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Cornelius elected to CRCF board, Benson named president, Kothari honorary director

Mon, Feb 6th 2023 02:00 pm

The Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation board recently elected Sean Cornelius to its board of directors and named its slate of Foundation officers for 2023, including the election of Lucy Benson as board president, while also naming Dr. Yogini Kothari an honorary board member.

The board also re-elected six current board members to another three-year term.

Cornelius is the president of Weed Ross Agency, an insurance agency with locations in Ellicottville, Randolph and East Aurora.

Cornelius has some 20-years’ experience in the insurance industry, beginning with working in his father’s State Farm office in his native Erie, PA during summers home St. Bonaventure University.

Cornelius joined Weed Ross in 2014 and was named president in 2016.

Cornelius will serve on the Foundation’s grant allocations committee, which he first joined in 2022.

The board of directors also elected Lucy Benson as board president.

Benson joined the CRCF board in 2016 and has faithfully served in a number of roles on the board in her 7 years of service.

Benson has been the chair of the grant allocations committee since 2018, and has been an elected officer since 2018. She was first elected as secretary in 2018 and served as board vice president for two years prior to being named president.

The board also named Dr. Yogini Kothari an honorary CRCF board member in recognition of her outstanding service and dedication to the CRCF board and community.

The CRCF board of directors elects honorary board members in recognition of their dedication and service to the board and its mission. Honorary board members may continue to attend board meetings and events but do not vote.

Dr. Kothari served as a board member from 2005-2018. Through her board tenure she was a member of the Foundation’s scholarship committee, which she co-chaired for a number of years, as well as the grant allocations committee.

Shortly after joining the board, Dr. Kothari and her husband Dr. Ashok Kothari together established the Kothari Family Endowment Fund, which provides a number of annual grants including two Kothari Family Health Care Scholarships for aspiring health care professionals each year and annual grants to the Olean Food Pantry and other organizations.

Over the years the fund has made possible more than $30,000 in grants and scholarships. The fund has grown to now support two annual scholarships of a minimum of $1,000 each.

Dr. Kothari and her husband were honored as the Friends of the Foundation in 2022.

“The board could not think of another individual more deserving of honorary board member status,” said Lucy Benson. “It is rare to find an individual like Dr. Kothari who is eager to lend a hand and meet any need in the community. Dr. Kothari exemplifies the giving and selfless nature that makes a great board member and community volunteer.”

The board also elected all of its officers for 2023, including Mike Kasperski as vice president, Sharon Myers as 2nd vice president, Wendy Brand as treasurer and Audra Stevens as secretary.

Shabana Chauhdry, Tony Evans, Mary Freeman, Mike Higgins, Sharon Myers and Carol Stitt, all currently serving board members, were re-elected for a three-year term beginning in 2023.

“We are so pleased to welcome Sean Cornelius to the CRCF board of directors, as well as all of our re-elected board members and newly appointed board officers,” said CRCF Executive Director Karen Niemic Buchheit. “It is the guidance and leadership of the board that has made CRCF the supportive, trusted and responsive leader in philanthropy it is today, and I have no doubt that Sean and all of our board members will only continue to raise the standard for CRCF in the years to come.”

The Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation is the area’s supportive, responsive and trusted community foundation. Established in 1994, CRCF is growing good by connecting donors to the causes they care about most in the region. Grants from the foundation support many areas, including education, scholarships, health care, the arts, community development, human service, and youth development. To learn more, call (716) 301-CRCF (2723), email [email protected], or visit online at www.cattfoundation.org. CRCF is also on Facebook (facebook.com/cattfoundation) and Twitter (@CattFoundation).