By Amy Cherry
Staff Writer for The Daily Press
Three area residents recently had the opportunity to act as “Donor Advisors for a Day” by delegating funding to the organization of their choice through a program sponsored by the Elk County Community Foundation.
The event was designed to give community members in attendance at the Foundation’s 10th Anniversary Celebration, held on March 24 at the Central Hose Company along North Broad Street in Ridgway, a chance to “advise” the organization on three $500 grants to a non-profit agency of their choice.
The funding for the grants was taken from the Foundation’s Fund for the Future.
Among the chosen donor advisors were Michael Buchheit of Ridgway, Bob Roberts and Mary Agnes Marshall, of St. Marys.
Buchheit chose to split his grant up to two different organizations. Mary Beth Kucenski accepted a $250 donation for the American Red Cross of Elk and Cameron counties, while Mary Lynn Bellotti accepted a $250 for the YMCA, located in Ridgway.
Buchheit explained that he chose the Red Cross because they assisted his family when his father passed away in locating his sons, Major Frank Buchheit and Capt. Nick Buchheit, who were deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Red Cross helped in bringing the soldiers home for their grandfather’s funeral and burial services.
“I chose the YMCA because it does a lot for the people in the town and I enjoy going there when I can,” Buchheit said.
According to Kucenski the Red Cross grant will be utilized for its general operating funds, specifically to provide services such as military services, disasters response and to maintain their community education programs.
“When we received the donation we were totally ecstatic, because we’re putting it into our summer camp program, Bellotti said regarding the YMCA’s grant. “I like to give this back to the community, to the kids, as it was given to us by the community because the youth is our future.”
According to Bellotti the daycamp program runs anywhere from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Children participate in a variety of activities, crafts, swimming and field trips. Last year field trips were local due to lack of funding for transportation. This year there are 12-18 children, ages 6-12, enrolled in daycamp which runs Mondays through Friday for 11 weeks.
Roberts chose the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery as his beneficiary, as he is the president of the cemetery board.
“Our needs are greater than they have been in the past and we need the money,” Roberts said.
He noted the money will be utilized for maintenance and keeping the cemetery looking nice. Dick Friedl, cemetery board treasurer, accepted the $500 donation.
Mary Agnes Marshall, principal of St. Marys Catholic Middle School, was drawn as the final donor. She presented the $500 donation to Betsy Roberts, representing the St. Marys Christian Food Bank.
Betsy noted the grant will be put to good use at the food bank as more and more people are signing up for the food program.
Donors and representatives from the chosen organizations recently gathered at the Foundation to conduct an official check presentation