PennFuture Blog

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Meet PennFuture's Director of Development: M. Travis DiNicola

When you think back on your favorite memories, how many of them took place outdoors? 
With most of my memories, I don’t recall just the places and people that made a moment special, but the atmosphere. I remember the season—the rain, the snow, the warmth or coolness of the air. And I remember the light. 
About two years ago when my wife and I decided to move back to Pennsylvania to be closer to our families, she asked me what part of coming home was I most excited about. I told her that all of my best memories of summer took place in Pennsylvania. There is something about the atmosphere here that is very special.
Growing up in Erie, I was fortunate to spend much of my youth exploring Presque Isle: going on hikes with my grandfather, biking the trails, windsurfing on the lake, fishing on the bay, canoeing the inlets, and of course, hanging out with friends on the beaches. Presque Isle was my playground. It was there that I discovered my passion for flying stunt kites—a passion I continue to enjoy today when I fly my kites off the edge of City Island in the middle of the mighty Susquehanna.
After studying theatre and dance as an undergrad and then art and museum education as a graduate student at Penn State, my career took me to Indianapolis. For 20 years, I worked in many capacities there as a champion of mission-based organizations, including arts, education, and community-service groups. I emceed a number of events for environmental organizations, and hosted a monthly “climate-change quiz-show” for a few years at a local theatre. 
I am most proud of the 10 years I spent as the Executive Director of Indy Reads, an adult literacy program. During my tenure, I created Indy Reads Books, a nonprofit bookstore and community arts center in downtown Indianapolis. It was there that I edited and published Indy Writes Books: A Book Lover’s Anthology, which features Indiana authors writing about their love of books, bookstores, and reading. While in Indianapolis, I was also fortunate to be the co-host and producer of a weekly arts talk show on the local public radio station.
I greatly enjoyed my time in the Midwest, but it wasn’t home. Pennsylvania and its air, mountains, and water—this is home. This is where my wife and I got married, in the garden of her family’s farm that sits on the Conewago. Since coming back to PA, my wife and I have already been creating wonderful new outdoor memories: fly-fishing on Big Spring, kayaking on the Susquehanna, hiking Ricketts Glen, biking on the Capital Area Greenbelt, and kite flying on City Island. 
Our natural resources in Pennsylvania are incredible, they should be treasured, and they deserve to be protected. This is why I am so proud to be the new Director of Development for PennFuture. There are few things more important to me than PennFuture’s work in protecting our air, water and land. This is a mission that I proudly champion.
As the Director of Development, it is my job to make certain that PennFuture has the funds it needs to be able to fulfill that mission, and to ensure our future sustainability. In this role, I have two very important responsibilities:
  • To represent PennFuture as best as I can to you, our supporters.
  • To represent you as best as I can to PennFuture.
My approach to fundraising? It is a two-way street. I will communicate accurate and helpful information to you about the great organization that you have chosen to support. 
What can you do? Tell me why PennFuture, and the work we do, is worthy of your support. 
The most important thing a Development Director can bring to an organization isn’t a big donation, it is your trust.  As your representative, it is my pledge to you that I will be transparent and honest in everything I do to further the mission of PennFuture.
So, let’s get to know each other. I would love to hear from you. Please contact me at or at 717-214-7924 with any questions, concerns, or thoughts you have regarding your support of PennFuture. 
Together, we can protect our environment and build a clean energy future – for today and future generations.

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