Monday, January 30, 2012

Community Foundation board elects officers, directors and honorary member

OLEAN, N.Y., Jan. 30, 2012 – Carol Stitt of Olean was re-elected board president of the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation board of directors at the board’s annual meeting.

Mrs. Stitt, who was the Community Foundation executive director for nine years, has served as board president for six years. She is also a trustee for St. John’s Church.

            “This is an exciting time to be leading our Community Foundation,” Mrs. Stitt said. “We have a tremendous board and enthusiastic donors who want to improve our community and take on new projects. The Community Foundation is an increasingly important factor in serving the philanthropic needs of our region as well as providing services to donors and other nonprofit organizations.”

Wendy Brand of Allegany was re-elected board vice president. Ms. Brand is the community constituent liaison for Assemblyman Joseph M. Giglio, Assembly District 149. She also serves as a board member of the Olean-Bradford Area YMCA and commissioner of Allegany State Park Regional Commission. She is past board president of Pfeiffer Nature Center.

Mike Kasperski of Olean was re-elected board treasurer. A professor of accounting and internship coordinator for the School of Business at St. Bonaventure University, Mr. Kasperski serves as the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce finance chair, Olean Public Library treasurer, St. Mary of the Angels Church finance chairman and Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Retreat treasurer and director of operations.

Doug Price of Olean was re-elected board secretary. For 36 years Mr. Price has been associated with Hunter Insurance Agency in Olean, with more than 20 years as president and owner. He has been an active Olean Rotary Club member for 33 years, as well as a member of other community organizations.

Six members were elected to another three-year term. They include Vicki Blessing, vice president of leasing and development for Park Centre Development, Inc.; Dennis Casey, co-owner of Casey, Halwig & Hartle Funeral Home; Tony Evans, executive director of the Cattaraugus County Youth Bureau; Karen Fohl, vice president for institutional advancement at Olean General Hospital and president of Olean General Hospital Foundation; Larry Sorokes, associate vice president for Franciscan Mission and director of the Center for Community Engagement and Mychal Judge Center at St. Bonaventure University; and Mrs. Stitt.

The board elected Joe Higgins of Olean an honorary director. As a lead organizer of the Allegheny River Valley Trail, Mr. Higgins was instrumental in the creation of the Community Foundation.

The Community Foundation was established in 1995 in order to manage funds to benefit the Olean area, including donations to support the creation of the Allegheny River Valley Trail. As such the Alleghany River Valley Trail Fund was the first fund at the Community Foundation.

Mr. Higgins was a charter member of the Community Foundation’s board of directors, serving until 2004.

“The Foundation has come a long way since the beginning thanks to the great direction of Carol Stitt, Skip Wilday, Bob Busan and Karen Buchheit and many others,” Mr. Higgins said, adding he appreciated being elected an honorary board member.

Currently Mr. Higgins serves as a director of the County of Cattaraugus IDA, a Commissioner of the Cuba Lake District, member of the Buildings and Grounds Committee of Mount Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Retreat, and Chairman of the Allegany River Valley Trail Advisory Committee. He also has served as President of the Allegany Central School Board, President of the Olean Chamber, and member of the board of directors of HoliMont.

Established in 1995, the Community Foundation is growing good by connecting donors to the causes they care about most in our region. Grants from the foundation support many areas including education, scholarships, health care, the arts, community development, human service and youth development. To learn more, call, email or visit us online at

For more information, contact the Community Foundation at (716) 372-4433, email or visit Find us on Facebook at

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