PNC Bank Donates $1 Million To Happy Valley LaunchBox, Penn State Matches For Total $2 Million Investment
Penn State President Eric Barron announced Monday afternoon that PNC Bank is investing $1 million into Happy Valley LaunchBox — Invent Penn State’s local startup hub — to foster economic innovation.
To the crowd of about 40 people in LaunchBox’s headquarters downtown, Barron recounted the bank’s commitment to Penn State over the past decades and looked to the future of the relationship between the two. The LaunchBox is also renamed the Happy Valley LaunchBox, Powered by PNC.
“We believe that our innovation hubs are key to driving economic development in Pennsylvania, and contributions from alumni, friends, and corporate partners like PNC will ensure that our innovation hubs can serve Pennsylvania’s communities for years to come,” Barron said.
He explained the grant will be matched by Penn State, totaling a $2 million contribution. Part of A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence, Penn State’s current fundraising campaign, the 17 innovation hubs around Pennsylvania are eligible to receive matching funds from the university when their total endowment reaches $1 million.
Happy Valley LaunchBox will also receive the benefits of mentorship from PNC executives and speaker series to improve the entrepreneurial programming. Barron said the grant will allow the LaunchBox to continue, and improve, its capabilities to help young inventors.
“Our relationship has grown stronger,” Barron said.
Started in March 2016, Happy Valley LaunchBox has “graduated” 31 startups, meaning the ideas have become tangible and are no longer in the beginning stages.
PNC Bank’s regional president James R. Hoehn attended the press conference, speaking briefly about the strong connection between the university and bank, where around 600 Penn State alumni work.
“We feel so strongly about the interface of higher education and economic development,” Hoehn said. “If we could also be the catalyst to start [innovation] across the Commonwealth, even better.”