Fallingwater Recieves Outreach Grant from First Commonwealth


The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy recently received a $25,000 grant from Indiana, Pa.-based First Commonwealth Financial Corporation, to be used for educational outreach at Fallingwater.

The grant enables Fallingwater to expand its popular “Wright in Our Backyard” program, which offers local students the opportunity to visit the world-famous house free-of-charge and participate in innovative, interactive educational workshops. Currently offered to schools in five counties, the program will be available to students in Indiana County as a result of the grant.

“We are grateful to First Commonwealth for giving more students the chance to be inspired by Fallingwater,” said Lynda Waggoner, vice president of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and director of Fallingwater.

The “Wright in Our Backyard” program curriculum incorporates Pennsylvania Board of Education-approved academic standards in reading and writing, history and math, science, environment and ecology, and arts and humanities into each student’s visit. Teachers integrate their Fallingwater visit into regular classroom plans and prepare students in advance to interact with the educational staff. In addition, the program reimburses school districts for transportation to and from Fallingwater.

“For three quarters of a century, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has worked tirelessly to ensure the vitality of our region’s natural surroundings,” said John Dolan, president and CEO of First Commonwealth Financial Corporation. “The Conservancy’s preservation of Fallingwater may be the greatest symbol of these efforts, and as an ardent supporter of educational programs for the youth of our communities, First Commonwealth is proud to be a part of bringing this important lesson to the students of Western Pennsylvania.”

“Wright in Our Backyard” has reached growing numbers of students in recent years due to the success of the program and increased community and corporate support. During the 2008-09 school year, Fallingwater provided educational engagement for 3,795 participants from 39 schools in Butler, Fayette, Somerset, Greene and Washington counties.

Previous participants in the program offered their own perspectives on its value: