SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Local non-profits have struggled all throughout the pandemic raising funds.

One of those groups is dedicated to enriching the lives of people with special needs. But it’s still finding ways to achieve fundraising goals and expand client opportunities.

Newly appointed Deutsch Institute executive director Sean McHale is preparing for the Scranton-based non-profit’s latest fundraiser, a basket raffle to be held December 20th. It’s one way of helping maintain the 42-year-old organization’s mission to enrich the lives of community members with physical and intellectual challenges.

“As much joy we bring to them through social and recreational activities, they bring that joy to us,” McHale said.

Deutsch Institute will soon have another venue to make their mission happen: Robinson Park. After applying to the city of Scranton’s request for proposal concerning the park, Deutsch Institute struck a deal with the city.

“The Deutsch Institute was I believe the only applicant so it was easy for us to select them as the recipient of the $1 lease and we’re really looking forward to having them up there at Robinson Park,” Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti said.

As part of the $1 lease per year for three years, Deutsch Institute must maintain the grounds and facilities of the spacious park in the city’s East Mountain section. It is surrounded by woods and a lake. A two-story A-frame building will provide more than a hub for Deutsch Institute staff.

“Our vision is going to be operational 365. We’ll continue to do art, yoga, music, bingo and other types of programming inside the facility so we’re looking forward to that,” McHale said.

McHale says having a presence at Robinson Park will provide more than just recreational opportunities. He believes it will help build a bond with the community.

So does Brian Williams, the institute’s board chairman who’s been part of the organization for 31 years.

“To create a space not only for the folks that participate with the Deutsch Institute but also our whole community to embrace the Deutsch Institute and our mission,” Williams said.

Deutsch Institute hope to move into the park by late spring. The community will also be able to use the park.

In the meantime, head to to learn more about taking part in the Deutsch Institute’s basket raffle fundraiser or call 570-348-1968.