Laufer set to retire from Wildcat Foundation

Wrapping up 30-plus years of nonprofit service in Cumberland County, Holly Laufer recently announced her retirement as executive director of the Wildcat Foundation.

Laufer became the foundation’s third executive director in 2016, leading the educational foundation in its mission of strengthening the educational, cultural, wellness and athletic programs of the Mechanicsburg Area School District.

One of the highlights of her tenure included guiding a foundation-led capital campaign project to build the Rich Lichtel Fieldhouse at Memorial Park Stadium.

“While the most visible work of the foundation might be the upgrades of the facilities at John H. Frederick Field, including the Rich Lichtel Fieldhouse, I think equally if not more significant are the positive impacts that the foundation creates for every teacher and student within the Mechanicsburg Area School District,” Laufer said. “Every day, programs and projects funded through Wildcat Foundation grants provide terrific opportunities for all MASD students, be it in the classroom, on the playing field or in the band room.”

Laufer will finish up her work with the foundation in June after helping transition in new Executive Director Jeff Pratt.

Nonprofit experience

She held previous roles at nonprofits in the county, including The Arc of Cumberland & Perry Counties, United Way of the Capital Region, United Way of Carlisle and Cumberland County, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region.

The 1981 Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School grad said she has no immediate direct plans for retirement.

“Early retirement was not in my plan, but plans change,” Laufer said. “I’ve come to appreciate how short life is and recognize just how very precious. I’ll begin to write my next chapter in a warm climate with no definitive plans, filling the pages as I go.”

Established in 1998, the foundation has awarded grants to the MASD education community since 2001. In total, the foundation has provided nearly $2,000,000 in funds for programs and projects.

The Wildcat Foundation recently wrapped up its grant distribution cycle for the year, releasing close to $90,000 in funds to school district programs.

In addition, the foundation partners with The Mechanicsburg Club, Charles H. Jr. and Jane Eagle Diller, and Stock & Leader to provide various annual scholarships to students pursuing post-secondary education.

“Our communities are rich in services that meet the needs of all citizens. This doesn’t happen everywhere and would not happen if our communities did not care as much as they do.”

– Holly Laufer, MASH 1981

Community impact

“Holly’s impact will be forever felt in this community through her guidance of and passion for the Wildcat Foundation,” said Nathan McWilliams, president of the foundation’s board of directors. “In her seven years as executive director, Holly has taken the foundation to another level. Because of Holly’s experience, constant advocacy and tireless efforts, the Wildcat Foundation has grown to become one of the premier nonprofit school district foundations in central Pennsylvania, if not the state.”

“Our shared communities are very generous, compassionate and giving,” Laufer said about her nonprofit career in the region. “Overwhelmingly, when asked, residents respond with a resounding yes to give: to give of their time, their talent and their treasure.

“Our communities are rich in services that meet the needs of all citizens. This doesn’t happen everywhere and would not happen if our communities did not care as much as they do.”

To learn more about the Wildcat Foundation and how you can become involved as a volunteer, participate in a special event or make a contribution, contact the foundation office at 717-691-4505,send an email to, or visit us online at