When Jaclyn Mathias was told she was going to be the new executive director of the Community Foundation of Carroll County, words couldn’t express her joy and excitement.
But it came with a twist — the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mathias was honored to start in the new position, after working with the foundation for about 13 years, following the retirement of Audrey Cimino, who had held the position since the foundation started 25 years ago.
“It’s just her persistence, her tenacity; she really has lived the foundation for 25 years," said Mathias. She has been the face and the name of the foundation and she’s very proud of that and she should be. I am very proud and very honored and humbled and all those words to be a director after Audrey, to be her successor.”
There was supposed to be a celebration of Cimino’s dedication to the position but it had to be moved to later date because of COVID-19.
The Community Foundation of Carroll County uses philanthropy to maintain and enhance the quality of life in the community. The foundation receives, invest and distributes funds for charitable, cultural and educational purposes, having helped make numerous scholarships and funds a reality over the years.
Cimino was equally honored to pass the position on to Mathias after working with her for so long.
“Jacie has been with me for several years, she’s very capable,” said Cimino. “She has a master’s degree in HR and almost a full master’s degree in nonprofit management. She’s also a part of a very old Carroll County family, so she’s very well rounded in the community, she knows a lot of people, she’s very ambitious and I like to say she has fire in her belly.
"She loves the foundation and she’s been an excellent number two for me and I know she’s got the best interest for the community foundation at heart.”
According to Cimino, her decision to retire was brought on by turning 77 and feeling like it was time, but she said she hasn’t been dealing well with her retirement so far because she’s been stuck in the house and not able to help with different efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s very difficult, of course, and this pandemic has made it very clear that I have to stay home, I have asthma and I’m old, so I’m one of the vulnerables you hear about,” said Cimino. “I’m feeling very disconnected at this point because there’s so many people out there doing so many good things and my impulse is to be one of them and I can’t. It’s not a normal kind of transition.”
According to Cimino, she has been at home mostly reading and cleaning during the pandemic along with the occasional grocery trip. For her retirement, Cimino has considered writing or maybe teaching a couple classes at the local colleges but for the time being she is just in the house at home “looking out the window watching the days go by.”
During her tenure at the Carroll Community Foundation, one of Cimino’s favorite part of her position was teaching others. She also enjoyed getting things done, like feeding animals and her help with the Ellsworth Cemetery.
“You’ve got to be open, that’s the key when somebody comes in with an idea, you got to be open to the idea and then help develop it," said Cimino.
Mathias started in her new position on April 1.
“I always laugh because one, it was April Fool’s day but two, it was going into my 13th year with the foundation," she said. "So, the timing itself was was funny from the beginning and kind of ironic and then add all this on top of it as far as what’s going on in the world and trying to adapt to everything — it was a very not at all how I had seen it in my mind transition.”
Even though COVID-19 changed the way the transition was conducted, Mathias has stayed positive.
“It’s been different, but I can’t say it’s been negative. It’s all been positive, everyone has come together," said Mathias. “It’s unfortunate that it didn’t happen the way that we had planned it to happen as far as like this party [for Cimino], but again, everybody’s dealing with that. I think that if anything it has further proven how prepared and how well we had planned for this transition.”