Penn Soil RC&D Seeks Public Input on Future of Council Program
Penn Soil Resource Conservation and Development Council is a 501-c-3 not-for-profit corporation serving the residents of northwestern PA since 1964. Its mission is to provide the local leadership necessary to develop and implement a plan that will improve the economy, environmental and social well-being of the people of northwestern Pennsylvania. The RC&D Council provides technical and/or financial assistance to community groups who would like to do community improvement projects, but who may need assistance to secure necessary resources, services, and manpower to plan and complete a project. The primary focus of the Council is in improving quality of life in these areas: Water Management, Agricultural and Forest Land Management, and Community Development. Penn Soil RC& D Council was originally created in 1964 and supported by federal funding until the year 2011 as a Public-Private Partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and local sponsoring county governments. Since 2011, Penn Soil RC&D Council has continued to operate as a not-for profit public charity serving residents of Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango, and Warren Counties.
“Over the past several months, Penn Soil RC&D Council has been meeting with the elected leaders of the eight counties we serve to seek input on whether Penn Soil RC&D Council should continue to exist beyond 2022 when our current Executive Director Wes Ramsey plans to retire,” said Jack M. Preston, Council Chairman. “To date, Wes and other Council members have met directly with the leadership groups of six of the eight counties we serve providing lists of projects assisted by Penn Soil RC&D Council that directly benefited each county, and summarizing the actual results of Penn Soil RC&D securing over 4 million dollars in funding for projects in our region since we lost direct federal funding support in 2011 and became a true stand-alone 501-c-3 charitable organization. Compared to our most recent annual administrative budget of $40,000, we have been able to leverage other funding to support community benefit projects at an average of 9.2: 1 ratio,” said Preston.
“The year 2023 will be a period of change and transition for Penn Soil RC&D as our current Executive Director Wes Ramsey has indicated a desire to step down by early next year and hire a new Executive Director. In 2023, Mr. Ramsey would serve briefly as part-time Deputy Director to help with the transition. With that in mind, the Council developed a succession plan and funding proposal that has been submitted to the eight county commissioner leadership groups for review. If approved by the county sponsors, this commitment will allow us to continue the good work in improving the quality of life in northwestern PA and assist more community improvement projects throughout our region,” stated Jack Preston.
“During this upcoming transition period, The Council seeks public input from the respective leadership groups in each of the eight counties we serve, but also from the residents of the eight counties, and we would also hope to recruit some new Council members or alternate voting members to fill some vacancies to make sure each county is actively represented” stated Wes Ramsey, Executive Director of Penn Soil RC&D Council.“The bylaws of Penn Soil RC&D Council allow up to four voting members representing each county sponsor.The Council will be comprised of four members from each specific county in the Project Area; one County Commissioner, one Conservation District Director and two members-at-large.The Board of County Commissioners and the Conservation District Directors from each specific county will jointly appoint the members-at-large to the Executive Council.Members-at-large may be drawn from business, industry, non‑profit, government or private individuals. Each of the above groups from each specific county may also designate another person to serve as an alternate on the RC&D Council.Alternates are eligible to hold office for the Council.If you are interested in learning more about the RC&D Council projects or volunteering to serve on the Council, you can reach me through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (814) 726-1441,” said Ramsey. For more information about Penn Soil RC&D Council, visit the website www.pennsoil.org