CRCF pics

The Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation recently elected five board members, four of whom formerly served on the board and bring back a high level of expertise to the organization.

Dr. Naheed Hilal, Audra Stevens, Ward “Skip” Wilday, Dennis Pezzimenti and Andrew Caya were all elected to the Foundation’s 2018 board of directors.

Dr. Hilal, Stevens and Wilday all served the maximum three consecutive three-year terms allowed under foundation bylaws. They were eligible to be elected again after one year off the board.

Pezzimenti served as a designated board member representing the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce before being elected to the CRCF board this year.

“I look forward to working with our board members, both returning and new, to continue the mission of ‘growing good’” said Wendy Brand, CRCF board president. “The CRCF Board of Directors members truly provide an important element in the ongoing revitalization and improvement of Cattaraugus County and the surrounding area.”

 A founding member of the Foundation’s board of directors, Wilday will also act as vice president and serve on the executive and marketing and donor development committees. In 2017, Wilday and his wife, Greta, received the Friends of the Foundation award, the foundation’s highest honor, for their service and dedication. The Wildays established the Kaleigh Wilday Endowment Fund in memory of their dear daughter in 2002.

Wilday is the executive director of Morgan Stanley.

Dr. Hilal had first joined the board of directors in 2003. She has served on both the investment and scholarship committees. This time she will serve on the investment and allocations committees.

Dr. Hilal and her husband, Dr. Ahmad Hilal, together established the Hilal Family Fund, which makes annual grants to area charities and makes possible a scholarship for Allegany-Limestone students pursuing a career in a health care- or education-related field.

Dr. Hilal is a retired obstetrician and gynecologist.

Stevens served her first term on the board of directors starting in 2008. During her time on the board, and after, she acted as a member of the allocations, finance and marketing and donor development committees, the latter of which she chaired. On her return to the board she joins the marketing committee.

Stevens is the sales and marketing manager of the Olean Area Federal Credit Union.

Pezzimenti joined the board in 2014 in the designated member position. He served as a member of the investment committee and will continue on that committee. Pezzimenti was also instrumental in establishing the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Board of Realtors Scholarship at CRCF.

Pezzimenti is a Howard Hanna Realty broker. He was named the 2017 “Realtor of the Year” by the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Board of Realtors.

Caya will serve his first term as a designated board member from the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce, where he currently is GOACC board treasurer. He joins the scholarship committee.

Caya is a partner of Caya’s Canopies.

“I strongly believe that our Foundation has one of the most dedicated and motivated board of directors among the many nonprofit organizations in the region,” said CRCF Executive Director Karen Niemic Buchheit.

“We are so lucky to be able to welcome these individuals back to the board as well as bring on a brand new member,” Buchheit expressed. “Each of our veteran directors has played a role in building the CRCF board into the trusted and dedicated group it is today.”

Established in 1994, the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation 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, or visit online at CRCF is also on Facebook ( and Twitter (@CattFoundation).