The Erie Community Foundation Welcomes Three New Board Trustees


ERIE The Erie Community Foundation has announced the addition of three new trustees to the board: Charles G. Knight, III, CPA, founding partner and managing principal of Schaffner, Knight, Minnaugh & Company, P.C., Sarah Hagen McWilliams, community volunteer and philanthropist, and James R. Walczak, Esq., partner of MacDonald Illig Jones and Britton, LLP.

Knight was the principal in charge of Schaffner, Knight, Minnaugh & Company, P.C. accounting and auditing services since the firm’s inception through 2008. On November 3, 2008, the firm named him managing principal, succeeding Jim Schaffner. He 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. Knight has more than 25 years of experience in public practice. Professionally, he is a member of the American and Pennsylvania Institutes of Certified Public Accountants and the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts. He 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.

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, McWilliams has served on many boards; she currently serves on the boards of Wittenberg University, Bath Community Hospital, Garth Newel Music Center, Erie CORE Advisory Board and Bath County Behavioral Health Coalition.

Walczak 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. Walczak acts in the capacity of general counsel for a number of business, nonprofit and governmental organizations, providing legal advice on corporate, transactional and tax matters. 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.

ECF’s new trustees join Clemont R. “Cle” Austin, Rev. Dr. Donald L. Baxter, Jr., Maryann C. Yochim Flaherty, William M. Hilbert, Jr., Timothy M. Hunter, Lynn M. McBrier, Esq., Deborah W. Murphy, CFP®, Dionne Wallace Oakley and David M. Tullio as members of the board.

The mission of The Erie Community Foundation is to improve the quality of life for all in the Erie region by evaluating and addressing community issues, building permanent charitable endowments and promoting philanthropic and community leadership.

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