After 17 years leading the Midlands Community Foundation (MCF, through a period of significant growth and development, the organization’s Board of Directors has announced the retirement of Tonee Gay as executive director. She will be joining her husband Tim Gay at Catalyst Public Affairs, Inc., a governmental and advocacy firm.

Tonee came to MCF in 1997 as a volunteer on the Foundation’s Reflection Ball Committee. She became executive director in May 2005. In 2009, Tonee was instrumental in moving MCF from a private foundation to a public charity. Since that time, she has helped the Foundation grow to $14 million in total assets with 160 charitable funds established. In addition, she is credited with developing the Foundation’s annual matching charitable program and, in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, she created MCF’s Coronavirus Response Fund to help lessen the pandemic’s impact on the numerous nonprofits that provide support to Sarpy and Cass counties. Tonee was the driving force in getting MCF’s donor and accounting software upgraded and, just this last year, led the MCF Board of Directors and staff through a comprehensive strategic planning seminar to position the Foundation for continued growth. None of this would have been possible without Tonee’s leadership, dedication, and work ethic.

“I have been blessed to meet and work with so many wonderful people, the MCF Board of Directors and staff, our generous donors, community leaders, and countless nonprofits we have supported through the years. I am proud of what the MCF team has accomplished, and though my employment life will change, my commitment to MCF will remain,” said Tonee. Tonee’s ongoing commitment to MCF is evidenced by her desire to join the Foundation’s Advisory and Fund-Raising Committees.

Tonee’s leadership has left the organization well positioned for the future, and the MCF Board of Directors unanimously selected Diane Knicky as the new executive director for the Foundation. Diane has served as the director of operations and public relations for over 15 years with MCF, and her leadership within MCF has been a key to the Foundation’s growth in recent years.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to further develop the Foundation in alignment with the recent strategic initiatives adopted by our Board of Directors,” said Diane. “I’ve been dedicated to the mission of the Foundation for over 15 years, and look forward to continuing our work in the Sarpy and Cass County communities in the years ahead. Our donors have allowed the Foundation to continually increase the benefits MCF can provide in our communities, and our MCF staff has been exceptional in implementing and helping to fulfill our donors’ goals.”

Midlands Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that manages and distributes funds for charitable purposes. The mission of the Foundation is to be a catalyst for lasting impact in Sarpy and Cass counties and to give opportunities to organizations and individuals so that they can pursue their charitable goals. MCF currently has 160 charitable funds under its umbrella including nine affiliate funds. For more information about MCF, visit