Barbara Grandinetti has spear-headed The Challenge Program, Inc.’s outreach and recruited talented development and support personnel. Grandinetti opens doors to fundraising opportunities and develops lasting relationships with business partners, foundations and individual donors all with a single mindedness to spread the word about the program. She has a unique ability to discover and tap into people’s special talents needed to grow and expand the program. She is passionate about the program, just ask her!
Grandinetti was integral in creating The Challenge Program, Inc.’s now signature fundraising event – The Crystal Owl Gala held each spring. She helps businesses supporting high schools apply for Educational Improvement Tax Credits in Pennsylvania. Through her efforts, The Challenge Program, Inc. obtained their Non-Profit Organization 50l(c)(3) status of the Internal Revenue Code with contributions to the program being deductible under Section 170 of the Code.
Grandinetti was Vice President of Real Estate with Crown American Real Estate Trust. In 1999, she was recognized by Shopping Center Business Magazine as one of the top women executives in the shopping mall industry.
In 2003, Crown American was purchased by PREIT, a real estate investment trust in Philadelphia, PA. PREIT, acquired 26 retail assets from the Johnstown based company. Grandinetti was asked by PREIT to head up the transition team. She accepted and was named Vice President of Special Projects. As the transition began to wind down in the spring of 2004, Grandinetti made her next great career move; joining Dan Perkins in creating, The Challenge Program, Inc.
Grandinetti’s business acumen from her time as Vice President at Crown American and PREIT is why she has been able to lead The Challenge Program, Inc. from a small, local program to one that consistently serves over 100 high schools in three states. Grandinetti is passionate about giving back to communities, through The Challenge Program, Inc. She is often heard saying to students, “You can’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands.” Equal to her sense of community and business acumen, is her determination to see students firmly rooted in good habits required for success.
A Johnstown, PA native, Grandinetti attended Mount Aloysius College and Cambria Rowe Business School.
Director of Finance and Operations
Karen Robatin has earned the respect of every employee of The Challenge Program, Inc. for her ability to look ahead financially while learning the lessons of the past. This talent has kept The Challenge Program, Inc. financially sound regardless of the economic climate. Her talents have helped the Program move forward breaking ground in new territories as well as with new ideas.
Calm and objective, Robatin is at the forefront of operations for the organization. She manages staff, benefits administration, background checks and human resources policies. Robatin oversees all TCP event registrations and has a leadership role in the spring signature fundraising event – Crystal Owl Gala – assuring the success of the event’s auction and outcome.
Prior to The Challenge Program, Inc., Robatin gained important experience with Beckwith Machinery Company and became the Controller after 12 years of service. A Johnstown, PA native, Robatin attended Robert Morris University earning a earning a Master’s of Business Administration and Indiana University of Pennsylvania earning a bachelor degree in accounting.
Director of Program Development
Sara Jones is responsible for the successful building and expansion of The Challenge Program, Inc. in targeted territories. Jones has successfully added new schools, businesses and counties since she joined The Challenge Program, Inc. in 2015. Among the businesses she cultivated, two have become Major Corporate Partners.
In her expanded role as Director, Jones will continue to direct and mentor the development team, as well as oversee the communications, marketing and operations in the company’s growth and expansion efforts. Jones will assure the professional development of her team and coordinate the hiring of and training of new employees.
Prior to The Challenge Program, Inc., Jones gained experience in marketing, sales and event planning in Somerset and with the Johnstown Area Heritage Association. A Windber, PA native, Jones attended The the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown earning a bachelor’s degree in communication with a minor in creative writing.
Workforce Development Manager
Myra Bernhart coordinates workforce development initiatives between business and education for The Challenge Program, Inc. The responsibilities of workforce management include implementing a client-centered service approach to workforce development among high school students. Bernhart is responsible for ensuring meaningful connections between the schools and businesses as well as new business support for the organization.
Bernhart will focus in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler and Washington counties with career and technology education and grow from this starting point.
Bernhart has a long career history with job training and development having designed and implemented a variety of workforce related projects and programs including youth summer placement.
Bernhart attended California University of PA and earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary education.
Program Development Manager, Allegheny County
As a Program Development Manager for Alleghency County, Faith Collins is located in The Challenge Program, Inc.’s Pittsburgh office. Collins is responsible for expanding The Challenge Program into the more than 60 high schools in Allegheny County.
Collins brings experience in program management and development at nonprofit organizations. This coupled with experience in Pittsburgh education, made her a great candidate to implement The Challenge Program’s mission to build business and education relationships and motivate students to succeed in Allegheny County,
An Allegheny County native, Collins earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Anthropology with a minor in Social Work.
Program Development Manager
Program Development Manager
Program Operations Manager
As Program Operations Manager, Anna Gibbs is responsible for ensuring the smooth operation of various processes that contribute to The Challenge Program, Inc. mission. Among her responsibilities is the data management of the company’s fundraising software, DonorPerfect, and foundation management, including grant writing.
Gibbs is responsible for all the organization’s marketing and business communications along with coordination of Challenge Program assemblies and award ceremonies. Gibbs contributes to new school development, policies and procedures, program information and staff training.
Prior to The Challenge Program, Inc., Gibbs worked in sales, marketing, event planning and staffing in Johnstown and Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York City and has been a freelance writer for Johnstown Magazine. A New York City native, Anna attended the State University of New York at Binghamton earning a bachelor’s degree in literature and creative writing.
Melanie Muha joined The Challenge Program, Inc. in the spring of 2017 as a Marketing/Communications Intern. Her talents for writing, video design and social media led to a permanent position as Marketing Assistant.
In her role as Marketing Assistant, Muha develops social media content, videos and special marketing pieces. She created the TCP blog, “A Look Inside” where business representatives, educators, and students contribute content. Muha also contributes blog content, writing from her perspective of how The Challenge Program works and changes the lives of students.
A Johnstown native, Muha earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown in Communications with a minor in writing.
Erin is located in The Challenge Program, Inc.’s Pittsburgh office. In this new role for Pittsburgh, Erin is responsible for developing social media content and creating marketing materials mostly related to Allegheny County and assisting with various events. Erin is also a contributor to “An Inside Look”, TCP’s blog. Read her first piece, “My First Week at TCP” in the Media Tab.
An Allegheny County native, Sikora earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Slippery Rock University in Integrated Marketing Communication. and attended Springdale High School.