Five local professionals and leaders were recently elected the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation’s board of directors in 2017.

Dr. Anthony Evans, Mary E. Freeman, Michael Higgins, Sharon Myers and Carol Stitt were each elected to three-years term beginning Jan. 1.

Evans is an accomplished pastor and mental health therapist and is in his 18th year as executive director of the Cattaraugus County Youth Bureau, administering federal, state, county and local funding to support county-wide youth development and delinquency prevention programs.

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 As executive director Evans also is in charge of administering funding to court-mandated youth detention, electronic monitoring and youth courts and the Children with Special Needs Program.

In addition to being the president of the board of the Association of New York State Youth Bureaus, Evans serves on the executive boards of the Allegheny Highlands Boy Scout Council, Olean Community Schools Advisory Board and State of New York Police Juvenile Officers Association. Evans is returning to the CRCF board after a one-year absence due to reaching CRCF’s consecutive board member term limit.

Evans will serve on the CRCF Scholarship Committee; he also is deeply involved in the Olean Rotary Club, First Presbyterian Church and Portville Boy Scout Troop 631.

A graduate of the Russell J. Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University, Mary Freeman—with her husband Mike Kelley—operates FreemanKelley, Inc., a multimillion-dollar sales organization specializing in hospitality and health care furnishings.

Freeman has served in volunteer and professional positions with the Mental Health Association of Cattaraugus County, the Cattaraugus County Council on Alcoholism (now CAReS) and St. Bonaventure University. She also has served on the board of the Southern Tier Symphony and Canticle Farm’s Heavenly Harvest.

Her community involvements now focus largely on Scouting, where she serves as a member of the Allegheny Highlands Council, BSA, Camping Committee, chair of the AHC Western Gate District Friends of Scouting, chair of the AHC Western Gate District Nominating Committee, and Unit Commissioner for Portville Troop and Pack 631.

She will serve on the CRCF Allocations and Scholarship committees.

Higgins, an account manager for Airgas and an owner of UpCycle, previously was president of Abbott Welding Supply. 

He has been actively involved with the YMCA for years, is a founding member of the Olean Meditation Center and has long been involved with Rebuilding Together. He served a four-year term on the Allegany Town Board and is on the board for the Olean Business Development Corporation. 

He will serve on the CRCF Allocations and Technology committees.

Sharon Myers is the director of admissions communications at St. Bonaventure University.  She is also the owner of SMA Consulting Services where she works with companies and nonprofit institutions in the areas of marketing, communications, branding, public relations and fundraising.

Myers has worked in communications and marketing for 25 years, including positions at Archbishop Walsh Academy and Southern Tier Catholic School, Houghton College and St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute.

Prior to moving into the Olean area, Myers worked internationally as the academic director of the European School of Economics in Milan, Italy, and as the direct marketing executive for the World Wide Fund for Nature in the United Kingdom.

Myers is currently on the board of directors for Olean Community Theatre and the Alumni Association Board of Directors at Butler University (Indiana). Previously she was a board member for St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute in Buffalo, where she also chaired the advancement committee.

She is a member of the Public Relations Society of America, Leadership Cattaraugus class of 2013 and graduate of the Lasallian Leadership Institute. She received her bachelor’s degree in arts administration/voice principal from Butler University and her MBA in international management from the University of London.

She will be on the CRCF Marketing/Donor Development Committee.

Stitt will also return to the board following a one-year absence. She served as the foundation’s first executive director from 1996 to 2006. Following her retirement from that position, she served as president of the board until reaching the maximum number of consecutive terms. She served a one-year term as an ex officio member as immediate past president in 2016.

 In the past  Stitt has chaired the executive, investment and strategic planning committees. With her husband, James E. Stitt, she received the Friends of the Foundation award in 2016, CRCF’s highest individual honor.

She will serve on the CRCF Executive, Finance and Investment committees.

CRCF board elected members are eligible to serve three consecutive three-year terms, after which time they must step off of the board for at least one year.

Tim O’Keefe and Dennis Pezzimenti will both serve another one-year term as designated directors from the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

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).