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 $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.

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Breanna Watts, Community Impact Associate and Coordinator, Erie Women’s Fund

Breanna Watts joined The Erie Community Foundation as an Administrative Assistant in 2017. In 2018 she was promoted to Community Impact Associate and Coordinator of the Erie Women’s Fund. She  is an administrative assistant to the President, helping with scheduling and organizational matters. She is also primary staff support and liaison to the Erie Women’s Fund. In addition, she works with the Community Impact team on special projects and research.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Breanna was a caseworker for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Family Services of NW PA. She has also held the positions of Security Officer for the Children Cope with Divorce program and Child Welfare and Adoption Caseworker, both at Family Services of NW PA. Watts earned a B.S. Degree in Human Development and Family Studies with a Minor in Political Science and Women’s Studies from The Pennsylvania State University.  With her previous team, she obtained the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Gold Standard Award from 2014 - 2016.

Breanna is passionate about issues that affect women and children. She can often be found volunteering for various nonprofits in the area.

Contact for:

  • Scheduling appointments for Foundation President
  • Questions and Information regarding the Erie Women's Fund
  • Email Breanna Watts

Erin D. Fessler, Vice President of Marketing & Community/Government 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 Marketing and Communications, and in 2016 she was named Vice President of Marketing and Community/ Government Relations.

She manages the Foundation’s advertising, media relations, newsletters, electronic communications, website, Facebook and twitter media. She is also responsible for two major Foundation events: the Annual Meeting and Erie Gives, which continues to grow each year by $500,000 or more.

Erin earned her B.S. degree in Communications with a minor in Psychology from John Carroll University. After graduation, she worked as the promotions assistant at WSEE 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 and marketing committee member for Camp Notre Dame. She is a past board member and secretary of the Erie Advertising Club. 

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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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Court Gould, Vice President of Community Impact

Court Gould joined the Foundation in 2018 as Vice President of Community Impact. For the last twenty years, Gould served as founding Executive Director of Sustainable Pittsburgh. Prior to working at Sustainable Pittsburgh, he was Executive Director for Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania, Department Program Manager for Air & Waste Management Association, Senior Management Analyst for the Allegheny County Department of Administration, and Assistant Director for National Coalition to Improve Management in State and Local Government at Carnegie Mellon University.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and American Studies from Tufts University, and Master of Public Administration in Intergovernmental Management from the University of Southern California. 

Gould was also the founding chair of the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership and Chair of the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management, Local Government Academy, and GTECH. He served on leadership committees of the Institute of Politics at the University of Pittsburgh, Uptown EcoInnovation District, Bus Rapid Transit Stakeholders, and the Power of 32 to advance a shared vision across 32 counties and 4 states adjacent to Allegheny County.

Court and his wife, Sherri, live downtown in the West Bayfront.

Contact for:

  • Helping today and Shaping tomorrow Community Impact Grantmaking
  • Community Initiatives and Partnerships
  • Erie Vital Signs
  • Email Court Gould

Patrick Herr, M.S.W. , 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. Pat now manages the Helping Today grant program which addresses operational needs of nonprofit organizations. Pat is responsible for the administration of Youth Philanthropy, the Urgent Request grant program, and also helps our Donor Relations team operate Donor Partners.  He earned his BA in English from Washington and Jefferson College and received a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Edinboro University in 2005. Just prior to joining the Foundation, Pat worked as the Associate Director for Community Shelter Services where he was charged with the administration and oversight of new revenue development and all program-related operations.

Contact for:

  • Helping Today Grant Program
  • Donor Partners
  • Foundation's Grantmaking Priorities
  • Youth Philanthropy
  • Urgent Grant Program
  • Email Patrick Herr, M.S.W.

Rachel Cacchione, Program Officer

Rachel Cacchione joined The Erie Community Foundation in 2014 and as Program Officer, she works with the Community Impact Team to manage our competitive grant programs and launched the Foundation’s new Youth Philanthropy Initiative. She is the administrator for the Foundation’s online grant management system, oversees the urgent grant program, and is responsible for scheduling pre-application meetings.

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 an avid sports fan who was born and raised in Erie, PA, and spends many summer evenings with her family on the beaches of Presque Isle or enjoying the many cultural festivals that highlight the history and diversity of our community.

Contact for:

  • Scheduling a Pre-Grant Application Meeting
  • Online Grant Application
  • Donors Choose
  • Urgent grant requests
  • Youth Philanthropy
  • Email Rachel Cacchione

Susannah Weis Frigon, CFP®, Vice President of Philanthropic Services

Susannah Weis Frigon joined 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. Her volunteer experience includes director and committee roles for various nonprofits, among them the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Adopt an Artist, and The Multicultural Community Resource Center. Susannah is a Certified Financial Planner®. She is a current member of The Estate Planning Council of Erie, Erie Rotary and the Carrie T. Watson Garden Club, for whom she serves as Treasurer. She is also an Executive Committee member of the national Board of The Advancement Network (“AdNet”), a resource organization for community foundation professionals. She lives in Fairview with her husband and children. 

Contact for:

  • Planned Giving and Estate plans
  • Establishing a New Fund
  • Donor Relations and Fund Information
  • Professional Advisor Program
  • Regional Affiliates
  • Erie Women's Fund
  • Email Susannah Weis Frigon, CFP®

Keely Doyle, Director of Philanthropic Services

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

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
  • Email Keely Doyle

Sandra K. Williams , Assistant, Philanthropic Services

Sandi Williams joined the Erie Community Foundation in 2018 as an Assistant to the Philanthropic Services team. In this role, she is responsible for administratively supporting the Director and Vice President of Philanthropic Services in all aspects of donor stewardship and development.

Prior to joining the Foundation Sandi spent 35 years in the wealth management industry, where her career was focused on client services and trade support. Born and raised in Erie, Sandi brings extensive community pride and knowledge to her role.

Sandi lives in Millcreek with her husband and children.

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Barbara F. Sambroak, C.P.A., Chief Financial Officer

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 and Benefits Manager

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 Erie Community Foundation in 2011, after more than ten years in the printing technology industry. An Erie native and proud graduate of Villa Maria Academy, Meghan brings deep community knowledge to her position. As Director of Grants and Scholarships, she is responsible for all aspects of grants processing and scholarship administration. Meghan assists the CFO with endowment fund accounting, and manages the Foundation’s “Donor Central" portal.

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Lisa A. Bolte, Accountant

Lisa Bolte joined The Erie Community Foundation as a Staff Accountant in July of 2017. She is responsible for maintaining and recording gifts made to The Foundation, as well as year-end tax schedules. She works with the Vice President of Finance and the Controller to prepare the annual audit, monthly financial statements and other financial reports as needed.

Lisa earned an Associate of Arts, Legal Studies degree and a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from Gannon University. Prior to joining the Foundation, she was a Paralegal with Thomas E. Larson, Esq., where she prepared individual, federal, state and local income tax returns. She also assisted in estate administration, accounting and taxation.  Subsequent to her employment with Attorney Larson, Lisa worked at BKD, LLP as a Senior Tax Associate ,with a focus on federal and state nonprofit taxation, estate and trust taxation, and individual federal, state and local taxation.

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