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Bedford, Cambria, Indiana, and Somerset counties have a unique opportunity to craft our future. We have extraordinary resources, at a time when those resources can go farther than ever. Our most valuable currency is in new ideas, and our greatest asset is our people. Here at the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, we work with the people bringing prosperity to this region, and we’re rallying others to join us.

The Tribune-Democrat published the following Op-Ed, by CFA President & Executive Director Mike Kane. While we’ve referenced Johnstown in this piece, we believe it applies to our entire 4-county area:

Johnstown: Poised for Prosperity

Johnstown is not dead. Whether you are aware of it or not, Johnstown is poised for prosperity, sitting on the greatest opportunity it’s had in generations.

Today, The Tribune-Democrat looks at what’s in store for Johnstown in 2017. Here at the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, we have the great joy of witnessing the best that Johnstown has to offer. We are invested with people and projects that are transforming Johnstown and its surrounding communities. We know how much people care.

This is a critical time for our region. We have the privilege of redefining ourselves. We have incredible resources to be grateful for: hardworking people with great ideas, our beautiful but underappreciated landscapes, a deeply committed nonprofit sector, educational and workforce training opportunities, a history rich with cultural and economic success.

We also have more financial resources than most people realize. In Cambria County alone, $2.2 billion – with a B – will pass from one generation to the next over the next decade, according to the Center for Rural Pennsylvania. This transfer of wealth gives us an unprecedented opportunity to support the nonprofit, charitable engagement that is the beating heart of our communities.

The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies exists to bring these resources together, and we’re working harder than ever at it. We recently completed a five-year strategic plan with the singular purpose of helping our communities realize their potential. We’re focusing our operations, increasing our outreach, and implementing better communications strategies. All of this is so that we can better connect this region’s resources with the people who will put them to good use. Now more than ever, we’re equipped to lead this region into its next era.

We’re here to rally you, your friends, our neighbors, our classmates — anyone who cares about our great city — to do something about it. The need here is great, and every single dollar, every single act of kindness, has a big impact.

We get calls every day from people like you. People who want to help. Whether they’re creating a fund to address their own specific passions, or contributing to one of our hundreds of existing funds, our donors all have one thing in common: they want to make a difference. Those funds aren’t there to keep the Community Foundation going. They are there to grow our community. We are a reflection of our donors, the nonprofits they support, and the legions of volunteers who support this region.

Those are the people shaping this city’s future. A quick look at the funds we manage and the grantees who benefit from many of them reveals myriad examples of a city meeting modern demands: an incubator for entrepreneurs, city-wide beautification projects, family-friendly activities downtown, and scores of scholarships for students   seeking all sorts of careers. It reveals an energy to tackle entrenched problems with new ideas, while paving the way for a future we haven’t yet envisioned.

Our job, now, is to build on everything that’s great about this region. We get to cultivate the things we love most about living here, and we can change the things that hold us back. Together, we’ll strive for new successes, reflecting new ideas, new goals, and new solutions. This journey requires us to think and work collectively. For more than 25 years, the Community Foundation has helped Johnstown do just that: come together for causes big and small that make this region better for the undertaking.

Because we are a reflection of the community, the Community Foundation shines with your light. It is the light of compassion and cooperation. It is the light that’s showing us the way to our new prosperity, and it shines brighter every time someone asks: how can I help?

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