Sharing What Matters...

Last week, the Marietta Community Foundation participated in a session on Foundation Openness hosted by Philanthropy West Virginia and the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation through the Fund for Shared Insight. We shared in discussion with local and regional funders on the importance of being open with each other, donors, grantees, and the community.

Shared Insight emerged from the belief that we as funders are most effective and can do more good in the world if we are more open to listening to, and acting on, feedback from the people we seek to help. Here at the Marietta Community Foundation, we take pride in being transparent and open when it comes to our operations and our impact.

…With Our Partners

The Marietta Community Foundation meets quarterly with other funders from across the Mid-Ohio Valley to discuss projects, funding strategies, and community concerns. Collectively, we maintain regular communications as projects arise so that we are able to respond quickly and collaboratively. We also use this as an opportunity to learn from one another, sharing best practices and insight.

…With Our Donors

Our Foundation meets National Standards for operational quality, donor service and accountability in the community foundation sector. The National Standards Seal by our name indicates official confirmation from the Council on Foundations that we have met the most rigorous standards in philanthropy. It affirms our commitment to financial security, transparency, and accountability.

We believe it is important for our donors and the public to have access to our financial records so that they can have confidence in our organization’s operations and integrity. The Foundation’s current, as well as past, Form 990’s, 990-T’s and Annual Audits are made available to the public. You may also view the Foundation’s Guidestar Report online.

…With Our Grantees

The National Standards Seal also says that our grantmaking includes an open, competitive process designed to address the changing needs of our community. Both of our annual grant cycles follow this process and are promoted throughout the community. Foundation staff and board members speak with each grantee prior to the decision making process to ensure that we fully understand each project, and that grantees are familiar with the process and the Foundation’s priorities. We follow up with all grantees after selections have been made and offer advice for future cycles.

Our area’s nonprofit organizations are our partners in making life better for all of us. By being open about our grantmaking process, we aim to help our nonprofits receive more funding and better meet their missions. We have also launched an email newsletter for our local nonprofits to share upcoming events and capacity building opportunities.

…With Our Community

The Marietta Community Foundation shares our work with the community through our website, a bi-annual printed newsletter, distribution of our Annual Report, a monthly email newsletter, a Facebook page, an Instagram account, and participation in special events. Each fall, we hold an Annual Event during National Community Foundation week to celebrate our yearly accomplishments as a philanthropic community and uplift our donors.

If you would like to learn more about our philosophy as a Community Foundation, please reach out to Heather Allender, CEO, at heather@mcfohio.org or 740.373.3286.

High School Students Build and Launch Wooden Kayak

Last Wednesday, Marietta High School students celebrated months of hard work with the launch of a hand-built wooden kayak into the Muskingum River.

Six students spent their spring semester building a wooden kayak by hand, thanks to funding provided by the Marietta Community Foundation and the Marietta Rowing and Cycling Club. The project was completed through Marietta High School’s Art Program under the direction of Heath Rader.

“The project originated in an enrichment class where students can choose a project to work on,” said Rader. “In years past we have built long-bows with the students, out of wood and fiber glass. I have always wanted to build a wooden kayak, I thought this would be a neat project to do with this group of students.”

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Sophomores Faith Chichester and Emma Grammer, both art students, described the experience as enjoyable, fun, and calming. “It made me feel independent,” said Chichester. “It was encouraging to know that together we had the capability to build something like this.”

Grammer said the process also taught them patience. “We had to keep sanding it, to put more glue on it, to sand it again, over and over – so there was a lot of patience as we waited for the process to be complete.” Overall, the students and Mr. Rader spent more than 100 hours building and finishing the kayak.

This was a great opportunity for students to learn a new skill with their hands, and to practice patience and perseverance.

The project arrived to the school as a kit of parts; everything had to be assembled using a stitch and glue process. Pieces were first stitched together with wire, covered with epoxy, and then eventually covered with fiberglass. “There was a great deal of problem solving involved. The students had to be able to read the directions and figure out how to correctly complete each step,” said Rader.

On Wednesday, the students joined Mr. Rader on the Harmar Dock to see if the boat would float. The students took turns launching the kayak, using the kayak launch ramp donated by the Marietta Rowing & Cycling Club. Chichester said it was her first time ever being in a kayak. To everyone’s delight the kayak was buoyant and functioned beautifully, elegantly gliding on the Muskingum River.

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“We live in a society now where so much is accomplished digitally or on a computer, and at rapid speed,” said Mr. Rader. “This was a great opportunity for students to learn a new skill with their hands, and to practice patience and perseverance. None of us had ever built a boat before or knew how they were constructed, so this was a learning process for us all.”

MCF Awards More Than $50,000 in First Cycle

The Marietta Community Foundation has awarded recipients of their first grant cycle this year. Grants were awarded to 18 applicants and totaled more than $50,000 from unrestricted and donor restricted funds.

Recipients include local charities, community projects and a number of Marietta non-profits. Thanks to their generous donors, the Foundation continues to see steady growth.

Spring Cycle Grantees Included:

  • Belpre Area Multi-Use Trail Committee
  • Boys & Girls Club of Washington County
  • The Castle
  • Christian Youth in Action, Inc.
  • Community Action-Washington/Morgan County
  • Eve, Inc.
  • Humane Society of the Ohio Valley
  • The iBelieve Foundation
  • Marietta Children’s Choir
  • Marietta College
  • Marietta in Bloom
  • Marietta Main Street
  • Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival
  • Village of Lowell
  • Washington County 4-H Council
  • Washington State Community College Foundation

Proposals for the first round of the 2018 grant cycle closed on April 1st. Final approval was decided by the Foundation’s Allocations Committee earlier this month.

Grant recipients often receive a combination of donor restricted funds, which come directly from active donors of funds the Foundation holds, and unrestricted funds. The Marietta Community Foundation shares all grant applications with active donors to maintain open communication and allow donors the chance to support the causes that inspire them.

“We thank the Marietta Community Foundation for agreeing to assist with our matching funds for the Transportation Alternative Program Grant,” said Kelly Cox, a volunteer on the Belpre Area Multi-Use Trail Committee. “These funds will be used to purchase a 1.6 mile section of old railroad bed from CSX property that runs from Collins Road to The Little Hocking River in Belpre Township. We will eventually be connecting with the Athens, Ohio end of the Athens Belpre Rail Trail. We look forward to children and families using the path for recreation and safe paths to get to the school and to the parks.”

The Village of Lowell requested funding to assist with their “Light the Park” campaign, an installation of 12 new light posts along the walking path on Buell Island. “The lights will be a great improvement for all who use Buell Park,” said David Vandenberg, a volunteer on the committee. “The Octoberfest Committee and the citizens of the Lowell area would like to thank all of the donors for their support of this project. If citizens would like to support continued improvement at Buell Park they can make a donation to the Buell Park Perpetual Care Fund at the Marietta Community Foundation.”

Another project that received funding this cycle was the roof replacement on The Castle in Marietta. “Very late last year, we were informed that the 163-year old slate roof over our historic house museum was at the end of its life span and needed replaced quickly,” said Scott Britton, Executive Director of The Castle Historic House Museum. “With the Foundation’s recent grant award, we are another step closer to achieving our fundraising goal to offset this large expense.”

The next grant cycle will close on October 1st, 2018. Donations to assist in funding grant applications, or any other local need may be made to the Foundation by contacting Heather Allender, CEO at 740-373-3286 or heather@mcfohio.org.

The Foundation uses 100% of general donations for the grant cycle funding. This means any donations made now would immediately assist grant recipients for the second cycle in 2018.

The Marietta Community Foundation meets National Standards for operations, quality, donor service and accountability in the community foundation sector. Founded in 1974, the Marietta Community Foundation has grown over the years thanks to a number of generous gifts.

MCF Awards Over $100,000 in Scholarships

Marietta Community Foundation is excited to announce that more than $100,000 of scholarships have been awarded through the Foundation to students throughout Washington County and beyond at the close of the 2017-2018 school year.

Some awards are provided to students pursuing a specific field of study or plan to attend a specific school, such as Marietta College or Ohio University. While others are awarded to students for participating in specific extracurricular activities or for being involved in the community through service groups or volunteering. Despite the criteria of these awards, each one was established for a specific reason. Whether it be in memory of a loved one who has passed or in the name of a local service group. Each scholarship fund held by the Marietta Community Foundation has a story to tell.

One such scholarship is the Art Fordham Memorial Scholarship, established to memorialize Art,  a dedicated, compassionate and respected teacher for more than 30 years. He worked with Washington County students through the Washington Career Center’s Occupational Work Experience (O.W.E.) program. He was well respected as a teacher and colleague who went beyond all expectations in advocacy for his students. He believe that all his students deserved an opportunity to achieve and succeed in life. Art was a teacher who utilized great compassion while stressing accountability. He worked with the students and their employers to maximize each student’s success. In 2000, Art received the OWE teacher of the year award for Ohio.

Art Fordham passed away in 2012 after devoting his life to mentoring youth, especially those who are often overlooked with seeking high education financial assistance. This scholarship fund was established by his wife, Denyse, to assist those graduates who wish to further their education and training, and continues to grow with the support of friends and family.

The Trae DeVolld Memorial Scholarship was also established in memory of a great person, Trae Thomas DeVolld, who passed away at age ten in 2017. Trae was going into the 4th grade at Caldwell Elementary School where he participated in football and wrestling. He could often be found hunting and fishing, and is remembered as having a big heart. He loved to make people laugh and smile, and never missed an opportunity for a good hug.

In 2017, Travis and Brooke DeVolld established a scholarship in Trae’s memory, to be given to a senior at Caldwell High School and Shenandoah High School who excels academically, is active in 4-H, and demonstrates leadership in and outside of school.

Despite the field of study a student decides to go into or the school in which they choose to attend, the Marietta Community Foundation takes pride is assisting the young people of our community in achieving their goals and helping them take the first step towards their careers. Check out the Marietta Community Foundation’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/mcfohio/) for more information on the 2018 scholarship recipients.

Relief Funds Awarded to Marietta Businesses

The Ohio River crested at 38′ in February 2018, three feet above the flood stage. Downtown businesses anxiously watched local river gauges, waiting for the City of Marietta to share updates on expected river height. As river waters rose, one by one business owners decided to shift inventory to higher ground and load up their furniture on trucks.

“It was heartening to see the youth of our community jump into the cause.  Experiences like that can become the cornerstone of a lifetime commitment to community service,” shares Tim Glover, member of the Main Street Board of Directors.

The Marietta community rallied together in true fashion. Hundreds of volunteers flocked to the streets, looking for any opportunity to help. Some businesses sponsored meals and water bottles for volunteers while others offered room to rest their helping hands. Gratitude was on display around every corner, and Marietta once again proved resilient in the face of adversity.

 Volunteers help move furniture out of A Unique Flower & Gift Shop

Volunteers help move furniture out of A Unique Flower & Gift Shop

In the midst of recruiting volunteers, coordinating supply distribution, managing communication across social media outlets, and connecting with businesses in need, Main Street director Cristie Thomas fielded many questions from locals and once-locals about how to make financial contributions to the relief efforts.

“It was incredible to watch the passion of our community come alive. So many folks gave of their time freely, without expectation of personal benefit. And, when people weren’t able to give of their time, they were reaching out with phone calls, emails, and Facebook messages asking who to write a check to,” shares Thomas.

The Marietta Community Foundation quickly began promoting the Washington County Disaster Relief Fund as an opportunity for donors to financially support flood relief efforts. One local institution in particular, Marietta College, answered the call by issuing a challenge to the their Board of Trustees to support the Washington County Disaster Relief Fund.

 Flooding in February

Flooding in February

“The reaction from the challenge was overwhelmingly generous. Initiated by Trustee Andrew Ferguson, the challenge resulted in more than $5,000 contributed to the Fund from the Marietta College Board of Trustees. Inspired by the Board’s generosity, the Marietta Community Foundation responded with a match of its own,” shares Heather Allender, President of the Marietta Community Foundation.

The generosity of the community resulted in the Foundation awarding funding to Marietta Main Street to then award to local small businesses who were impacted by the flooding in February, via an application process. Eligible applicants were able to submit funding requests for damage repair, cleaning supplies and cleanup efforts, either completed or pending for completion. Initially, the intent was to only award up to $500 per applicant.

“We received applications from a variety of businesses with total damages across applications equaling upwards of $54,000. Funding applications ranged in need, from new equipment purchases to building maintenance and care to cleaning supplies,” shared Main Street Director, Cristie Thomas.

The three applications that were chosen were from Boathouse BBQ, The Original Pizza Place, and Twisted Sisters Boutique in downtown Marietta.

“Due to the flooding in our basement, we lost our tankless water tank, which we replaced after two lost business days, estimating a total loss of $6,000,” shared Kasandra Pruscitto, owner of The Original Pizza Place on Second Street.

Pruscitto added, “Our tankless hot water heater in our basement is required by the City of Marietta Health Department to be open and serving food. When we were finally able to access it, the water tank’s electric panel was destroyed and could not be salvaged.”

Steve Thomas, owner of Boathouse BBQ on Virginia Street, shared a similar story.

 Flooding at Boathouse BBQ

Flooding at Boathouse BBQ

“The Boathouse was shut down for 19 days. Flood waters damaged windows, walls, floors, and equipment. The relief funds would mostly be used to repair paint and replace damaged areas,” shared Peters.

Debbie Cline, co-owner of Twisted Sisters Boutique on Front Street, requested funds to repair damages and maintain their building.

“The funds will be used to clean the basement of mold and flood debris. Our basement received 5′ of water and the mold, dirt and debris needs to be removed,” shared Cline.

Becky Pritchett, also co-owner of Twisted Sisters Boutique and sister to Debbie, was grateful to have been awarded funding.

“It was an honor and a great relief to be a recipient of the relief funds. During flood events there can be many costs involved. Packing materials, truck rentals, loss of income, etc. By receiving this gift it helped ease both the financial and physical burden of part of the cleanup,” said Pritchett.

Sarah Arnold, Communications & Program Services Director for the Marietta Community Foundation, worked in partnership with Marietta Main Street to both promote the relief funds and award applicants with monies.

“We were pleased to join our partners at Marietta College and in the community to help those impacted by last month’s flooding. While we were fortunate that the river did not raise any higher, many businesses were affected throughout the region. We are proud to partner with Marietta Main Street to offer much needed assistance to several businesses who suffered damages from the high waters,” said Arnold.

Junior PioPitch Inspires Innovation

In an effort to encourage and inspire the entrepreneurial mindset from a young age, Marietta College hosted a special session of PioPitch on Thursday, April 19th to give local high-school students an opportunity to present ideas and receive real-time feedback. Six teams of students pitched their innovative ideas for new products or services for a chance to earn nearly $4,500 in cash and prizes.

“Last year we piloted the program by inviting several Marietta High School students and a couple of Ely Chapman students to pitch their business ideas in a special session of the PioPitch program,” said Dr. Jacqueline Khorassani, Director of the Entrepreneurship Program at the College. “That is when we discovered that many students had great ideas. This year, we decided to expand the program by inviting high school students from across the Mid-Ohio Valley to compete for cash awards and free college courses.”

Products pitched included the “Snap-N’Go,” a tight-sealing lid to prevent accidental spills from water bottles, “Snack-Ease,” an improved chip can design, and “Check It,” an app to help students focus on schoolwork and chores.

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A panel of judges, including Faith Knutsen, Director of Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Ohio University, Tres Ross, Executive Director of The Ross Foundation, Mark Wiehl, Process Improvement Manager at Peoples Bank, and Sarah Arnold, Communications and Program Services Director at the Marietta Community Foundation, asked questions and provided feedback for each project.

“I was impressed to see that the students put a great deal of thought into how their products or services would benefit others and add value to someone’s life,” said Arnold. “An idea is only as good as the benefits it provides the consumer or user.”

Issabella Sams, a freshman, took home first prize, with her project “It’s Dinner Time,” a food truck service that would serve lower income families and single parents who might be too busy to prepare meals at home. “This will be similar to the Meals on Wheels program for senior citizens,” she explained, “but geared towards families that have children that don’t always have a healthy meal to eat at home.” Sams won $200 in cash, as well as three free 3-credit hour classes at Marietta College.

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Cameron Patterson came in second place for his design for a more efficient rain water collection system. Patterson impressed the judges with his technical design and market research. In third place was “Snap-N-Go,” presented by Hannah Adams and Jared Hollister.

The Foundation’s support of this program is made possible through unrestricted funds at the Marietta Community Foundation. The Marietta Community Foundation is proud to partner with Marietta College to encourage our next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators.

Financial Aid Workshop

The Marietta Noon Rotary Club is sponsoring a free workshop entitled Paying for College & Using Financial Aid. This workshop is intended for families of high school students who are planning on some form of education after high school. This event is free and reservations are not required.

The workshop will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8th at the Microtel Inn & Suites in Marietta, Ohio. The inn is located on Pike Street in Marietta next to The Bob Evans Restaurant, and is very close to exit #1 off of I-77.

The facilitator is Rotarian Dan Jones who has been presenting this valuable information for over 25 years and has helped many families prepare for the overwhelming task of paying for college and other types of post-secondary education. His presentation will take a little over one and a half hours in a workshop setting. Sarah Arnold, Communications and Program Services Director for Marietta Community Foundation, will join Dan for a brief presentation on scholarship opportunities available through the Foundation. Questions and note taking are encouraged.

For more information please contact Dan directly at 740-350-6418.

A History of Collaboration

During the 2018 Founders Day Ceremony, Marietta College recognized faculty, staff and community members with a variety of honors and awards. The Marietta Community Foundation was among those recognized, receiving a Linsley Community Partner Organization Award for their continued partnership with the College.

Since its establishment in 1835, Marietta College has been a source of transformation for our city, county, and region. The institution has touched many lives and inspired in its students, graduates, employees, and the community a thirst for knowledge and the drive to make a difference. The Marietta Community Foundation has had the pleasure of partnering with Marietta College for more than 20 years. When the Foundation was reactivated in the mid-90s under the leadership of Robert Kirkbride, Marietta College hosted the Foundation’s office on campus and assisted with administrative needs. Over the years, College leadership, staff and alumni helped the Foundation grow to what is has become today.

“As the school creates new generations of leaders who go on to shape our nation there exists a partnership with the community that extends beyond Washington County,” said Heather Allender, President and CEO of the Marietta Community Foundation. “As part of a liberal arts education, students are instilled with the importance of philanthropy and its ability to address community needs and achieve a better tomorrow for all. This notion represents a shared mission between the College and the Marietta Community Foundation.”

 President Ruud presenting the Linsley Community Partner Award to Heather Allender, CEO

President Ruud presenting the Linsley Community Partner Award to Heather Allender, CEO

Since 1995, the Foundation has worked with the College to award more than $465,000 in grants and donor advised donations to college programs and projects. Through designated funds like the Anonymous Charitable Lead Trust and the Snediker Funds, annual gifts to the college are made each year. Through Donors Advised and Unrestricted Funds, the Foundation has contributed to a number of major projects, such as the construction of the Planetarium and the renovation of Don Drumm Stadium, as well as programs like the Pay It Forward Program and Nonprofits LEAD.

“The Foundation believes in the importance of supporting the development of our local nonprofit community as well as the building of relationships between students and community leaders,” said Karen Osborne, Treasurer and Marietta Community Foundation Board Member. “We are proud to support projects and programs for the College’s staff, students and other educators that enrich our entire community.”

Last year, the Foundation partnered with Marietta College to help fund the purchase of American Flags to hang throughout Downtown Marietta thanks to generous alumni. This year, grants include the award for the Jr. PioPitch Competition for area high school students, encouraging entrepreneurialism and creative problem solving. As this partnership grows, the Foundation and its donors look forward to finding new ways to contribute to projects that enhance our local educational and cultural assets.

“We hope to continue to work together to grow a more vibrant and sustainable community that consists of the college and all areas of the Mid-Ohio Valley,” said Allender. “We know Marietta has a bright future, made brighter when we come together for the good of all.”

Community Responds to Flooding through Relief Fund

Last month, the Marietta College Board of Trustees issued a challenge to its members to support the Washington County Disaster Relief Fund of the Marietta Community Foundation, in response to the recent emergency flooding situations.

The reaction from the challenge was overwhelmingly generous. Initiated by Trustee Andrew Ferguson, the challenge resulted in more than $5,000 contributed to the Fund from the Marietta College Board of Trustees. Inspired by the Board’s generosity, the Marietta Community Foundation responded with a match of its own. The fund continues to grow thanks to additional contributions from community members.

“I’ve often preached about the mutual reliance of the college and the community,” said Ferguson of the Board. “I’ve never witnessed a President embrace that so well as Dr. Ruud, and I’m extremely thankful for his leadership in the community.”

“We are pleased to join our partners at Marietta College and in the community to help those impacted by last month’s flooding,” said Heather Allender, President and CEO of the Marietta Community Foundation. “While we were fortunate that the river did not raise any higher, many businesses and residents were affected and are still cleaning up.”

 Photo by Brittany Hapney

Photo by Brittany Hapney

On behalf of the Marietta College Board of Trustees, the Marietta Community Foundation and several individual community members, the Foundation is pleased to announce that $5,000 will be available for local individuals and businesses affected by the recent flooding.

"At Marietta College, we have worked to connect our faculty, staff, students and Board of Trustees with the surrounding community so they have a better understanding of not only what is happening at the College but also in the Mid-Ohio Valley," said Marietta College President Bill Ruud. "When they heard about the impact of the flooding on the region, they all wanted to help. I am proud to say they are an amazing group who not only care about the future of Marietta College, but also our community. I’m also pleased that the Marietta Community Foundation was excited to match their gifts and help us make an even bigger impact on those affected by the recent flooding."

Individuals in need of financial assistance or reimbursement for damages resulting from February’s flooding can contact Caring Connection by calling 740-376-9903. Businesses and organizations in need of financial assistance or reimbursement for damages that resulted from February’s flooding can contact Cristie Thomas at Marietta Main Street at cristie.thomas@mariettamainstreet.org or 740-885-8194, or download the application here.

The Marietta Community Foundation is a community leader, convening agencies and coordinating resources to help our citizens when they need it most. This collaboration reinforces the Marietta College and community bond that has only grown stronger under the leadership of Dr. Ruud.

Nationally Acclaimed Drug Prevention Seminar Comes to MOV

Opioid related drug overdoses are on the rise at both the national and local levels. In response to this growing crisis, area organizations have come together to increase education efforts through a Drug Prevention Seminar. The three-day event features two of the country’s leading drug prevention experts, former Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Special Agent Robert Stutman and former treatment court judge and anti-drug advocate Jodi Debbrecht Switalski of The Stutman Switalski Group.

The event is comprised of targeted educational sessions and will take place March 26-28 with closed sessions for students, administrators, law enforcement officials and medical professionals and an evening parent/community forum on Tuesday, March 27 at 6:30 p.m. in the Marietta High School Auditorium. The evening forum is free and open to the public though student attendance is not recommended.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioids were involved in more than 40,000 deaths in 2016 alone with reported fatal overdoses in Ohio increasing significantly from 2015 to 2016. Four overdoses, one of which was fatal, were reported in a 24-hour period in Marietta at the end of last month according to a WTAP news report.

 Robert Stutman presenting to Rockhurst High School.

Robert Stutman presenting to Rockhurst High School.

“The Mid-Ohio Valley has not been sheltered from the national drug epidemic,” said Major Troy Hawkins with the Washington County Sheriff’s Department. “When the Sheriff’s Department was approached by family practice specialist Dr. Michael Brockett, who had attended a previous seminar by The Stutman Switalski Group, we knew it would be a huge benefit to bring this event to the area.”

“Funding for the Drug Prevention Seminar was a collaborative effort between several different organizations,” said Heather Allender, President & CEO of the Marietta Community Foundation. “As the community Foundation, we recognize that we are always stronger when we combine resources and work together to meet vital community needs.”

The Stutman Switalski Group shares leading research and provides proven solutions, interactive presentations as well as an area assessment with suggestions for continuing action.

Sponsors for the Drug Prevention Seminar include:

  • The Marietta Community Foundation’s Bill Curran Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Fund
  • The Memorial Health Foundation
  • The Washington County Chapter of the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians
  • The Washington County Sheriff’s Office
  • The Marietta Chamber of Commerce and Safety Council
  • Oriana House, Inc.
  • The Southeastern Ohio Oil and Gas Association.

Rising Together and Giving Back

As February ebbed and the rivers rose, the Marietta community came out in droves to actively support local home owners, businesses and downtown organizations in the flood plain. Hundreds of volunteers, from students to professionals, lent a helping hand as high waters threatened the area first on the 16th and then again on the 23rd. Though the second flood mercifully fell short of the potentially catastrophic 46’ prediction, the area teamed up to prepare for the worst.

Marietta High School crew members were among the community volunteers. Members of the girl’s crew team helped integrated marketing firm Offenberger & White, located in Harmar Village, prepare for the second flood on Friday, February 23.

Though we have seen worse, the February floods still left their mark. Many residents and businesses still faced damages and thick river mud coated streets, sidewalks and trails throughout the downtown district. The MHS crew team, MHS Tiger Navy, also impacted by the flooding, faced even greater losses at the very beginning of the year. On Friday, January 12 the docks at the Carl L. Broughton Boathouse were torn away and lost down the river.

Though the high school team is able to use Marietta College’s docks during practices, their own are required for competitions. Because of the specialty design necessary for the rowing docks and anchors, construction costs are typically in upwards of $100,000. Yet just as crew members and other volunteers came together to actively make a difference, the community joined together to fund the purchase of replacement docks.

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To help save on total production costs, several parents who are engineers by trade stepped forward to build the new docks and anchors properly. The donated labor helped reduce the necessary costs to just over $30,000. Community support for the match challenge, issued by George Broughton, fetched donations from non-profits as well as private donors. Yet the total raised still fell short.

At the end of February, the Marietta Community Foundation Board approved a grant of up to $5,000 to cover the remaining expenses. This out-of-cycle grant helps bridge the funding gap and ensure project completion.

The MHS crew team has 55 members who train year-round and gain valuable experiences through their intensive drills and competitions. Construction of the new docks benefits our MHS Tiger Navy as well as the Mid-Ohio Valley Community. The teams fundraising arm, The Harmar Rowing Club, as well as the Marietta Rowing and Cycling Club also provide numerous river activities for the whole community.

Donations of time and money for this project came together very quickly and many of the donations came from funds held at the Foundation.

 “This has been a collaborative community project; one that is important to our community members and Foundation supporters” said Heather Allender, President and CEO of the Marietta Community Foundation. “Crew members helped the community through active giving and now the community has come full circle to return that kindness and show the volume of our strength, even in times of trouble.”

Youth Advisory Council Collecting Donations During March First Friday

Are you looking for a fun and rewarding way to give back to the community and have a blast while doing so? Stop by the Marietta Community Foundation on Friday, March 2nd during Marietta’s monthly First Friday event! The Marietta Community Foundation’s very own Youth Advisory Council (YAC) will be hosting a donation drive complete with bake sale, a raffle, games, and fun for all ages from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. The YAC is encouraging all community members to step up and bring in items that can be used for its upcoming project—the Free Little Library and Pantry.

The YAC will be installing four tiny libraries and pantries across Washington County, containing sanitary and hygiene items, school supplies, and, of course, books! “This project will help everyone in the community, no matter the age, which is the ultimate goal of the YAC,” said Halle Richards, YAC Member. Donating items is an excellent opportunity for families to step up and answer the call of philanthropy and good will that the Youth Advisory Council strives to encourage. “Everyone can be a philanthropist in their everyday lives,” said YAC member Ryleigh Barrett. “Simple acts of kindness such as opening a door, or paying a toll for the car behind you are easy ways that we can all carry out philanthropic acts.”

 An example of a Little Free Library

An example of a Little Free Library

During March’s First Friday: Nonprofit Night event, families are encouraged to bring donations to the Marietta Community Foundation Office on the corner of Front and Putnam Streets in Marietta. The YAC is collecting donations of sanitary items, personal hygiene products for both boys and girls, school supplies, and books. Of course, monetary donations are always welcomed as well. Bring a donation of any kind and receive a raffle ticket for a movie themed basket. For those who stop by, the YAC will have fun activities set up for the little ones while you meet YAC Members and learn about the great work they do for our community. Bake sale items will also be available for a donation. If you cannot make it downtown Friday evening but are interested in learning more about philanthropy, stop by the Marietta Community Foundation for more information on how the YAC encourages philanthropy throughout the community and how you too can be involved.

The YAC encourages you to come and be a philanthropist of your own on March 2nd from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. Please join us in supporting the push to provide free access to books, toiletries, joy and more to the people of Washington County. We hope to see you there!

MCF Sponsors Nonprofit Night

The Marietta Community Foundation is proud to sponsor Nonprofit Night, Marietta Main Street’s First Friday event on March 2nd in Downtown Marietta, OH. The event will feature local nonprofit and charitable organizations from across the Mid-Ohio Valley, giving them an opportunity to share their mission with the community.

“Nonprofit Night is a great way for nonprofits to connect with community members who may or may not know the full scope or mission of the organization,” said Heather Allender, President and CEO of the Marietta Community Foundation. “It’s also a chance for these organizations to recruit volunteers and share the impact of their work.”

In addition to awarding funding through two grant cycles each year, the Marietta Community Foundation is expanding their resources for nonprofits in Washington County in 2018, in part through the addition of a Communications and Program Services Director. The Foundation hopes to share more capacity building opportunities, host grant writing workshops, and more.

“We have hundreds of nonprofit organizations here in Washington County, each fulfilling a unique and necessary mission for our community,” said Allender. “Our goal is to help each organization increase their own abilities and their impact on the people they serve.”

The Foundation will be open throughout Nonprofit Night, which takes place from 5-9pm on March 2nd, hosting the Washington County Youth Advisory Council (YAC), a companion group of MCF. The YAC will be collecting young adult books and hygiene products for their upcoming project – the installation of four Little Free Libraries throughout Washington County.

“Some people take things such as books and hygiene products for granted and it is important to provide those items for teenagers who might not be as fortunate as others,” said YAC member Ryleigh Barrett, Belpre High School. “I joined YAC in hopes of making a difference in the lives of the youth in my community. Books are so important for education, and for pleasure, and I think everyone should always have access to a good selection of literature.”

Local nonprofits interested in participating in March’s Nonprofit Night can visit Marietta Main Street's website for more information or to sign up.

Felicia Buell Year Abroad Scholarship

Established in memory of Felicia Buell, the Felicia Buell Year Abroad Scholarship is available to aid students who desire to participate in the full school year program offered by the American Field Service (AFS), a study abroad program for high school students. The first available scholarship is for the 2018-2019 school year abroad.

The Felicia Buell Year Abroad Scholarship is open to all Marietta Senior High School students who would have at least one full year of high school remaining after the completion of the year abroad.

All applications for the scholarship must by submitted in writing, addressed to: The Felicia Buell Year Abroad Scholarship, 613 Third Street, Marietta, OH 45750. Applications must be postmarked on or before February 28th, 2018. 

The application, in the form of a typed letter, shall provide the following information:

  1. The applicant's name, mailing address, phone number, email, age, and school year of current enrollment.
  2. Cumulative GPA through the end of the prior quarter or semester
  3. The applicant's first and second choice of program countries and a brief reason for each choice
  4. As there is a needs-based component to the scholarship, a brief explanation of why the applicant needs the scholarship and what other financial resources the applicant will draw on to obtain the funds needed to cover the remaining costs of the program.
  5. A list of school and extra-curricular activities of the applicant, and their frequency
  6. A statement indicating why the applicant believes he or she has the qualities needed to successfully complete the program and how the student, and others, will benefit from the student's participation.

The successful applicant should be familiar with the history and mission of AFS; have strong learning skills and habits; have prepared for the challenges that such a program presents and formulated plans for dealing with those challenges; have strong family support; and have the personality and character necessary to take advantage of what the program offers. The successful applicant must also agree to prepare and present upon reasonable notice, a visual and audio program of the year abroad experience, and agree to assist AFS as a volunteer, as needed and available, for the following year.

Building a Better Financial Future

For many, finances can be a source of stress, worry, and woe, between paying down debt and keeping up with monthly bills. Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Mid-Ohio Valley aims to help local residents better understand their own finances so that they can confidently pay down debt and establish a strong foundation for themselves or their families.

To help residents gain this kind of valuable financial education earlier in life, CCCS of the MOV partnered with R.S.V.P. and the O'Neill Center to launch a Financial Education Program for children participating in the summer YMCA and Boys & Girls Club programs in 2017. This program was funded through the Marietta Community Foundation's first grant cycle last spring.

"Our challenge in working with the children was taking information that might not be relevant to them immediately and finding a way to present it that would help them build a solid financial foundation," said John Jackson, Executive Director of CCCS of the Mid-Ohio Valley. "All of our students had heard of Credit Karma so they actually had a very basic knowledge of credit scores - all we had to do was explain to them why a score is so important and how a person might increase (and decrease) their score."

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Throughout the program, John and his team also stressed wants vs. needs, as this is a lesson that can be valuable at any age and will lead to making better financial decisions as a young adult. Lastly, as many poor financial decisions are made out of desperation, they stressed the tremendous value of saving money and being prepared for emergencies.

Pleased with the success of its first year, John, Stacey and Lisa (of R.V.S.P.) have decided to continue the partnership in 2018. "Our initial presentations were collaborations with the youth summer programs throughout Marietta," John said. "We now have contacts information for additional R.S.V.P. directors in the area and we will be reaching out to them to gauge their interest in participating this summer as well."

John and his team believe there is an enormous opportunity to provide financial education within the local school systems. CCCS of the Mid-Ohio Valley hopes to fill the gap between what is currently being taught and what is important to young adults.

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"Most of the CCCS clients are not clients because they overspend or intentionally make poor financial decisions. Most of our clients have had something unexpected thrown at them - job loss, divorce, medical bills - that they were completely unprepared for and their financial hardship is a direct result of that curveball," John explained. "It is very important that we start teaching our children the value of being prepared for unexpected financial stress while also developing sound financial practices - avoiding impulse purchases, identifying wants vs needs, and incorporating and developing a family budget."

It is through donations to unrestricted funds that the Marietta Community Foundation was able to award this grant. The next grant cycle will close on April 1st, 2018. Donations to assist in funding grant applications, or any other local need, may me made to the Foundation by contacting Heather Allender at 740-373-3286 (or heather@mcfohio.org) or by clicking the link below.

YAC Encourages Acts of Kindness

Observed on February 17th, National Random Acts of Kindness Day has grown in popularity each year, with thousands of schools across the globe celebrating Kindness Week by empowering students to create a culture of kindness.

The Youth Advisory Council, a companion group to the Marietta Community Foundation, invites us all to join in spreading random acts of kindness this month.

"Doing random acts of kindness tends to have at least some sort of trickle-down effect, some instances being more powerful than others," said Leah Seaman, a Marietta College freshman interning with the Marietta Community Foundation this semester to work with the Youth Advisory Council. "Sometimes a random act of kindness for a stranger can simply make their day a little bit better, which in turn causes them to treat those around them with a little more joy and positivity. Or it can go so far as to inspire others to do greater acts of kindness for the people around them. By spreading random acts of kindness, seeds of joy, love, and a little bit more happiness are sown in this world."

So what is a random act of kindness?

It could be as simple as letting a car go in front of you during rush hour, or holding the door open for a shopper with their hands full of groceries. Perhaps it's asking someone how their day is going, or picking up the tab for a stranger's meal or coffee. You could call someone who you haven't talked to in a while who needs a friend, or make a donation to your local food pantry. Volunteer with a service group, or simply to babysit for a friend. Whatever you do, you are certain to make someone else's day that much brighter.

"I would encourage others to participate in this trend not only for the benefits it brings to those around them, but also just for the benefits they themselves receive." said Leah. "When we do good for other people, we tend to receive more rewarding feelings from the experience than we give. Being kind to others is also being kind to one's self. It also encourages people to try to think more outside of themselves."

The great thing about kindness is that it is not limited to a single week, or month - kindness can be shared a million different ways, every single day. How can you pay it forward this month and spread a little extra kindness around the Mid-Ohio Valley?

Share your random acts of kindness with the YAC by tagging #MCFYAC on Facebook!

Raising Funds and Smiles for a New Playground

Over the holidays, students at Williamstown Elementary School had something to celebrate - a very special gift from members of their own community. The Marietta Community Foundation was touched to receive stacks of handmade cards from students expressing gratitude for donations made towards their new playground. 

While funding was secured for the design and construction of the new Williamstown Elementary School, the school board was unable to foot the cost of the playground, which is estimated to be as much as $160,000. The Williamstown Fund for Excellence, of the Marietta Community Foundation, has generously partnered with other local organizations and individuals in Williamstown and surrounding communities to raise funds for the cost of the playground so that it can be constructed alongside the new school building.

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Fundraising efforts are off to a great start, with $70,000 raised to date and additional $22,000 pledged or pending. The committee leading these efforts will be launching a campaign during May’s Day of Giving to collect and match funds to reach their goal. 

Current plans for the playground include an 1/8 mile track enclosing a grassed soccer field and a large play equipment area with mulch ground cover, though design is still underway. Construction on the new elementary school is slated for completion in spring of 2019, with construction on the playground planned for summer of 2019. 

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A new playground means a great deal to the students of Williamstown Elementary School, and to the community of Williamstown. A donation to this project is an investment ensuring years and years of recess, thankful smiles, and playful, outdoor fun. 

Fighting to Win

Hearing the words “You have cancer” or “I have cancer” is a life changing moment. In an instant, the world is turned upside down and the fight to overcome begins. Patients and caregivers enter new territory – financially and emotionally – as they navigate difficult decisions, treatments, and procedures. The last thing anyone in this fight wants to worry about, is money.

To help ease the financial burden of cancer patients and their families, several members of the community have established funds with the Marietta Community Foundation as a way to provide hope.

Thanks to a generous donor, the Foundation recently established the Louise Holmes Cancer Fund, which is designated to help cover cancer expenses for low-income residents of Washington County. Funds can be used to cover medical expenses and prescriptions, transportation to and from appointments, or other related expenses that are unable to be met. For those in need, this is an answer to one of many prayers, helping to make ends meet during a stressful and difficult time.

 Members of the MOV'n Dragons ready to begin practice.

Members of the MOV'n Dragons ready to begin practice.

In memory of Felicia Buell and her courageous battle with cancer, the Mid-Ohio Valley Dragon Boat’s Felicia M. Buell Thriver Fund was established to assist men and women (18 years of age or older) who are cancer survivors with jump starting their way to a healthier lifestyle through exercise and energizing activities that will encourage wellness, fitness, and fun. These activities include, but are not limited to: zumba, aqua zumba, toning, swimming, yoga, etc. classes at local gyms and fitness centers, and getting a one hour oncology massage.

If you or someone you know could benefit from one or both of these funds, contact us today to learn more or fill out an application. 

Those in need of financial assistance can also reach out to Firefly: A Spark of Hope, a local nonprofit whose mission is to provide hope to cancer patients in Wood, Washington, and surrounding counties by easing their financial burden so that they can focus on what really matters – winning their fight against cancer.

BrAva is another Mid-Ohio Valley non-profit organization dedicated to helping local families going through childhood cancer. BrAva began is 2011 and is named after Bridget, a cancer survivor, and Ava, who lost her battle to childhood cancer. Thanks to generous support from the community and through fundraising efforts, BrAva is able to provide assistance to local families.

Market Trends for Philanthropic Giving in 2018

Last year was defined by steady global economic growth, low inflation, and accommodative monetary policies which helped fuel a rally in asset prices. The outlook for 2018 is healthy, and though the new tax plan may complicate giving strategies, many are increasing their planned giving.

Here are three things to consider when planning your philanthropic giving for 2018:

Capital Gains are Up

Thanks to the recovering domestic and global economy, capital gains are up, which means that gifting stock could be very advantageous for donors. Donors can improve their efficiency of giving by making a gift of stock when shares are experiencing a significant increase in value

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Market is Up

Business confidence is at a high, driving market growth onward and upward. This means that individuals may want to pull their IRA required distributions now. It is possible to direct the required minimum distribution to a charity, and it will not be reported as taxable income on your tax return – this is called a “qualified charitable distribution.”

Bunching Makes Sense

In response to the new tax plan, one giving strategy being considered is “bunching,” where donors double up on contributions every other year to beat the standard deduction. Bunching, however, has the potential to be harmful to charity or non-profit organizations who rely on a steady stream of donations for annual operations. This is where a donor-advised fund can help. A donor-advised fund allows contributors to donate money and take a tax deduction in the same year, and then distribute the money to selected charitable organizations over time.

Contact the Marietta Community Foundation today to learn more about how you can maximize your charitable giving in 2018.

Local Family Aims to Help Others with BiPolar Disorder

In 2004, Bill and Kathie Hollister lost their son Jason to suicide. Jason had suffered with Bipolar Disorder for quite some time. Wanting to help others who face similar struggles, the Hollister family established the Jason Hollister Memorial Fund in 2010 in memory of their beloved son.

The purpose of this fund is to financially assist families and individuals dealing with bipolar disease. “In 2004, there were very few medicines available to treat bipolar disease,” said Bill Hollister. “As the name implies, Bipolar is either up; where the person is feeling euphoric and they feel so great that they often choose to not take their medicine. Or, on the other end of the spectrum - especially when they skip their medicine as described above - they hit bottom harder and the ensuing depression is worse than normal.”

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a serious brain and behavioral disorder that’s characterized by severe changes in mood and energy. These changes in behavior, often referred to as “mood episodes,” are defined by the types of symptoms a person is experiencing: manic, depressive, or mixed. These changes are drastically different from a person’s usual behavior and affect a person’s ability to handle their day-to-day tasks.

Over 5.7 million adults in the United States have bipolar disorder, about 2.6% of the population. The most common age at which symptoms begin is 25. “People who suffer from bipolar disease are generally embarrassed of the disease and will not reach out for the ongoing help they need,” said Bill. “Then there are those who experience symptoms but do not realize that they are bipolar.”

Bill hopes the Jason Hollister Memorial Fund will help provide funds to those who require assistance identifying and treating the disorder. Through this fund, the Hollister family aims to help educate the community on recognizing the symptoms of bipolar disorder, which include extreme changes in energy, activity, sleep and mood. They also hope to break down the stigma of this disease so that individuals feeling more comfortable seeking the help they need.  

If you or someone you know suffers from bipolar disorder, the Jason Hollister Memorial Fund at the Marietta Community Foundation is here to help.