Last week, I had the privilege of seeing our community realize two important wins.
The Cambria-Somerset Authority and the Stonycreek-Quemahoning Initiative officially opened a 17-mile bicycle trail around the Quemahoning Reservoir in Somerset County. That trail adds to a growing number of exciting recreational opportunities in our region, but it also illustrates the way Community Foundation for the Alleghenies helps donors help our community.
One of several donors to this project was someone who came to the foundation wanting to partner with us in rebuilding our community. We were able to match his intent with a project with huge potential.
We also celebrated the completion of a two-mile extension of the Ghost Town Trail, which is to become the first continuous loop rail-trail in the Eastern U.S.
Our donors helped fund that project, too, and we are delighted to see how the Ghost Town Trail has become a point of pride for Cambria and Indiana counties.
Those are just a couple examples of how our donors’ aspirations and goals have guided us toward developing our region’s incredible trail networks. In fact, over the past decade, the foundation has awarded nearly $250,000 in direct grants to support local trails.
Many of these grants helped bring in millions of dollars more in state and federal funding. We’re proud of the trail work we see happening, especially because it means we’ve connected our donors with meaningful projects. We are honored to create paths for donors; that’s one reason we’ve decided to highlight trails at our Founders’ Day Picnic on Thursday.
Founders’ Day is our chance to update donors and the community on our progress.
I am thrilled to say that, this year, we will be announcing record growth of our assets.
We also had a very strong year in charitable distributions, and we have added significantly to our Legacy Society, which is a valued group of people who have or are planning to remember the community in their wills through the Community Foundation.
Because we are focusing on trails, we’ve invited September 11th National Memorial Trail President Tom Baxter to speak about how our counties are part of this national effort.
I hope you’ll join us in celebrating our region’s progress and the ways our trails can connect us.
In the end, the literal and figurative paths we make happen only because there are people in our community who care deeply about our future.
We are grateful to those who choose to walk side-by-side with us to make this place we all love even better.
Mike Kane is president of Community Foundation for the Alleghenies.