Rockstar board presidents led 20 years of growth: part 1

Six of the Elk County Community Foundation’s past Board Presidents are captured in this 2007 board photo. Front Row; Jake Meyer, Charlie Constable, Judy Stager, Don Valone, all served as president. Richard Smith, board member is also pictured. Back Row, Bea Terbovich, past president, board members John Dippold, Bill Conrad, and Charlie Stager, past president Dan Straub, Paula Fritz Eddy, Executive Director, board member John Kocjancic, Karen Lewis, Finance Director, and board members Paul Bierley and Ham Johnson.                      

The Elk County Community Foundation (ECCF) Board of Directors is made up of a group of community-minded individuals who have a mix of outstanding people skills, the talent to manage, and a curiosity and willingness to develop a keen understanding of the non-profit organization.

The ECCF Board of Directors has been fortunate to be led by nine outstanding Board Presidents over its 20-year history. In celebration of ECCF’s 20th anniversary, the Board Presidents who served during the Community Foundation’s first ten years are reflecting on their time in office.

Richard Masson was called upon to be the first president of ECCF in 2000, and would retain that position for 2001 and 2002. Rich said, “While the Elk County Community Foundation began its existence 20 years ago, the idea to create a foundation was germinated by the likes of Bill Conrad, Jake Meyer, and other forward thinkers who understood the need to create a conduit of philanthropy to channel the generosity of our citizens.”

Given that the concept was new to our area, the Erie Community Foundation, which itself had been created in 1990, was contacted for input and guidance. The two foundations agreed to affiliate, an arrangement that existed for a number of years until the Elk County Community Foundation disengaged and continued as an independent stand-alone entity. The evolution from concept to new affiliated organization to a highly regarded community institution was enhanced by the dedication and expertise of the members of the board of the foundation and the acceptance of the mission of the foundation by the general public.

 “Today, the success of the foundation is abundantly clear, but the measure of its success is not the funds accumulated, managed, and distributed, but the enhancement of the lives of the people in our area. While my affiliation with the foundation was relatively brief, I was honored and privileged to have served as the first president of the board”, Rich stated.

In 2003, Bea Terbovich took over the reins and served as president for 4 years. Bea stated, “I had the privilege of serving my term as President during the early days of the Foundation’s development. These were exciting times as we explored opportunities, learned how to function, and built a firm base upon which we could grow. Getting certified by PANO (Pennsylvania Association of Non-profit Organizations) helped to assure us that we were on the right track.

Among the other things we accomplished during those years, we fine-tuned our by-laws and board membership structure.  We were determined to maintain the board as a fluid reflection of the diverse personalities representing our area.  By establishing and enforcing term limits, we continue to allow for a comfortable flow of new faces holding seats on the board, thereby keeping a fresh look on what’s going on in Elk County.  ECCF truly is a community foundation with strong representation from the people who live here. After our structure became sound, our energy turned more towards growing both in funds and in distribution. We celebrated hitting the one-million-dollar mark in assets during my tenure.  Our 20-year history is proof of our continued success!

Charlie Constable became the third ECCF Board President to serve in that role in 2007 and 2008. “Having seen how the Elk County Community Foundation has made this area we live in better in many ways, I am especially proud to have served as a past president and a member of the Board of Directors for several years”, stated Charlie.

In 2009 and 2010, Judith Manno Stager served as Board President. Judy shared her memories of her time in office: “ECCF’s 10th anniversary was celebrated with many accomplishments during my term as president. We increased our grants by 58%, granted our first million dollars and increased our assets to 5 million dollars. We were recognized as the St. Marys Chamber of Commerce 2010 Small Business of the Year, expanded beyond Elk County with the incorporation of the Community Foundation of North Central Pennsylvania, and welcomed the establishment of the popular Women Who Care organization. A special memory during my Board tenure was working with Dan Straub to enlighten the community about ‘What is a Community Foundation’ by organizing a very successful Red Fern fun and festive St. Patrick’s Day Event”.

The Board Presidents of the Elk County Community Foundation have been ambassadors and advocates for the organization for 20 years. The tremendous success of the foundation is a shared achievement for the board, staff, and members of the community who have embraced the mission of the Community Foundation in improving the quality of life in our communities through charitable giving.