LAKE COUNTY — This week, the Lake County Community Foundation welcomes Maria Gonzalez as their new Foundation Manager to aid in their ongoing efforts to build up this community.

The LCCF works to support and fund various projects in human services, education, environment, arts and culture and other charitable needs in the county through donations stemming from an established endowment. Gonzalez was chosen to help oversee the organization and help connect it with its sister groups: the Osceola County Community Foundation and Mecosta County Community Foundation.

"I'm very excited by this appointment and I've worked with each of these foundations before," said Gonzalez. "I'm looking forward to getting to know each better and do my part."

The LCCF, OCCF and MCCF are all affiliates of the Fremont Area Community Foundation. Gonzalez's role will be coordination between the groups, ensuring cooperation between the foundations' board and the FACF and overseeing financial details.

"I help serve these foundations by making sure finds are distributed correctly and creating an efficient relationship between the Freemont Area Community Foundations and the three other foundations," she explained. "I came from a position where I was working long hours with many different people in a variety of ways. I think I'm bringing a diligence to this job that will help me assist those we're trying to help."

Gonzalez was chosen from a wide selection of candidates and was determined to be the best fit and most qualified.

"We had a competitive process, we narrowed it down to three candidates and she had the qualifications we were looking for," said Carla Roberts, president and CEO of the FACF. "We were looking for someone with a lot of required skills such as computer proficiency, citizen group experience, political experience and dealing with difficult decisions. Maria met everything we were looking for."

Gonzalez said she will be bringing all she has to the job, but doesn't expect to be trying to implement too many changes.

"All three community foundations are doing a great job right now," said Gonzalez. "I'm just here to work at helping them do their job and make the foundation better if I can."