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.

Charitable Giving Under the New Tax Plan

The new tax plan recently approved by Congress nearly doubles the standard deduction for individuals and families. While this aims to simplify the filing process for most Americans, it could complicate giving strategies for many who regularly deduct their charitable contributions each year.

One 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.

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A recent article in the New York Times explains it this way:

“Someone could “bunch” several years of donations to a donor-advised fund into one year, and take the tax deduction, but then have the fund pay out the gift annually in equal amounts. The charity would get the same amount each year, even in years when the donor did not itemize deductions.

The donor does not directly control the money once deposited, but tells the fund’s administrator how to spend it, by selecting an eligible charity and an amount to be donated. The money may also be invested depending on the distribution to the nonprofit group, potentially increasing the amount available for contributions.”

A donor-advised fund is an easy and cost-effective way to support your favorite nonprofits anywhere in the country, at any time you choose. Community Foundation staff will confirm that your recommended charities meet IRS requirements and then issue grant checks to the organizations. Donors retains an advisory capacity in recommending grants from the fund.

Contact us today to learn more about establishing or contributing to a donor-advised fund.

Friends of the Library Donates $19,500 to Marietta City Schools Literacy Program

Last month, the Friends of the Washington County Public Library, an agency fund at the Marietta Community Foundation, approved a request for $19,500.00 to expand resources at different levels in the literacy initiatives program in Marietta City Schools’ elementary schools.

The donation will be used to purchase additional items for the leveled libraries at each elementary school. Jona Hall, Ed. D, Director of Curriculum and Technology at Marietta City Schools, explained that the school district adopted the Scholastic leveled libraries for instructing reading this year. “The method use is called ‘Guided Reading,’” said Hall. “Guided reading allows for teachers to focus their attention on small groups so that differentiated learning can take place as opposed to whole group instruction that often delivers the lesson to students in the middle; the so called “average” student.”

Leveled libraries offer a variety of high interested leveled reading materials that cover a larger range of reading abilities, making it easier for teachers to instruct at each learning level. As students grow in their reading, they can move into other groups fluidly.

“The approved funding from the Friends of the Washington County Public Library will allow us to add additional titles to our growing libraries,” said Hall. “What we have found is that some levels within the library are used more frequently than others because they may be used by multiple grade levels. So, we have taken a look at the most frequently used levels and added to them at each school.”

Hall believes reading is an essential skill for survival. Children need to establish a strong foundation with reading, decoding, comprehension, and writing in order to be successful citizen. By using guided reading, teachers can differentiate their instruction that will allow them to offer supports for those in need, while also pushing those that are ready for acceleration.

 First Grade Teacher Jessica Smith with students at Putnam Elementary School. 

First Grade Teacher Jessica Smith with students at Putnam Elementary School. 

“I compare it to the building of a house,” said Hall. “Without a solid foundation there is truly no need to worry about decorating and furniture. You have to put the priority where it is needed most. Investing in reading and literacy is an investment in our future and our future citizens.”

The faculty and staff at Marietta City Schools are grateful for the generosity of the Friends of the Library. Hall said they look forward to inviting them into our classrooms and allowing them to experience the rich instruction that is occurring for all of our students.

“With their donation, we can ensure that reading instruction will continue to offer high interest content for all levels,” said Hall.

The Friends of the Library are engaged in assisting the Washington County Public Library in their efforts to encourage reading at all levels in the community. To this end, the Friends of the Library fund the Summer Reading Programs for children, teens, and most recently, adults.

“We also fund a reading program for learning impaired adults,” said Sharon Gegner, Treasurer of the Friends of the Library. “It is within our scope and pleasure to assist the Marietta schools in their new reading program at the Elementary Schools.”

The generosity and support of donors for important causes like literacy truly changes lives and keeps our area strong. To make a difference and fight for the initiative that inspires you, contact us today.

Making Space for New Activities

What does it look like when a vision that has been two years in the making begins to take form? In any given project there are so many interconnected and interdependent parts that all need to fall into place at the right time to ensure the desired effect. Business startups need to navigate their business model and brand identity while securing seed money, developing a product prototype, establishing a customer base, starting production runs and so much more. For Don Godfrey, these moving parts are vastly different and in many ways less complicated—yet they may still never come together.

Don spends his days entrenched in the world of academe, introducing a spectrum of generations to writing rhetoric, world mythologies and great stories of fact and fiction. Between time with the family and inevitable errands and chores, his evenings are largely filled with grading, responding to student inquiries and managing the upcoming assignments and lessons for an array of classes. Teaching college is a fulfilling career for Don—one that allows him to use his education to inspire others. While not every student that passes through Don’s class is destined to come away with a new found love of English, literature or writing, they do come away with something. Teachers touch the lives of countless people in untold ways. Yet sometimes, a fulfilling career and a loving family are not quite enough and beneath the surface simmers a desire for something altogether different.

In contrast to this academic lifestyle, Don wishes to explore something active and hands-on that has a direct, tangible result. Ever the educator, the aspect of learning something new is still important, yet for this hobby, the main goal is to create. For several years now, Don has devoured everything he could about beginning blacksmithing. From setting up your own DIY home forge, to tool making, working with scrap metals and even apprenticeships. Such a hobby, however, is not inexpensive.

When your livelihood does not depend on learning a new skill or creating a new item, it can be difficult to justify the expense of a new hobby. Having less at stake also makes it easy to put your interests on the back burner for ‘sometime later.’ Just like entrepreneurs and small business startups, crafters and hobbyists depend on having the necessary education, training, equipment, location and materials in order to make things.

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Two years ago, the Building Bridges to Careers Epicenter, a comprehensive, entrepreneurial education center currently located inside the Marietta Armory, began working on a solution for all of the area’s potential makers. On Wednesday, November 15, Building Bridges to Careers announced their exciting expansion to the former Tenney & Associates building on Lancaster Street in Marietta. The larger location enables the Epicenter to expand their offerings and introduce a new makerspace to the area as well as learning labs.

Makerspaces provide a place to experiment with a new hobby that would typically require a hefty investment in both equipment and space. They let you try a new skill without a huge upfront cost, benefit from professional instruction and practice in a safe environment. Through numerous partnerships with area non-profits, including the Marietta Community Foundation and local colleges, the Epicenter expansion is poised to allow scores of makers and would-be hobbyists like Don the chance to experience traditional skills like woodworking as well as new technologies like 3D printing. This new addition to the Mid-Ohio Valley gives community members of all ages a new range of activities to enjoy as a family. In addition to simple tinkering and exploring, such spaces allow you to create a one-time project, like a dining room table or a bookcase, without investing in all the tools you need upfront.

Don Godfrey is not an entrepreneur, but he is still a maker. Like so many of us he feels deeply the desire to create something real and, perhaps, unique. Our diversity of talents and interests are the very things that make us well-rounded individuals and lead to satisfying lives.

While the concept of makerspaces has been around for some time now, the Epicenter makerspace is an entirely new endeavor for Building Bridges to Careers. The matching grant provided by the Marietta Community Foundation, coupled with additional support through other partnerships, has enabled the kick-off of this new project and location, yet they still need community support. It is now time for the would-be makers to join together and help shape their space however they are able. Contact the Marietta Community Foundation to learn how you can help.

Helping for the Holidays

As Charles Dickens famously wrote, “it is at Christmastime that want is most keenly felt, and abundance rejoices.” Thanks to generous donations to unrestricted funds throughout the year, the Marietta Community Foundation was able to help make a difference for community members in need this holiday season.

“Although need is felt all year long, it is often magnified during the holidays,” said Captain Aaron Moore of the Salvation Army. “When people are in the giving spirit, the need is amplified for those who aren’t able to be quite as generous.”

Each Christmas, millions of children go without Christmas gifts because their parents cannot afford them. Financial and emotional stress dampen Christmas cheer for those living in poverty. Through the Angel Tree Program, the Salvation Army helps put new clothes and toys under the tree for 1 million children every year, making spirits a little brighter.

This year, the Marietta Community Foundation hosted an Angel Tree in the office with tags for ten local children. The Foundation was pleased to say all ten children were thoughtfully shopped for, thanks to a local merchant, the Foundation staff and Board, and unrestricted funding.

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In addition to the Angel Tree Program, our local Salvation Army also assists families by giving food vouchers. The Foundation was able to help fund the remaining vouchers for $2,000, to assist 111 local families.

“The blessings we receive from the community in order to be able to give back are in abundance,” said Captain Moore. “It is truly a blessing to witness the generosity of the folks from Washington County.”

Oftentimes, especially during the colder months, many need help to simply keep the lights on and the heat running. The Caring Connection is a not-for-profit organization that provides direct delivery of basic human services to those in need in Washington County. The Foundation was able to donate $2,000 to Caring Connection to help cover utility disconnection notices and deposits for electric, natural gas and propane, and water.

“Never before have we seen so many shut off notices in our region,” said Executive Director, Jim Tilley. “We are grateful to be able to offer much needed help, especially during this time of year.”

It is through donations to unrestricted funds that the Foundation is able to give back in this way over the holidays. To help continue to make a difference in our community, consider making a donation today.

Supporting the Growth of Innovation

The Marietta Community Foundation has made a matching donation of $15,000 to Building Bridges to Careers for the expansion of their Epicenter. This expansion will include an all new location, in the Tenney building located on Lancaster Street in Marietta, OH. The new location affords the Epicenter enough space to introduce a larger incubator space for entrepreneurs as well as a new makerspace that is open to the community.

Currently located in the Armory on Front Street in Marietta, the Epicenter includes an incubator space with around 1200 sq.ft. Used as a shared office space by startups and small businesses, the incubator space provides entrepreneurs with a physical business location where they share equipment and split overhead costs with other entrepreneurs. Businesses in the incubator space benefit from these lower costs but also give back by working with area students to fulfil the overall Building Bridges to Careers mission of creating successful students and prosperous communities. This incubator space is the first of its kind for the Mid-Ohio Valley area.

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The Epicenter has received a tremendous amount of support from numerous area partners from its opening in January 2017 to its current expansion. The Marietta Community Foundation, Voinovich School and Alex Bandar (founder of the Columbus, Ohio makerspace, the Idea Foundry) have all been instrumental in securing the new Epicenter location. The family run Ross Foundation has been one such supporter. Through their own initiatives with Innovate MOV, the Ross Foundation identified the importance of support systems for up and coming entrepreneurs. Though their primary focus is on the revitalization of Downtown Parkersburg, the Ross Foundation identified the benefit a larger incubator and all-ages makerspace would bring to the entire Mid-Ohio Valley.

Though a newer concept for the area, incubators and makerspaces have been popular in larger cities for several years now as a way to stimulate the economy through support of small businesses. The spaces allow small businesses and entrepreneurs to use shared equipment while creating product prototypes or even small production runs. These spaces can run from basic to advanced, housing equipment like sewing machines or 3D printers, and be centered on specific age ranges, like pre-K to 20 years, or open to all.

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“The introduction of an incubator and makerspace for the area allows us to be more competitive with larger cities. Akin to the Idea Foundry in Columbus, Ohio, our makerspace will provide a shared workspace for a wide variety of makers, crafters, hobbyists and aspiring entrepreneurs of all ages,” said Tasha Werry, Building Bridges to Careers Director. “We hope to continue receiving community support for our efforts to provide a unique community outlet for creativity and innovation.”

The Epicenter is still seeking funders to ensure the success of this new expansion. Interested parties can help by spreading the word to generate additional community interest, donating materials or supplies directly to Building Bridges to Careers, or providing sponsorship or funding to the center through the Marietta Community Foundation.

Peoples Bank Helps Purchase New K-9

Through a generous donation from Peoples Bank, the Marietta Community Foundation helped purchase a new K9 unit, K9 Rita, for the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.

As a recognition of her 40 years of service to the bank, Peoples Bank honored Carol Schneeberger, Chief Administrative Officer, with the opportunity to select recipients of a charitable contribution from the bank. Concerned about the drug problem facing our community, Schneeberger reached out to the Sheriff’s Department to learn more about their needs.

One of the ideas presented was the need for a new K9 unit for the department. “It’s about preventing another drug addiction and possibly saving someone’s life,” said Schneeberger on why this issue was important to her. “This gift won’t solve the drug problem, but K9 Rita will assist the Sheriff’s Department in their enforcement efforts.”

K9 Rita is a three year old German Shepherd from Germany. She and Deputy Ryan Zide completed their 6 week Ohio Peace Officer Training certifications which included tracking, building and area searches, suspect apprehension, and narcotics detection. Rita not only holds the above certification through OPOTA, but nationally as well.

“Rita can detect drugs that are undetectable to the human nose,” said Deputy Zide. “This allows for greater detection of narcotics which in turn leads to more seizures, hopefully getting the drugs off the streets and significantly reducing the availability to first time drug users.”

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K9 Rita will enable the Sheriff’s Department to find, seize, and eliminate drugs that otherwise might go undetected in certain circumstances. “A K9’s sense of smell works much differently than a human’s,” said Deputy Zide. “When a pizza is baked, a human nose will smell the entire pizza. A K9 will instead smell every ingredient, separately. Applying this to vehicles or buildings, a human nose may smell the car as a whole where Rita will smell every item in the car and be able to distinguish narcotics from any masking odors.”

If the Sheriff’s Department can save at least one person from starting down the path of narcotics abuse, they know that K9 Rita will have greatly benefitted the community. However, the increased ability to locate drugs and seize drugs can go a long way in fighting and hopefully eliminating the drug problem in Washington County.

“By locating the drugs, the benefits are ten fold. For example, once once Rita Positively indicates there are narcotics (in a vehicle for example), we can now search that vehicle,” said Deputy Zide.

“When we recover the narcotics, we eliminate those from the stream of narcotics sales/use. But just as importantly, is the information we get from the seizure. Often times, we can obtain information from the suspect who possessed the narcotics such as his intent with the narcotics. This can lead to distribution areas or persons selling. Conversely, it can lead to information of who is bringing the narcotics into Washington County.”

For those interested in supporting K9 Rita and the Sheriff’s Department, donations can be made to the Washington County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Support Fund.

Marietta Community Foundation Awards More than $100,000 in Grants

The Marietta Community Foundation has awarded recipients of their second grant cycle this year. Grants were awarded to 15 applicants and totaled more than $100,000 from unrestricted and donor restricted funds, including three out of cycle requests.

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

“We were pleased to be able to offer three collaborative, out of cycle grants this fall, in addition to our second cycle grantees,” said Heather Allender, CEO. “Through these collaborations with regional foundations, local partners, and private donors, the Marietta Community Foundation was able to leverage donations to create an even larger impact for the community.”

Out of cycle grants included funding for an outdoor training facility for the Washington County Career Center, funding for the expansion of the Building Bridges to Careers’ Epicenter & Makerspace, and funding for one year of operational costs for the Washington County GoPacks program.

Additional Grantees Included:

  • Allohak Council, Boy Scouts of America
  • Marietta City Schools
  • Marietta Main Street
  • Marietta College
  • Gold Star Family’s Memorial Monument
  • O’Neill Senior Center, Inc.
  • Eve, Inc.
  • Habitat for Humanity of the Mid-Ohio Valley
  • Civil War Roundtable of the Mid-Ohio Valley
  • River Cities Symphony Orchestra Inc.
  • Marietta High School Alumni & Friends Foundation

Proposals for the second round of the 2017 grant cycle closed on October 1st. Final approval was decided by the Foundation’s Allocations Committee last month.

 The roof being constructed on a Habitat for Humanity House in Belpre, OH.

The roof being constructed on a Habitat for Humanity House in Belpre, OH.

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 appreciate the grant from MCF which will be used for a Habitat home to be built in the city of Belpre,” said Alvin Phillips, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of the Mid-Ohio Valley. “Our plans for 2018 include the construction of five Habitat for Humanity homes. Construction on a home in Vienna has started and plans are underway for a home on Greenhill Road outside Marietta. We are excited to engage even more volunteers as we continue to provide strength, stability and self-reliance though shelter.”

The next grant cycle will close on April 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 first 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.