Foundation Staff

Michael L. Batchelor, President

Michael L. Batchelor, has been at the helm of The Erie Community Foundation since 1990 when he was selected as the first executive director. He was named president in 1995. Under his management, assets have increased from $20 million to over $180 million. This market value rates 55th among the nation’s 700 community foundations. Named endowment funds have grown from 53 to 610. Annual grantmaking has dramatically increased with nearly $8 million distributed in 2009.

Under Mike’s leadership, The Erie Community Foundation received national recognition for expanding access to opportunity. He founded the Nonprofit Partnership, a membership-based capacity building nonprofit. He also established regional affiliate foundations serving Corry, Union City, North East and Findley Lake.

He is a two-time president of Pennsylvania Association of Community Foundations and a national elected leader of the Council of Foundations. He also served on the National Governing Council. He consults for community foundations across the country and is a well-known instructor for the Center for Community Foundation Excellence in Washington, D.C. He earned both a Bachelor of Science (cum laude) in Journalism (1977) and a Master of Arts in Public Policy Analysis (1980) from Kent State University.

He began a career in higher education by serving as Kent State admissions counselor. He then served as Director of Annual Giving at Hiram College, Director of Planning and Development at Villa Maria College and Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Gannon University.

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Erin D. Fessler, Vice President of Marketing and Community Relations

Erin Doolin Fessler joined The Erie Community Foundation as the Marketing and Public Relations Director in 2004. 

In 2012, she was named Vice President of Communications. She manages the Foundation’s advertising, media relations, newsletters, electronic communications, website, facebook and twitter media. 

She earned her B.S. degree in Communications with a minor in Psychology from John Carroll University. After graduation, she worked as the promotions assistant atWSEE TV 35, the public relations director for the Community Blood Bank, and assistant vice president in Corporate Communications for PNC Bank. During college, she worked for University Hospitals in Cleveland and CNN in Washington, D.C., where she ran camera for Larry King.

She is a founding board member of the NWPA chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. She served as treasurer in 2012 and 2013, and in 2014 she was the chapter President. She currently serves as a board member of the YMCA Metro Board. She is a past board member of the Erie Advertising Club. In service to her community, she volunteers her time with Celebration Donation, Camp Notre Dame and Saint Peters Women’s Auxiliary. She also serves Saint Peter Cathedral School as the ski chaperone and golf coach.

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Khristina J. Bowman, Director of Marketing & Communications

Khristina Bowman joined The Erie Community Foundation as the Communications Associate in 2012.

In 2013, she was promoted to Director of Marketing & Communications. In this role she works with the Vice President of Communications to manage the Foundation’s advertising, media relations, newsletters, electronic communications, website, facebook and twitter media. She also works with the Foundation's Regional Affiliates.

She earned her B.A. degree in Communications from Pennsylvania State University at Erie, The Behrend College. She first began working with the Foundation during her senior year of college as a Marketing and Public Relations Intern. During college, she worked as a freelance writer for The Erie Times.

Khristina is a member of the Penn State Alumni Association. She is also a member of the NWPA Chapter of Public Relations Society of America.

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Donna M. Buseck, Marketing & Communications Associate

Donna M. Buseck joined the Erie Community Foundation in 2007. She is responsible for editing and proofreading Foundation compositions and communications, and with coordinating events and organizing registrations. She also acts as a liaison to connect local donors with local nonprofits.

After graduating from Gannon University with a BA degree in English, she began her career as the office manager for Sarah A. Reed Children’s Center. In 1981, she became the legal secretary and office manager for Connelly Legal Centers. Prior to joining The Erie Community Foundation, she was Attorney Daniel L.R. Miller’s legal assistant at McClure & Miller, LLP for nearly 20 years.

Donna is a founding member of the Erie Women’s Fund and served as Secretary of its Steering Committee for eight years. She volunteers for the Erie Playhouse, the Regional Cancer Center and her alma mater, Villa Maria Academy and is a member of the Council of Women’s Organizations and the Women’s Funding Network.

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George E. Espy, Vice President of Community Impact

George E. Espy joined the foundation in 2013 as the Vice President of Community Impact. For the last twelve years, Mr. Espy served as CEO of Ohio Grantmakers Forum (OGF), headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Prior to assuming statewide responsibilities, Mr. Espy was director of the organization's northeast Ohio office. Ohio Grantmakers Forum is the statewide association of private, corporate and community foundations, corporate giving programs, other grantmaking public charities and individuals involved in philanthropic endeavors.

Mr. Espy is former chair of the board of directors of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, a national philanthropic network of regional associations, and was a member of the board of directors of the Council on Foundations. He served as chair of the Ohio Attorney General's Charitable Advisory Council. In recognition of his contributions to the field, Mr. Espy was awarded the Ohio Philanthropy award in 2012.

Mr. Espy is former chair of the board of directors of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, a national philanthropic network of regional associations, and was a member of the board of directors of the Council on Foundations. He served as chair of the Ohio Attorney General's Charitable Advisory Council. In recognition of his contributions to the field, Mr. Espy was awarded the Ohio Philanthropy award in 2012.

A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Mr. Espy has earned two graduate degrees from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He and his wife Cynda have three children and live in Fairview, Pennsylvania.

Contact for:

  • Helping today and Shaping tomorrow Community Impact Grantmaking
  • Community Initiatives and Partnerships
  • Erie Vital Signs
  • Email George E. Espy

Patrick Herr, Director of Community Impact

With over 20 years of experience working in human services, Patrick Herr joined The Erie Community Foundation as the Director of Community Impact in 2014. He now manages the Helping Today competitive grant program that addresses operational needs of nonprofit organizations. Pat is responsible for the administration of the Urgent Request grant program, and also manages the Foundations Donors Choose and Wishbook projects. Pat earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from Washington and Jefferson College. He received his Master’s Degree in Social Work from Edinboro University in 2005 and his Social Work license in 2008. Prior to joining the Foundation, Pat worked as an Associate Director for Community Shelter Services, where he was charged with daily oversight of all program-related operations.

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Rachel Cacchione, Community Impact Associate

Rachel Cacchione joined The Erie Community Foundation as Community Impact Associate in 2014. In this position she works with the Community Impact Team to manage our competitive grant and Erie Vital Signs programs. She is responsible for scheduling meetings, database entry, correspondence, process development and preparation of board meeting materials.

Rachel earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Media Studies from Pennsylvania State Erie, The Behrend College. Prior to joining the Foundation, she worked as an Administrative Assistant for The Muscular Dystrophy Association where she was responsible for administrative duties, fundraising and healthcare services.

She is a team participant for the Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

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Susannah Weis Frigon, CFP®, Vice President of Investor Relations

Susannah Weis Frigon became the Vice President of Investor Relations for The Erie Community Foundation in 2013. Prior to that, she spent 24 years in the financial services industry, holding senior leadership positions in Chicago, Rochester NY, and Pittsburgh. She was a Managing Director at UBS Financial Services, responsible for the firm’s wealth management business in Western Pennsylvania and Western New York. Her volunteer experience includes director and committee roles for various non-profits, among them the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Erie Together, Fairview Middle School’s Adopt an Artist, and The Multicultural Community Resource Center. Susannah is a current member of The Estate Planning Council of Erie, Erie Rotary and the Carrie T. Watson Garden Club. She lives in Fairview with her husband and three children. 

Contact for:

  • Donor Relations and Fund Information
  • Establishing a Fund, Scholarship or Planned Gift
  • Professional Advisor Program
  • Regional Affiliate Community Foundations
  • Erie Women's Fund
  • Email Susannah Weis Frigon, CFP®

Keely Doyle, Investor Relations Associate

Keely Doyle joined The Erie Community Foundation in 2015 as Investor Relations Associate. In this role, she is responsible for assisting the Vice President of Investor Relations in all aspects of donor stewardship and development. Additionally, she provides administrative support to the President.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Doyle worked for the City of Erie as Executive Assistant to Mayor Joseph E. Sinnott. Preceding the Mayor’s Office, she was a Legal Assistant at the Quinn Law Firm. Doyle graduated from Edinboro University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice in 2009 and received her Master of Science from University of Cincinnati in 2013. A life-long resident of Erie, Doyle has a deep commitment to improving the Erie community.

Contact for:

  • Donor Relations and Fund Information
  • Fund Statements
  • General Fund Information
  • Erie Women's Fund
  • Email Keely Doyle

Barbara F. Sambroak, C.P.A., Vice President of Finance & Administration

Barbara F. Sambroak joined The Erie Community Foundation in 2006 as the Chief Financial Officer. She was promoted to Vice President of Finance in 2010. She is responsible for the finance, accounting, treasury management and human resources of the Foundation. She handles the annual audit and the monthly financial statements and oversees the policies and procedures of the Foundation’s accounting systems.

Sambroak earned her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Augustana College in South Dakota. She also earned her Master of Business Administration, with distinction, from Gannon University in 1997, and she became a Certified Public Accountant in 2000.

Prior to joining the Foundation, she worked for eleven years in Financial Affairs Department of Gannon University where she was promoted from staff accountant to internal auditor to the controller.

In service to her community, she volunteers her time with Early Connections and Artists Incorporated. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

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Amanda Lincoln, Controller

Amanda Lincoln joined The Erie Community Foundation in 2008 as Director of Accounting. She was promoted to Controller in 2014. Amanda is responsible for managing the day-to-day finance and accounting operations of the Foundation. She works with the Vice President of Finance to prepare the annual audit, monthly financial statements, and other financial reports as needed.

Amanda earned her Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and International Business with a minor in Spanish from Villanova University in Villanova, PA. Prior to joining The Foundation, she was a senior tax consultant with Deloitte Tax LLP in Pittsburgh, where she was a member of the Research & Development Tax Services Group, providing service to various Fortune 500 clientele across diverse industries.

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Meghan O'Brien, Director of Grants & Scholarships

Meghan O’Brien joined the Foundation as the Director of Grants Processing in 2011. She is responsible for all aspects of donor directed grants processing and for assisting the Finance Department with endowment fund accounting work.

A graduate of Villa Maria Academy, Meghan attended the University of Pittsburgh. With over ten years of experience in her field, Meghan previously worked for EPMCorporation as well as MegaGrafix/Printing Technologies.

Contact for:

  • Grants Processing
  • Scholarship Application, Review, and Disbursement
  • “Access Your Funds” Information
  • Email Meghan O'Brien

Kathleen Jackson, Grants & Accounting Assistant

Kathleen Jackson joined The Erie Community Foundation as Grant and Accounting Assistant in 2014 on a part-time basis. She assists the Finance Team with monthly and quarterly accounting processes, as well as grants and fund statement processing.

She earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Gannon University. Prior to joining the Foundation, she was a Fiscal Specialist for the School District of the City of Erie, where she was responsible for developing and fiscally managing all federal and state grants and budgets.

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