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Community Trust Foundation seeking aid from counties

Megan Miller
Cumberland Times-News

KEYSER, W.Va. — The Community Trust Foundation is asking the commissioners of Allegany, Garrett and Mineral counties for thousands of dollars to help pay its administrative costs through the year.

Terry Stephens, a representative of the organization, pitched the request to the Mineral County Commission at its meeting Tuesday night, asking for a contribution of $15,000, mainly to cover staffing costs.

Stephens explained that most of those costs to this point have been paid by the Tri-County Council, the Maryland organization that first fostered the foundation. But because of funding cuts, the council has withdrawn all its financial support.

“We’ve been left without any type of staff right now,” Stephens said. “We’re going to need some help this year.”

Commissioner Cindy Pyles asked Stephens if the foundation will need money from the county commissions every year in order to keep up its operations.

“I think we are about three to four years away from being self-sufficient,” Stephens said. “Honestly, I see us asking each commission for something like $15,000 this year, $10,000 next year and $5,000 the following year.”

Since its creation three years ago, the foundation has operated with the understanding that it would eventually become self-sufficient, he said. But it wasn’t expected to stand on its own for at least five years.

Stephens said the foundation does have about $5 million at its disposal for granting, but only a small percentage of that money can be used to pay the organization’s administrative costs.

Its board members have pledged $5,000 apiece to help shore up the foundation through the upcoming year, he said, but available revenue only adds up to about $38,000. It will require about $45,000 more, or a total of about $83,000, to operate with just a part-time staff.

The Mineral County Commission didn’t act on his request Tuesday, but will consider it in the coming weeks along with other budget issues, the commissioners said.

The foundation recently moved out of office space provided by the Tri-County-Council at the Allegany Business Center at Frostburg State University and into donated office space on the second floor of the Susquehanna Bank building at 71 Baltimore St. in Cumberland. The Appalachian Regional Commission awarded a grant for new computers, phones and other office equipment. Western Maryland Health System donated the office furniture, and Air Con Engineering assisted with the move.

The Community Trust Foundation of Allegany, Garrett and Mineral counties is a private, nonprofit organization set up to make it easier for individuals and organizations who wish to make a long-term lasting impact on specific areas of local society to do so, according to a news release from the organization. It administers funds to benefit the arts, literacy, history and education, among other areas.

Stephens said the foundation awarded about $75,000 in grants around the three-county area in 2009, about $10,000 of that to Mineral County entities.


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