About Us

What is the Allegany County Area Foundation?

The Foundation is a non-profit organization that manages donations and their earnings totaling more than $8 million and uses the proceeds from those funds to encourage educational, social, cultural and civic projects benefiting the residents of Allegany County. The Foundation awards scholarships to individuals and grants to community organizations. It also helps organizations secure their futures by managing endowment funds and ensures that individuals’ desires for a legacy come to fruition by administering funds to benefit the areas or organizations they specify.

Read the 2012-2013: ACAF Annual Report

Why a community foundation?

Community foundations provide a method for turning gifts or bequests into endowed funds, with favorable tax benefits. Some see the Foundation as a community savings account, leveraging the pooled resources of many in order to accomplish greater things for the entire community.

Who can be part of the foundation?

Everyone! Dozens of people make gifts to the various funds of the Allegany County Area Foundation each year, earning acknowledgement as “Friends of the Foundation.” Area  service organizations, like the SPCA, libraries and historical societies have all received grants. Hundreds of young people apply for scholarships from the Foundation each year. Individuals set up funds to benefit areas of interest. Organizations establish endowment funds.

Also, the Foundation welcomes associate members who volunteer their time to serve on committees and attend meetings and the organization’s board members attend to the business of the Foundation throughout the year as volunteers.

What fund options does the Foundation have?

Allegany County Fund:
This general account’s earnings  fund grants to area organizations, providing support for civic, social and cultural projects that affect the lives of Allegany County area residents.

Designated Funds:
The donor may name a specific recipient (e.g., an area fire department, library, etc.) when establishing a designated fund. ($5,000 minimum) Organizations can use these as an endowment fund to provide earnings for their future endeavors. Click here to see the designated funds the Foundation currently administers.

Field-of-Interest Funds:
Donors can specify an area of interest for the Foundation to consider in making grants from a field-of-interest fund, such as youth work, the environment, performing arts, etc. ($5,000 minimum) Check out the Foundation’s field-of-interest funds by clicking here.

Scholarship Funds:
Anyone can establish a scholarship fund and specify the criteria for its awards (such as left-handed violin players or students whose parents work for certain organizations) to deserving county students. ($5,000 minimum). Click here to see see a list of scholarships the Foundation administers.

Judge Peter Sprague: A man with a vision and on a mission.

sprague-peterJudge Peter Sprague, founding member of the Board of Directors of the Allegany County Area Foundation had a vision and a belief that the people of Allegany County have a philanthropic spirit that would provide for others.

In 1983, Peter Sprague was asked by those present at the meeting of incorporation to preside as the temporary chairmen of the newly formed foundation. The original Board of Directors included: Kenneth Nielson, Patricia Regan, James Searle, Allen Schintzius, Harry Graves, Jr., Claudia Kauffman and Leslie Haggstrom.

Other business at that initial meeting held in Cuba, NY included reading the Certificate of Incorporation, approval of the by-laws and nomination and election of officers. The officers elected by unanimous vote were Allen Schintzuis, president; Kenneth Nielson, vide-president; John Carter, secretary and treasurer. Thus began the Allegany County Area Foundation, Incorporated.

The mission of the newly formed non-profit organization states the Foundation aims to be a focus of concern and commitment to enhance the general quality of life in Allegany County for present and future generations. It is a resource that allows donors to serve the evolving needs of their community with flexibility, impartiality, and thoughtful analysis, and return to the community some part of

what it has given them. The ACAF is a permanent endowment fund providing financial support to educational, social, cultural and civic projects in Allegany County, New York. Thirty years later, the Foundation continues to promote its original mission.

A reception was held on June 3, 2013 at Cuba Lake, NY to honor the work of Peter Sprague. Over 65 guests gathered on the lawn to greet Peter and Mary Lou Sprague as they arrived. The Sprague’s travelled from their home in Ohio to be at the reception.