Close to Their Heart

A Legacy of Giving

CFA’s Legacy Society honors people who care enough about our community to support it forever. Becoming a member is simple: include Community Foundation for the Alleghenies as a beneficiary of a gift from your estate and notify us of your plan. We can also help you identify ways to directly contribute to causes close to your heart, forever.

Our “What’s Your Wish” campaign this year highlighted the good intentions that we are honored to help local individuals and families realize. Terry Dunkle has enjoyed watching the Dunkle Family Fund grow every year and seeing the causes it supports. Ed and Karlice Makuchan worked with CFA to build a legacy around supporting environmental projects.

Carol Stern and her husband Larry, a retired math teacher, are Legacy Society members who established the Stern Family Fund, which is designed to help local children forever. Both of them spent years volunteering with the Boys and Girls Club of Somerset County, and Carol continues to serve as a trustee for the Children’s Aid Home Programs of Somerset County.

“My husband and I never could have children, though we have wonderful nieces and nephews,” she said. “We just have a place in our hearts for the young people in Somerset County.”

She knows there’s much work to be done but feels hopeful about the future and the difference she and Larry will be able to continue to make.

“Luckily, there are many in Somerset County who feel the same way, a little army of people,” she said. “We pray that when we’re gone, they will keep that going. That’s why we love the foundation. That legacy will carry on. They have a record of what we want, and we feel so secure in that.”

The impact of the generosity of CFA donors like the Sterns is difficult to measure. Dollar amounts and statistics don’t quite express the way their kindness can change lives, but those stories are unfolding across the region—and multiplying—all the time.

Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania is one example. The organization, which has received CFA support through the years, serves 50 to 100 local girls with its multilevel Outreach Girl Scout Programs at four troops located in Johnstown Housing Authority communities. It’s been so successful at reaching girls who otherwise may not have access to Girl Scout opportunities that it’s become a model for other outreach programs in Allegheny, Erie, and Beaver counties, Community Outreach Manager Megan Loftus said.

“These are girls who typically have barriers to traditional Girl Scouting,” Loftus said. “They face challenges like transportation or covering membership fees. It’s awesome to see how it’s grown. We work with the Johnstown Housing Authority to have four troops who come together once a week to do first aid badges or write letters to local veterans or sell cookies or learn about cooking for yourself.”

Of course, with concerns about COVID-19, adjustments had to be made. In addition to CFA support over the years, the program also received a grant through the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund this year to purchase iPads and wireless jet connections to create virtual meetings and help the girls stay connected to what can be a life-changing experience for the girls at a critical time in their development. Most of the members are 3rd to 5th-grade girls.

“It’s such a great way for them to make friends and to learn things like creating routines or building communication skills or teamwork,” Loftus added. “It’s really amazing to see their confidence build. We’re so thankful for the support and so happy to be able to provide ways to get more girls into the program.”

CLICK HERE to learn more about CFA’s Legacy Society or CLICK HERE to explore the 2020 Annual Report.

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