In spite of a tough economy, Community Foundation for the Alleghenies continues to grow.
In fact, the Johnstown-based foundation has surpassed $50 million in assets and handed out $3 million last year.
With hopes of continuing that trend – and of making sure the foundation is meeting the area’s needs – administrators are looking for input in putting together a plan that will act as the organization’s blueprint for the next three years.
“It’s really important,” said Mike Kane, the foundation’s executive director. “We view ourselves as a community asset.”
A gathering Wednesday in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood illustrated that, as Kane and others spent a few hours gathering ideas and comments.
“We were very pleased,” Kane said of the session at Art Works in Johnstown.
“There were so many great people there willing to share their thoughts.”
Participating in the foundation’s planning is Peggy Outon, executive director of the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Pittsburgh’s Robert Morris University.
Prior to Wednesday’s session, she wanted to know about “what’s exciting and positive in the community” as well as issues that require attention.
“What are we worried about?” Outon asked. “What are concerns?”
Establishing those priorities, she added, comes before a foundation’s fundraising and grant-making.
“The fundraising is the tip of the iceberg,” Outon said. “It’s what comes at the end of the process.”
Meetings also have been held in Bedford and Somerset counties, which the foundation covers in addition to Cambria County and part of Indiana County.
Also planned are phone interviews, face-to-face interviews, focus-group discussions and Internet surveys.
Administrators say they’re also interested in topics including “local attitudes toward philanthropy and its role in filling community needs” and “what motivates people to give to charitable causes and to volunteer.”
A final plan is expected to be ready later this year.
More information on the community foundation is available at www.cfalleghenies.org.
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