what a great experience PFEW has been for them.

“During the week, I gained skills in confidence, trust, leadership, accountability, and honesty in the work environment. I expanded my skills in teamwork, debate, speech, time management and of course, business management.” – Adam Gross, Central Columbia SHS

The student experience is as follows: PFEW participants are grouped into teams of 16 students and one volunteer Company Advisor who run a manufacturing firm for a simulated three-year period. Making the same decisions modern business owners make and competing against other student companies, they are responsible for two judged oral presentations - a simulated stockholders annual meeting where they must present two-year comparative financial statements and results of their operations, and a marketing presentation where they define their target audience and present a wide variety of advertising collateral. Throughout the week, world-class business and motivational speakers address the students on a wide variety of topics geared toward their professional and personal development. This type of education enhances a student’s school experience, and is a vital component of preparing our young people for successful lives and careers.

Regular contributors to the Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce’s Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week scholarships include First Columbia Bank and Trust, First Keystone Community Bank, and PPL.

The Foundation for Free Enterprise Education is so very grateful to the Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce for providing this powerful educational experience to local students. For more information about all FFEE programs, volunteer opportunities, or how you can help, please contact Foundation for Free Enterprise Education VP of Marketing & Development Scott Lee at (814) 833-9576 ext. 8 or More information can be found on the PFEW website,

For more information on the important work of the Foundation of the Colombia Montour Chamber of Commerce, visit

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