RCFS

About Us

At RCFS, we understand the challenges that individuals and families face with complicated systems of financial and care planning. As a nonprofit corporation, our goal is to be the one-stop source for those in need of assistance with trusts, guardianships, and related services.
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Our Story

River Communities Fiduciary Services, Inc. (RCFS) was born out of a casual conversation at a social event when someone said to Eric O’Connor, “let’s start a trust company”. Eric invited Rich Howard to attend some meetings that had begun toward that end, and the rest, as they say, is history… sort of.
After exploring the requirements to form a true trust company and understanding that an indispensable tool for providing support to individuals living with disabilities – the supplemental needs pooled trust – could not be in our “tool box” (this type of trust can only be offered by a non-profit corporation), RCFS opted to incorporate as a Pennsylvania Non-Profit §501(c)(3) Corporation. Our Articles of Incorporation were filed, and we went live on July 30, 2016. The RCFS Supplemental Needs Pooled Trust was approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services on October 17, 2016, and on November 17, 2016, we became a Beaver County Orphans’ Court Approved Fiduciary. Allegheny County Orphans’ Court granted RCFS fiduciary status on August 28, 2017, and Philadelphia County first granted such status on January 11, 2018, and through annual renewal, we have maintained that recognition since.
While RCFS began operating with the belief that we would become a trust company, we were quickly approached by attorneys, hospitals, nursing homes and individuals wanting to propose us as legal guardians. Since our incorporation, we have supported more than 225 individuals as their legal guardians, currently still supporting 97 of those individuals. Additionally, as of this writing in July 2023, RCFS supports 99 Trust Clients, and we serve as Social Security Representative Payee for 91 of our more than 200 total clients. We also serve as executors, personal representatives and administrators of estates, powers of attorney, and in many other roles.
We step into a role that needs to be filled.
Because we offer a wide range of professional fiduciary services, we can provide services for our clients and work well with other professionals who may already be involved in an individual’s life and support when we step into a role that they now need filled to further enhance services and supports they may be already receiving. In short, the mission of River Communities Fiduciary Services, Inc. is to make our services accessible to all individuals in need of support that will help them improve their quality of life and protect their assets.
On December 8, 2020, we closed on the purchase of our new home at 2097 Duss Avenue in Ambridge. We moved into the building on December 15, 2020, and were pleased to have been able to make this important and valuable addition to our assets in such a short time of being in business.
As we grew, some notable recognitions came to us as our Executive Vice President Eric O’Connor, CMP™, NCG, was selected in 2019 to participate in a committee that oversees changes and enhancements to the Pennsylvania Guardianship Tracking System that was implemented by the Commonwealth in 2018. In 2021, Eric received the National Certified Guardian Excellence Award, accepting the recognition on behalf of the individuals for whom we provide care. In 2022, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Guardianship Association.

As we look to the future, RCFS currently has a great Board of Directors and a team of folks who depend daily on each other’s skills and knowledge to provide the best care possible to improve our clients’ lives and protect their futures.

Meet Our Team

Our compassionate staff will help you secure and manage your assets or help you find human services or government supports appropriate for your situation. We have extensive experience in trust administration, social services and government benefits. Contact us for a free consultation.

Richard Howard

President

After graduating from Etna High School, Rich was enrolled in Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Bachelor of Arts in Music Education Program. He spent 38 years in the men’s retail clothing business, the last 22 years as owner of Zeiden’s Men’s Clothing and Formal Wear.
In 2001, Rich became a member of the Board of Directors for Passavant Memorial Homes, a non-profit human service organization. In 2004, he was the Founding Chairman of the Board for Life Enrichment Trust, Inc., a Passavant-related corporation. He served on the boards of two other Passavant-related corporations, Accessible Dental Services, Inc., and Passavant Development Corporation, Inc., parent to PDC Pharmacy. Howard joined Passavant’s Corporate Management Team in 2008 and held various responsibilities, most noteworthy, as Relationship Manager for Life Enrichment Trust, Inc., as well as Director of Sales and Marketing for the entire Passavant Memorial Homes Family of Services.
In addition to his professional responsibilities, Rich has provided leadership to the communities in which he has lived by serving on many public boards as well as local service clubs. Since its incorporation in July of 2016, he has been honored to be President of River Communities Fiduciary Services, Inc.

Eric M. O’Connor, CMP™, NCG

Executive Vice-President

Eric is a native of Beaver County who graduated from Beaver High School. He attended Robert Morris University, completing degrees in Human Resources and Business Management. Eric’s background includes working with Business Owners to produce positive financial outcomes. He has also served as a Trust Officer for Life Enrichment Trust, Inc. Mr. O’Connor holds FINRA Series 7, Series 66, and Series 6 qualifications, is a Circle of Wealth Advisor, and is an Authorized Practitioner of the Nelson Nash Institute. He is currently the acting Chairman of the Board for the Beaver County Children and Youth Services Advisory Board.
In 2017, Mr. O’Connor received certification as a National Certified Guardian (NCG). In 2019, he was selected to participate in a committee that will oversee changes and enhancements to the Pennsylvania Guardianship Tracking System that was implemented by the Commonwealth in 2018. Then Eric become a Certified Medicaid Planner (CMP) in October 2020. In 2021, Eric received the National Certified Guardian Excellence Award, and then in 2022, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Guardianship Association.

Betty Nalesnik

Vice President of Operations

As V. P. of Operations, Betty is responsible for the day to day activities required to successfully manage the complete needs of the organization. She joined River Communities in March 2018 bringing with her 13 years of experience at Beaver Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, a skilled nursing facility in Beaver County. While at Beaver Valley, Betty oversaw Medicare and Medicaid related issues as well as Social Security Procedures. Additionally, she managed resident’s financial accounts and provided payroll services for the facility’s union and non-union staff and employees. A graduate of Rochester Area School District, she is a member of Faith Community United Methodist Church, and a life-long resident of Beaver County.

Earlier in her career, Betty was a member of the management team for Passavant Memorial Homes at their Rochester, Pennsylvania campus. During her 12 years’ experience at Passavant, she enjoyed serving and supporting individuals living with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Working with local churches, community service clubs and lodges, and local and neighboring school

Earlier in her career, Betty was a member of the management team for Passavant Memorial Homes at their Rochester, Pennsylvania campus. During her 12 years’ experience at Passavant, she enjoyed serving and supporting individuals living with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Working with local churches, community service clubs and lodges, and local and neighboring school districts, she was instrumental in organizing the Lunch with a Friend Program and she planned many outings and social events for the individuals entrusted to the organization’s care. Betty provided leadership in various fundraising events while with Passavant, including the Annual Golf Outing and several monthly programs that raised money to make the everyday lives of special needs individuals more enjoyable.
Betty is a past member of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce, the Human Service Forum, and the Rochester Volunteer Fire Department.

Sandy Southwick

Operations Supervisor

A graduate of Freedom High School in Beaver County, PA, Sandy continued her education by attending classes at the Pitt Dental School of Radiology and the Beaver County Hospital School of Radiology. As a result, she holds certification allowing her to perform Dental Xray procedures in Pennsylvania. She also completed instruction in Electro Cardiology at Beaver County Community College, granting her Pennsylvania certification in Electrocardiogram Procedures and testing.
Immediately prior to joining RCFS February 2020, beginning in 2011, Sandy was the Clinical Coordinator for Accessible Dental Services, Inc., a non-profit corporation that provides complete dental services for individuals with disabilities. Additionally, as the 30-year owner of Sandy Southwick’s Home and Office Cleaning Services, as well as having been Co-Owner with her husband of Southbend Gulf Gas Station and Auto Repair, Sandy brings a strong background in customer relations and personal service to RCFS.
Serving in several elected offices for White Township, Beaver County, PA, Mrs. Southwick was Township Wage Tax Collector, and she also served on the Township’s Board of Auditors as well being Secretary of the Board. Additional service was provided to the Township while she was employed as the Township Secretary.

Veronica Garcia

Guardianship Support

Veronica began her career in healthcare at the Allegheny Valley School where she was employed as a Direct Care Support Professional for seven years. She left Allegheny Valley School to join the team at Providence Care Center in Beaver Falls, PA. While working at Providence, Veronica obtained her Certified Nursing Assistant License (CNA). With her newly earned CNA, Veronica then moved to the Verland Foundation to become a Team Lead, providing oversight to staff at one of Verland’s community homes. Now, as a member of the RCFS Team, under her title of Guardian Support, she can use her direct care skills as well as her nursing background to provide care to individuals served under RCFS guardianship services. In addition to her responsibilities at RCFS, Veronica is currently pursuing her Registered Nurse Degree (RN).

Mary B. Lovett

Guardian Representative

Mary has worked in non-profit organizations since 1997 serving the Church and vulnerable populations in health care (hospice, healthcare center) for the good of God’s Kingdom. She continues this work by joining RCFS in April 2022 as a Guardian.
Mary is ordained clergy and has received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, a Master of Divinity, a Doctorate of Marriage and Family Ministries, and a Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy degrees. She is also board certified in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care with the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy. She describes herself as a lifelong learner.
A mother of three and grandmother of eight, Mary is a faithful member of A Safe Place Ministry Apostolic Center in Penn Hills, PA.

Kelly Morrow

Guardian Representative

Kelly graduated from North Hills High School in Pittsburgh PA. She continued her education by attending Geneva College in Beaver Falls graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Services. Kelly worked for the next 8 years at Resources for Human Development (RHD) where she worked with individuals living with intellectual and developmental disabilities. While there, Kelly worked in the individual’s homes helping them with their Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and then she transitioned into the Medical Coordinator position at RHD keeping close track of attended doctor’s appointments and follow ups for all individuals in the program.
In 2013, Kelly graduated with an Associate Degree in Accounting from the Community College of Beaver County. Kelly’s additional education credits include being a Practicum Medication Observer and she received a Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Trainer Certificate in Medication Administration. Additionally, Kelly is trained in the Enterprise Incident Management System (EIM) as well as the use and application of the Health Risk Screening Tool (HRST).
On the personal side, Kelly enjoys arts and crafts, especially her favorite which is book folding. Her favorite holiday is Halloween, and she has recently been top prize winner twice in costume contests for her original costume creations.

Patty Halligan

Guardian Representative

Patty is a graduate of Northgate High School in Allegheny County, PA and Slippery Rock University where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation. Upon graduation, she received her Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist credential.
Patty has 25 years’ experience in the Social Services field in a variety of positions. She assisted individuals with intellectual and developmental challenges in their daily routines at The Verland Foundation. While working at the Vocational Rehabilitation Center she was a Placement Specialist and Job Coach working in sheltered workshops and at various job sites. Patty utilized her Therapeutic Recreation degree in the activities at Forbes Road Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and Presbyterian Senior Care. She has six years of previous experience working at Ursuline Senior Supports, as a Guardian Representative advocating for incapacitated individuals under the Orphans’ Court system. Also, she had the honor and privilege of taking care of several individuals in their homes as their private duty caretaker.
Outside of work, Patty is active in her church, was a proud member of the Steel City Dragon Boat team, and enjoys traveling, board games, trivia, and spending time with her family.

River Communities Fiduciary Services, Inc.
Board of Directors

Chairperson

Kim Orlando, Esq.
Minto Law Group, LLC

Vice Chairperson

Patricia Hanson MSPC, LPC, NCC
Managing Director
Aging Life Care Professional
IKOR of Western Pennsylvania

Secretary

Alex Gloor
District Sales Manager
Allegent Federal Credit Union

Treasurer

Eric M. O’Connor, CMP™, NCG
Executive Vice President
River Communities Fiduciary Services, Inc.

President

Richard Howard
River Community Fiduciary Services, Inc.

James Turnbull
Retired Owner
Turnbull Construction

Gregory DiTullio
Pittsburgh District Manager
Kroff Chemical Company

Alonda Miller
Regional Sales Manager serving Western Pennsylvania, Northern Maryland, and Youngstown Ohio
Wilbert Funeral Services, Inc.

RCFS is a member of the National Guardship Association

The National Guardianship Association (NGA) is a professional organization that represents individuals and organizations involved in guardianship and conservatorship. Founded in 1988, the NGA is dedicated to promoting and advancing the role of guardianship as a means of protecting and supporting individuals who are unable to make decisions for themselves. The association provides education, training, and resources to guardians, conservators, and other professionals working in the field of guardianship. Additionally, the NGA establishes standards of practice for guardianship and conservatorship, advocates for improvements in guardianship laws and policies, and serves as a network for communication and collaboration among guardianship professionals.

Talk with us about your needs

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