Welcome to the new Executive Director of the Stoneybrook Foundation

The Stoneybrook Foundation proudly announces the hiring of Rachel Cunningham as it’s Executive Director, to guide and lead the organization into its next period of growth and expansion.  Cunningham will operate from the organization’s Stoneybrook Foundation Therapeutic Riding Center in Acme, PA, that provides its community of riders, students and patients a wide range of equine-facilitated therapies and services.

Founded in 2008 by John and Deborah McCain, the Foundation has grown considerably from humble beginnings, when it started with only 3 horses, a volunteer staff, and 20 students.  Today, the steadily expanding center employs 10 staff members, has 15 horses, 6 owned and another 9 free leases, and provides nearly 2,000 therapeutic riding lessons, across a wide variety of rider challenges and conditions, each year, with a waiting list of nearly 100 more riders who await program availability.

Stoneybrook Foundation’s mission is to improve the lives of children and adults who face mental, intellectual, or physical conditions and/or special challenges in a therapeutic partnership with horses through therapy, education, sport and recreation/leisure.  The organization’s riders range from ages 4-92 and include a diverse group of people that includes all sexes, orientations, ethnicities, backgrounds, abilities, and interests.  Each rider receives a custom program, designed to meet his/her highly individualized needs, that include a selection of focused physical, cognitive, social or emotional goals.

“The inclusion of Rachel Cunningham to our leadership team is a very exciting next step for the Board, as we have such great confidence in her talents to drive the center’s operations and as a partner to us,” said Suzanne Ward, chair of Stoneybrook’s Board of Directors. “She has amazing passion, dedication, a high level of energy, and an ideal background to understand our families, our staff, and our strategy.  She’ll achieve her goals, help us target new ones, and be a strong source of support, to ensure that the rest of us do, as well.”

Cunningham has spent the last 3.5 years working in mental health and before that in corporate communications at UPMC. She’s passionate about work in suicide prevention after personal loss, volunteers on Ray of Hope Task Force. Cunningham is a QPR Certified Trainer (Question, Persuade, Refer) with Suicide Gatekeeper Training and completed the Westmoreland County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Course in 2021. Her background is very uniquely matched for the qualifications the organization sought in the executive director role.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in Public Relations/Advertising at Penn State University and her master’s degree in Journalism at West Virginia University. She is currently pursuing her second master’s degree in Social Work with a certificate in Mental Health from the University of Pittsburgh.

Cunningham resides in Unity Township, is a mother of 2 sons, enjoys outdoor activities and writes about history on her blog, Third Stop on the Right.

Leading the Center administration is only a part of Cunningham’s role; a larger part of her focus will be on raising awareness of the organization, raising funds to help move those on the waiting list to the active student roster, and raising capital investments for the physical facility.  Additionally, as the most active ‘face’ of the organization, Cunningham will spend a great deal of time in the community, as both educator and advocate for their student base, to create awareness of the Stoneybrook organization and ensure that their services are known, accessible, and available to those in need of them. Not an easy job when non-profit fundraising is highly competitive and so many organizations are seeking the dollars they need to survive.

Cunningham will work to expand the volunteer base, as many of the lessons require 1-3 volunteers to assist and ensure the safety of the rider during the lesson, depending upon the challenges the specific rider faces. The organization welcomes volunteers and/or interns who want to work with students, with horses, with the facility, or with the administrative team.  Training is provided and learning is encouraged, as volunteers have the opportunity to choose to advance from one area to the next and possibly even consider becoming a formal Path, International certified instructor, as part of staff. Path, International, is the accrediting body that ensures that both their facility and every student receive the highest possible quality experience available. Three of Stoneybrook’s staff instructors are certified through PATH International.

Follow the Stoneybrook Foundation on social media for more information about their organization, upcoming events and the services they provide to those who need therapeutic riding.

Suzanne Ward, President of the Stoneybrook Foundation

Suzanne Ward

Suzanne is the Owner Elle Investment Group and a former Co-Owner and Investment Advisor of Kattan Ferretti Financial.. Prior to joining KFF, Suzanne had 12 years in the Financial Services Industry at PNC. She’s also owner of Financially Leading Women and co-owner of City Cribs LLC and Value Investment Partners LLC. Suzanne’s current business focus is to provide more education on investing to her clients by hosting seminars, maintaining a blog and directly assisting with the financial planning process. An enthusiastic and involved member of the community, Suzanne strives to support several local organizations and non-profits. In addition to serving as a member or being on their boards, Suzanne plans and hosts fundraising events throughout the year, bringing awareness and support to these organizations. Suzanne and her husband Michael grew up and currently reside in Hempfield Township. They love getting to know everyone in and around their community, and help make an impact any way they can.

Jennifer Learn

Jenn graduated from the University of Pittsburgh  in 1994 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Studies. She is the owner of Paralegal Services Unlimited, Inc. since 1996. Her business focus encompasses many aspects of the legal profession, including family law, estate planning, corporate law, civil actions, commercial and residential real estate transactions and oil & gas rights. Jenn is also very involved in the community as a member, officer and/or volunteer for several local political campaigns, professional organizations and charities. She is married to Scott E. Learn, DMD and has a teenage son, Brandon, with whom she volunteers in the barn at Stoneybrook.

Lin Podolinsky

Lin was the founding Executive Director of the Stoneybrook Foundation, and now serves as Secretary on its Board of Directors. Employed by the Christian Family & Children’s Center as its Director of Operations, Lin passionately continues her career helping the Laurel Highland’s community. She is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program in Organizational Leadership at Regent University. Lin is a PATH, Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor and a CECTH Qualified instructor. She achieved a M.S. in Organizational Leadership through Geneva College, and has a B.S. in Equine Facilitated Therapeutics from Wilson College. While completing a B.A. in German from Dickinson College, she studied abroad for a year and a half at Bremen Universität. Lin spends many evenings and weekends coaching her children’s basketball and soccer teams, and is active in her church community.

Amy Bishop

Amy is a 2008 graduate of Robert Morris University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting.  She completed her Master’s Degree in Taxation at Robert Morris University in 2017.  She is a Certified Public Accountant with over ten years of experience in the field.  Amy is the Tax and Accounting Manager at Delisi, Keenan & Associates, P.C. in Greensburg.  She also is a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor.Her areas of concentration include taxation of businesses and individuals, financial statement preparation and analysis, business consulting, and software training. Amy has provided years of training and consulting to QuickBooks users at all skills levels in many different industries. In addition to currently serving as the Secretary/Treasurer of the local chapter of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants, she was the first chair of the chapter’s Women in Accounting Committee.  Amy received the Young Leaders Award from the PICPA in 2016 and also serves on the Emerging CPAs Committee. Outside of her professional responsibilities, Amy can be found spending time with her two daughters, Rose and Aubrey.

Ashley Frederick

Ashley is the third generation of Unity Printing, a full service commercial printing company located in Latrobe, PA that has been in business since 1979. Although Ashley only graduated from Stetson University in 2016, she has been a part of the Unity Printing team since 2013. Ashley was an integral part of adding four new manufacturing services to Unity Printing in 2016, through five acquisitions, all occurring within five months. While majoring in Family Business at Stetson University with a double minor in English and Management, Ashley was chosen to work with family business professors from around the globe on a Family Business Research Project. After her time at Stetson, Ashley joined Unity Printing full-time. Currently, Ashley serves as the sales manager and focuses on fostering relationships through the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), promoting Unity Printing’s women-owned business certification. Ashley currently resides in Latrobe. She enjoys serving on several non-profit boards across Westmoreland and Allegheny counties.

Josh Manges

Josh was born and raised in Windber, PA and currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA. He has more than 18 years of business development and management experience for organizations ranging from start-ups to large international corporations. He currently works for Randstad Technologies as the Managing Director for Western PA. Josh holds a Bachelors of Engineering in Engineering Management from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ. He has also spent nearly a decade as a committee member of the Western PA Wounded Heroes fund, contributing his efforts to fundraising and charitable work in support of wounded veterans.

Matt Schmizzi

A 2002 graduate from Greater Latrobe High School, Matt graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg in 2006, where he majored in Political Science. He then went on to Duquesne University School of Law where he earned his J.D., graduating magna cum laude in 2009.   While at Duquesne, Matt was a member of the Duquesne Law Review staff from 2007 to 2009 and received the C.A.L.I. award for Sales and Leased Goods.

Upon graduation from Duquesne, Matt returned to Greensburg and joined his father Rich in the practice of law.  He is currently a partner in the firm. Matt also served as an assistant public defender in Westmoreland County from August, 2010, to December, 2013.  He is admitted to practice before the courts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Matt is a member of the Westmoreland County Bar Association, Pennsylvania Bar Association, American Bar Association and also serves as a member of the board of directors for the Union Cemetery of Greensburg.

When not practicing law, Matt enjoys spending time in the outdoors. He resides in Hempfield Township with his wife, Lindsey.