For more information regarding this project,
The 500 Donner Project
9 Terrace Ave.
Monessen, PA 15062
About the Founder
Matthew T. Shorraw is a twenty-five-year-old, 4th Generation Monessenite, who is passionate about helping his city. He was born on March 3, 1991, to Tom and Nancy (Savage) Shorraw. He was raised by his Paternal Grandmother, Irene (Sivak) Shorraw, who instilled in him a love for his city and its history. He is a 2009 graduate of Monessen High School, and a 2015 graduate of California University of Pennsylvania, where he obtained his Bachelor of Science undergraduate degree in Commercial Music Technology with a focus on Voice and Piano, and a certificate in Protools Software. During his tenure at Cal U, he had the opportunity to sing with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and their student choir, as well as with the Washington Symphony Orchestra, with California Singers. He is also a member of Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church Choir, in Washington, PA, where he had the honor to sing for the Papal Mass, on New Year Day, in 2015. He is currently pursuing a Master’s of Education in Technology Education, which aims to incorporate technology into curriculum. He is currently serving as Assistant Band Director at Monessen High School. He is very involved within the City of Monessen, as well as the Pittsburgh Region. Under his role as a volunteer with the Greater Monessen Historical Society, he authored a book, entitled Images of Modern America: Monessen, with Arcadia Publishing. Matt also serves on the board of the Monessen Community Development Corporation; as well as President of the Monessen City Park Amphitheater Committee, where he co-wrote a grant for the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau. Other roles include: Vice President of Monessen Communities That Care; a member of the Monessen Lions Club; Carpatho-Rusyn Society; Young Preservationists of Pittsburgh; and Preservation Pittsburgh. Matt is the founder of the Raise Your Voice Campaign, which sparked usage in the historic Monessen City Park Amphitheater, in 2013. The campaign aims to connect youth to music and art, lower risk factors in youth, and bridge generational gaps. Each year, the annual Raise Your Voice Festival, which is in its fifth year, serves as a catalyst for these goals, as well as a fundraiser for Monessen Communities That Care. He was appointed to serve on the City of Monessen’s Vacant Property Review Board, as well as the Property Maintenance Board. He is the special event coordinator for the Young Professionals of the Mon Valley; a proud brother of Alpha Chi Rho Fraternity, a lifelong member of St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church; as well as the founder of the 500 Donner Project, which aims to save and restore the former Monessen Savings and Trust building, and create a music center for youth, as well as and café, using a social enterprise model.
Matt hopes to inspire Monessen’s next generation of youth, in order to spark positive change within the City of Monessen, both socially and economically.