Tom Baxter

Tom Baxter, president of the September 11 National Memorial Trail Alliance, addresses the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies’ Founders’ Day picnic on Thursday, August 8, 2019, at Peoples Natural Gas Park in Johnstown.

A local organization whose mission is to empower all people to become philanthropists, announced on Thursday that it has grown to a record year of assets.

The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies held its Founders’ Day picnic at PNG Park in downtown Johnstown.

Foundation president and executive director Mike Kane announced to the dozens of community stakeholders in attendance of the event that his organization recorded $78 million in estimated year-end assets. Kane also noted that the Foundation grew to 745 funds and awarded more than $6.2 million in grants and charitable distributions over the past year.

“Our report to the community is important to us,” Kane said. “We want people to know what we are doing because we’re really made up by the people of the community who support things through the Community Foundation.

“We’ve grown a record amount of $78 million in assets,” he said. “For a community our size, this is a testament to our community.”

Kane said that it’s no secret that his organization has been a supporter of the recent movement to focus on trails in the area.

“We believe trails make communities better,” Kane said. “Over the years you’re going to see this all come together and our community is going to be known for this.”

The guest speaker was September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance president Thomas Baxter.

During the event, Baxter announced that the alliance recently opened a fund at the Foundation to support the development of the September 11th National Memorial Trail connection in Somerset County between the Great Allegheny Passage trailhead in Garrett to the Flight 93 National Memorial.

“The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies has a tremendous impact on the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance,” Baxter said. “They’ve been forthcoming as a Community Foundation to help us set up a fund, and that fund will help seed the development of the trail on 1,300-mile alignment.

“They’ve been such a great partner for us.” 

Four grants totaling $50,000 were also announced Thursday by participants in the Youth Philanthropy Interns initiative program.

The Center for Metal Arts received a $25,000 grant, and plans to use the funding to repurpose the guard shack by the Bethlehem Steel pedestrian bridge into an incubator that will act as a stationary food truck for the community.

Other grantees included the Community Arts Center of Cambria County ($15,000) and St. Francis University’s Therapeutic Gardening Initiative for Adults in the Tri-County Area ($10,000).

Ronald Fisher is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @FisherSince_82.

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