READING, PA (September 3, 2021) – The close of business today will mark the end of an era for Berks County Community Foundation. After almost 25 years as the backbone of this organization, Leta Doganes is retiring.
Everyone wants to know how the Community Foundation decides where to make grants and how we select scholarship recipients. Those answers vary depending on the fund we’re working with and any guidance that was given to us by the donor who created the fund. But hardly anybody asks: “How does a grant get paid once the decision is made?” The answer is: Leta is how the grant gets paid.
As our Scholarship and Grant Administrator, Leta quietly and efficiently oversaw the process of getting hundreds of grants and scholarships adequately documented and paid each year. It involved coordinating dozens of volunteer committees, notifying grant recipients, getting the right paperwork completed to comply with regulations, and making sure that the checks went to the right place at the right time.
It was a monumental effort with a million moving parts, and Leta did it without ever making a mistake. She made it look easy, even if we knew it wasn’t easy at all. Sometimes, committees didn’t turn their forms in on time, checks got lost in the mail, organizations forgot to send in their grant agreements… Leta just tracked them all down and kept the process moving.
Twenty-five years is a long time. The Community Foundation is only 27 years old, so it’s not hyperbole to say that we built this institution based on Leta’s ability to support our administrative processes.
Personally, we all love having her as a colleague. Leta is unfailingly cheerful and good-natured. She endures endless ribbing about her need to wear a sweater at any temperature below about 90 degrees. She is a champion miniature golfer (she won the inaugural staff miniature golf open – see her with her trophy below in the photo gallery) and the proudest (okay, only) grandmother in the office.
Leta’s retirement leaves a hole that we will not easily be able to fill, but she also leaves an incredible legacy. She leaves behind a set of expectations about administrative excellence that are a permanent part of our culture.
As she and her husband, Bill, set off to write a new chapter, we wish them all the best. We will miss her here.
And we will continue to marvel that there likely has not been or will there ever be another person in Berks County with as much inconspicuous influence on improving the quality of life for our community.
Kevin K. Murphy, President
Berks County Community Foundation
Until a new scholarship administrator joins the Community Foundation, your contact for questions about scholarship and grant applications and, as always, for general inquiries about funding opportunities, community initiatives, and partnerships is Heidi Williamson, our Senior Vice President for Programs and Initiatives. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-685-2223. Leta’s email is also being forwarded to Heidi.
Donors and holders of Donor Advised Funds should contact Franki Aitken, CPA, our COO, or Sally Cox, our Finance and Operations Administrator, at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, respectively.