Our First Decade 1998-2008.
The History of the Crawford Heritage Community Foundation
The Crawford Heritage Community Foundation, has its roots in a committee formed under the auspices of the United Way of Western Crawford County in 1997. Their charge was to determine the feasibility of a community foundation serving all of Crawford County. The committee was made up of Mary Jane Barretta, Dwight Haas, Edana Hough, Paul L. Huber, Christine B. (Kit) Lang, Melissa Mencotti, Hon. Gordon Miller, Dr. John B. Nesbitt, Rev. Dr. William A. Smith, Mark Strausbaugh and Lisa Pepicelli Youngs.
The committee met throughout 1997 to educate themselves further about building a community foundation and to consider whether or not Crawford County should have its own foundation. It was determined that a community foundation was feasible and necessary to maintaining local control of charitable funds. Further, it would help to promote philanthropy county-wide.
“In 1998, I wouldn’t have guessed we would achieve so much, so quickly. Obviously, our instinct was right and there was a need for a community foundation. People wanted a way to make a permanent charitable impact. Instead of just giving money to be spent in a short amount of time, the Foundation would invest what was given to give back every year.”
~ Lisa Pepicelli Youngs, Founding Director
“If we didn’t have a community foundation, I worried that existing endowments would someday be administered in Pittsburgh or Cleveland. I think when you live and work here you understand the area better than people in other states and big cities. With the Foundation, money is raised here, invested here and local people decide how it will be spent. That’s a big reason why I’ve given as much as I have.”
~ Paul Huber, Founding Director
Initial distributions were made from funds created the previous year. The grants to five organizations totaled $474. Assets under management grew to more than $280,000 by the end of 1999.
More than $28,000 in grants were awarded in 2000, including the first discretionary grants from the Unrestricted Fund. That same year our total assets surpassed the million dollar mark ($1.1 million) due to the addition of new funds and establishment of a charitable remainder annuity trust.
The Foundation’s first donor advised fund, the Linda Nicholls Huber Fund, was created by the Huber family of Meadville in 2006. Through donor advised funds, donors may recommend grants for distribution to the charitable organizations and purposes they wish to support.
“I came here from Dayton, Ohio where they’ve had a successful community foundation since 1921. I thought we needed one here. A foundation is an essential tool. It strengthens agencies and helps people achieve their philanthropic interests.”
~ Dwight Haas, Founding Director