Pennies for Panzi annual fundraiser kicks off today and runs through February 26


The annual Pennies for Panzi fundraising drive will take place at Tyrone High School from February 17 through February 26.

The Tyrone Youth Action Network Club (YAN) has been raising money for Panzi USA, an organization that supports the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 2010.  The hospital helps women who have been victims of sexual violence in the war torn nation, and their children.  The founder of the Panzi Hospital, Dr. Denis Mukwege, is the recipient of the UN 2008 Human Rights Award and the 2014 Sakharov Prize, and has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Tyrone first learned about the Panzi Foundation from Penn State Altoona Professor Dr. Lee Ann De Reus and Tyrone native Peter Frantz, who helped Tyrone form the YAN Club in 2009.

According to their website, the Panzi Foundation’s mission is to “promote basic quality health care for marginalized populations, improve access to quality maternal and reproductive health, promote and encourage the application of women’s rights and gender equality, prevent violence against women and children, and support survivors of rape and sexual violence to rebuild their lives and those of their communities.”

The money that YAN members raise for the hospital mainly goes to the education and well being of the children that live there temporarily.  The money raised last year helped to install indoor plumbing for some buildings on the property.

“Tyrone’s Y.A.N. club is one of the only youth led organizations supporting the hospital in the United States,” said YAN co-adviser Tracy Redinger, “they rely on support from us to keep the hospital running.”

Tyrone’s Y.A.N. club is one of the only youth led organizations supporting the hospital in the United States. They rely on support from us to keep the hospital running”

— Mrs. Tracy Redingder

All social studies classrooms have been provided canisters for students to deposit donations. Students choose a class to support and deposit their pennies in their class canister.  Students can “sabotage” another class by putting in any other type of currency – silver coins or paper money – to bring down their overall score.

This year for the first time there will be two winning classes:

  • The class that raises the most money


  • The class that has the most net pennies

With two winning classes this year, the contest has a little bit more strategy, as students will have to be careful of jars with just a few pennies and even fewer other money.

The reward for both winning classes is a class pizza party, courtesy of YAN.