Letter from the President

October, 2013

Dear Allegany County and Beyond

It is my pleasure to write my fourth president’s message for the Allegany County Area Foundation annual report, and I’m still talking about bridges.  The bridge logo for our foundation is an apt symbol because the money placed in our trust does help worthy students and community organizations go from where they are, over an impediment, toward their goals.  My goal is that whenever anyone walks or drives over a bridge he or she has a flashing thought of bridge, bridge, yes, that reminds me–Allegany County Area Foundation.

I had the opportunity to walk across the St. Charles Bridge in Prague, on a spring visit to the Czech Republic in 2013, and on that rainy day, I joined hundreds of tourists rubbing for good luck their world famous statues.  I felt grateful for the engineers and builders of all bridges everywhere, not the least of whom are those who founded our bridge thirty years ago.  My association with the foundation goes not quite back to the beginning, when Peter Sprague and Ken Nielsen and others acted on their vision of a span that would reach from Allegany County into the future.  I am grateful for their foresight and optimism.

1983—then something called ARPANET migrated to TCP/IP, to become the internet.  The first voyage of the Space Shuttle Challenger highlighted the news, and we were watching the final episode of M*A*S*H and the first episode of Wheel of Fortune.  McDonald’s had just introduced the McNugget, and the Philadelphia 76ers were NBA champions.  I could no more have predicted then all that the foundation would be doing in 2013, than I can predict what the foundation board of 2043 will be doing then.  That I might not be around to receive that annual report, in whatever as yet uninvented format annual reports might take, could take this message down the road of perpetuating a legacy.  That a contribution I make today will have a positive and remembered impression in the middle of the 21st century and beyond, is the source of pleasure and consolation, but, frankly, I’m happy to leave the crossing of that bridge in the far distant future.

With our executive director Donna Sweet, 2012-13 has been a great year for the foundation board of directors, and we are grateful for many new gifts and endowments and our ability to award many scholarships and grants.  Maybe I dreamed it, but with all the highway construction we’ve seen this summer and fall, I am picturing a familiar yellow diamond roadside sign.   It spoke to me of keeping the foundation in good repair, its funds secure; honoring its heritage, its founders and its contributors; anticipating the needs of future generations and meeting those needs.  Please look for that sign, which is our opportunity and our promise:             “BRIDGE IMPROVEMENTS AHEAD”.


Carolyn Miller, Board President

acaf bridge