Board of Trustees

Our trustees serve three-year terms, renewable to nine years. This process assures continuity of input and the presence of strong civic leaders guiding your community foundation. Trustees attend an issues briefing and regular board meeting each quarter.

Our board trustees are selected in partnership with various civic and professional groups including the Orphans' Court, United Way of Erie County, Erie County Bar Association, Erie County Medical Society and the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership.

Marcus S. Atkinson, Chair, DEI Committee

Marcus S. Atkinson, in 2019, Marcus S. Atkinson, Principal at M. Atkinson & Associates Consulting, and Founder/CEO of The Publix Voice Media LLC, joined The Erie Community Foundation Board of Trustees.

A native of Erie and a graduate of Strong Vincent, Mr. Atkinson spent over a decade in Atlanta, GA, where he earned a degree in Business from Clayton State University. There he immersed himself in political and community organization, learning the necessity of bridging disparaging gaps that exist in communities between local government, school districts and businesses. As a result, he brings his experience and expertise to his current roles in supporting businesses and organizations within and outside the community. Most recently he served as executive director of ServErie.

In service to Erie, Mr. Atkinson also serves board chair for MLK Jr. Memorial Center, a member of The UPMC Hamot Board of Corporators, and board member for Crime Victim Center (CVC) and Erie Center For Arts and Technology (ECAT).

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 $220 million. This market value puts The Erie Community Foundation within the top 10% of community foundations in the nation. Named endowment funds have grown from 53 to 760. Annual grantmaking has dramatically increased with over $13 million distributed in 2016.

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.

Donald L. Baxter, Jr., M.D., Board Chair

Dr. Don Baxter, Jr., M.D. joined The Erie Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees in 2015.

He earned B.A. in English Literature from Pennsylvania State University and his medical degree from Hahnemann Medical School in Philadelphia. Dr. Baxter completed his internship and residency at Bethesda Naval Hospital. He served in the United States Navy as Lieutenant Commander, Medical Corps, from 1979 to 1992, when he was honorably discharged. In 2002, Dr. Baxter graduated from Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania School for Ministry.

He is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, performs as an actor and vocalist for The Erie Playhouse and serves on the Board of Directors of both the Erie Playhouse and Mercyhurst Preparatory School.

William M. Hilbert, Jr., Chair, Helping Today Committee

William M. Hilbert Jr.,  President /CEO of Reddog Industries, Inc., a local manufacturer specializing in precision machining, design and manufacture of high pressure plastic injection molds & aluminum and zinc die cast dies, joined The Erie Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees in 2017.

Mr. Hilbert started his career in manufacturing in 1981, after graduating from the University of Dayton.  In service to his community, he currently serves on several Board of Directors, including the Manufacturer & Business Association, Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania, Camp Notre Dame, Inc., University of Dayton Advisory Council for the School of Arts and Sciences, Sisters of St. Joseph Missions & Ministries Foundation and the Erie Regional Manufacturer’s Partnership.

Timothy M. Hunter, Board Chair

Timothy M. Hunter, President and CEO of McInnes Rolled Rings joined The Erie Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees in 2012, and he became Board Chair in 2017. 

McInnes Rolled Rings manufactures forged steel seamless rolled rings for various industrial applications. Mr. Hunter has spent the majority of his business career in manufacturing and currently serves on the boards of the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership and the Manufacturer & Business Association. In addition, he recently completed a term on the board of the North American Forging Industry Association, where he served as President.

Mr. Hunter is a graduate of Cathedral Prep and Villanova University. He earned his CPA designation while working for the accounting firm of Ernst & Young.

Charles G. Knight, III, CPA, Chair, Audit, Finance & Technology Committee

Charles G. Knight III, CPA, CVA, founding partner and Managing Principal of Schaffner, Knight, Minnaugh & Company, P.C., joined The Erie Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees in 2018.

Since the firm's inception through 2008, Mr. Knight was the principal in charge of the Firm’s accounting and auditing services. On November 3, 2008, the Firm named him managing principal, succeeding Jim Schaffner.

A graduate of McDowell High School, Mr. Knight earned his B.S. degree in Accounting from Gannon University. He became a Certified Public Accountant in 1984 and a Certified Valuation Analyst in 1999.

In addition to working several years in private industry as a controller, Mr. Knight has more than 25 years of experience in public practice.

Professionally, Mr. Knight is a member of the American and Pennsylvania Institutes of Certified Public Accountants and the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts.

Mr. Knight is a past Director of the Board of the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership and a past trustee of Mercyhurst University, where he served as the chair of the Committee on Budget and Finance. He was also a member of the University’s Executive Committee and its Committee on Trusteeship.

In service to our community, Mr. Knight was a founding board member of the new chapter of Smiles for a Lifetime, and is past treasurer and member of the United Way of Erie County Board of Directors. He is currently a member of the Board of Trustees for Marquette Savings Bank, and also served on the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee for the Kahkwa Club.

Sarah Hagen McWilliams

Sarah Hagen McWilliams, community volunteer and philanthropist, joined The Erie Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees in 2018.  

Ms. McWilliams graduated with a B.A. in Art History from Wittenberg University in 1988.  She went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and worked for several years in a clinical capacity with adult survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Ohio. 

Over the years, Ms. McWilliams has served on many boards including, Preservation Bath, Alleghany Mountain String Project, Bath County Arts Association, Community Foundation for Rockbridge, Bath & Alleghany, Alleghany Highlands Free Clinic, Safehome Womens’ Shelter, Bath County Historical Society, and T.O.T.S. Preschool.

Currently Ms. McWilliams serves on the boards of Wittenberg University, Bath Community Hospital, Garth Newel Music Center, Erie CORE Advisory Board and Bath County Behavioral Health Coalition. 

Deborah W. Murphy, CFP®, Board Vice Chair

Deborah W. Murphy, CFP®, Senior Vice President-Wealth Management with UBS Financial Services, Inc., and the senior partner of The Murphy Advisory Group, joined The Erie Community Foundation in 2016.

Ms. Murphy began her career in 1970 as an Assistant Trust Officer with Security Peoples Bank. In 1976, she joined PaineWebber, now UBS Financial Services, as a Financial Advisor. She was Branch Manager of the Erie office from 1987 – 1991, and she established The Murphy Advisory Group within UBS in 1999. Currently, she serves on the Board of Governors of the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra and is on the Development Committee for Erie Arts & Culture. She also serves as an Honorary Life Corporator with Hamot Health Foundation and is a member of Estate Planning Council of Erie.

Ms. Murphy is the recipient of many distinguished awards including Erie Jaycee's Outstanding Young Woman of the Year, Arts Service Award from Erie Area Fund for the Arts and the Applause Award from Erie Arts & Culture.

Dionne Wallace Oakley, Chair, Search Committee

Dionne Wallace Oakley, Executive Vice President, Human Resources and Strategy at ERIE Insurance, joined The Erie Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees in 2017.

Ms. Wallace Oakley began her professional career with State Farm Insurance as a summer intern auto underwriting. After graduating from Delaware State University earning a dual bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Business Administration, she returned to State Farm and progressed through various positions and disciplines in multiple geographic locations.

Ms. Wallace Oakley earned a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Development from Towson State University and a Certificate in General Insurance. She is a Toastmaster, CTM, and a published author.

Ms. Wallace Oakley serves on the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board and is a Director on the Team PA Foundation. She also serves on United Way of Erie County’s Resource Development Committee.

​David M. Tullio

David M. Tullio, President and CEO of Custom Engineering Company and Lamjen, Inc., located in Erie, PA, and Venango Machine Company, Wattsburg, PA., joined The Erie Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees in 2017.

Mr. Tullio earned his B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University, and received his MBA from the Behrend College of Penn State University.  For nearly 30 years, Mr. Tullio has worked in various management positions within the manufacturing industry, and assumed his current position at Custom Engineering in 1997. 

Mr. Tullio has spent much of his career actively involved in economic and workforce development in the Erie region.  He currently serves on the boards of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership and the Northwest Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center.  He is a past chairman and board member of the Manufacturer and Business Association, a former member of Northwest PA Workforce Investment Board, and currently serves on Penn State Behrend’s Council of Fellows.  

Thomas A. Tupitza, Esq.

Thomas A. Tupitza, Esq., President of Knox McLaughlin Gornall & Sennett, P.C. joined The Erie Community Foundation Board of Trustees in 2020.

Mr. Tupitza, a graduate of Westminster College and Harvard Law School, advises clients in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors on finance, real estate, and governance matters.  A past president of the Pennsylvania Association of Bond Lawyers, he is active as bond counsel in tax-exempt financing transactions.  He is an elected member of the American Law Institute and is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and New York.

Mr. Tupitza currently chairs the board of the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership and is a director of the United Way of Erie County, the Warner Theatre Preservation Trust, and the Foundation for Erie’s Public Schools.  He has served as board chair of UPMC Hamot and Westminster College and as a board member of several charitable organizations, including UPMC, the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, and Hamot Health Foundation.

James R. Walczak, Esq.

James R. Walczak, Esq., Partner of MacDonald Illig Jones and Britton, LLP, joined The Erie Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees in 2018.

Atty. Walczak, who concentrates his practice in the areas of corporate governance, business transactions and finance, and creditors' rights, earned a B.S.F.S. from Georgetown University and a Master of Laws (Taxation) from Georgetown University Law Center. He also obtained a Master of Arts from University of Denver and his Juris Doctorate from University of Denver College of Law.

Atty. Walczak acts in the capacity of general counsel for a number of business, non-profit and governmental organizations, providing legal advice on corporate, transactional and tax matters. Atty. Walczak is listed in the Bond Buyer Municipal Market Place Guide (commonly known as the municipal bond attorney's Red Book), and regularly provides tax advice and board counsel tax opinions with respect to tax-exempt financing transactions.

Atty. Walczak has been involved in a number of community initiatives, both in a legal and non-legal capacity. He was instrumental in the development of Jerry Uht Baseball Park in downtown Erie and on the Erie Bayfront, the U.S. Brig Niagara Maritime Museum, the Bayfront Convention Center, the Erie Bicentennial Tower and the Blasco Public Library. He is a former chairman and member of the Board of Directors of the Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority and served as Chairman of the Governor's Commission on the U.S. Brig Niagara. He has also served a wide variety of other community organizations in a number of capacities.