It’s the start of a new year and Centre Foundation is beginning 2022 with a new Board Chair. For two years (2020-2021), O.J. Johnston served as Board Chair and faced the challenges that came with the new decade. Now, O.J.’s term is complete, and stepping into the Board Chair role is Kate Bennett Truitt. Kate has served on Centre Foundation’s board for two years and began her third year in 2022 as Board Chair.   

Kate moved to State College from Austin, Texas in the early 1960s when her father, Peter Bennett, was hired by Penn State’s College of Business – long before it became Smeal College. After growing up here and graduating from State College High and Penn State, she moved back to Austin, where she lived for 40 years surrounded by extended family, wonderful friends, and delicious food. Volunteer work in Austin was mostly relegated to whichever school her children were attending or Girl Scout troop they joined but she also served as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for the Travis County foster care system. 

In 2017, Kate returned to State College with her husband and youngest daughter to be closer to family and escape the scorching summers. She was encouraged to explore volunteer opportunities by her mother, Mary Lou Bennett, and friends Mimi Barash Coppersmith and Barbara Palmer. In addition to Centre Foundation, Kate is also on the board of WPSU and her neighborhood’s HOA. 

Kate is personally driven to focus on improving people’s health and safety, but she also believes that art should not be a luxury.  

“One of the things that makes Central Pennsylvania special is that when community members need help, or where art or music can bring color and light into our lives, there are people who step up and make it so.” 

Kate brings this passion for helping others and making a difference into her new role as Board Chair. Before her term even began, she approached it with some goals in mind.  

“I believe we need to reach both younger generations and a broader range of people in our community. I want to make sure that the entire board is equipped to give a good elevator pitch about what Centre Foundation is, does, and why it matters both now and in the future. And of course, I want to be sure that Centre Foundation’s strong financial position is protected and grown.” 

Kate fully supports Centre Foundation’s work in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). As a member of the foundation’s DEI committee, she works with board and staff members to take the necessary steps towards increasing their DEI knowledge and putting that knowledge into action. Once the foundation can internally improve its own DEI practices, it will be in a position to be a role model for the local nonprofits it serves.  

Kate is grateful for the opportunity to contribute her time and talents to support those who make it their life’s work to manage and work at nonprofits that serve the community. She looks forward to this opportunity to give back and to support Centre Foundation on its next 40-year journey.  

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