Foundations and Local Business Partner to Provide Food Amid High Demand

From Left to Right:  Heather Allender, President and CEO of Marietta Community Foundation; Mike Morrison, Store Manager of Warren’s IGA; Staci Matheney, Peoples Bank Foundation Chairperson and President

From Left to Right: Heather Allender, President and CEO of Marietta Community Foundation; Mike Morrison, Store Manager of Warren’s IGA; Staci Matheney, Peoples Bank Foundation Chairperson and President

Marietta, OH – As the government shutdown continues, agencies and institutions are making contingency plans to meet increased demands of public benefits and services. It was reported on January 16 in the Marietta Times, that governmental agencies in the Washington County area, who disperse Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs, SNAP, more commonly referred to as “food stamps,” are preparing local food pantries for increased demands.

This request for assistance did not fall on deaf ears. Marietta Community Foundation, Peoples Bank Foundation, Warren’s IGA, and Washington County Harvest of Hope, are partnering to donate and deliver $10,000 worth of food to local food pantries in Washington Co.

“This is a great example of different organizations working together for the common good,” said Mason Beuhring, Communications and Programs Services Director for Marietta Community Foundation. “As soon as we caught wind of this issue, Marietta Community Foundation immediately started working to ensure people would have access to food amid a potentially difficult time.”

"The Peoples Bank Foundation strongly supports this initiative because we know the impact that food insecurity has on the individuals and families in our communities," said Staci Matheney, Peoples Bank Foundation Chairperson and President. "We feel privileged to be a part of this effort to help those that are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the partial government shutdown."

Kin Brewer, owner of Warren’s IGA, is partnering to help leverage every dollar donated through his business. To maximize the impact of the $10,000, Brewer has agreed to supply the food at a highly discounted rate. “We at Warren’s IGA deeply care for this community. We are going to make every dollar count so people don’t go without food,” said Brewer.

Washington County Harvest of Hope, a local non-profit, is partnering to deliver the donated food to each food pantry in the area.

Marietta Community Foundation’s donated portion, for this out-of-cycle grant, will come from unrestricted funds. Unrestricted funds are donations given to Marietta Community Foundation to be used at the discretion of the Board of Directors to meet the needs of local non-profits.

Heather Allender, President and CEO of Marietta Community Foundation, said, “This is why unrestricted funds are so valuable to our community. These funds enable us to be efficient and proactive in times of urgency.”

The Marietta Community Foundation meets National Standards for operational 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.

If you would like to make an unrestricted donation to Marietta Community Foundation, or support local food pantries, please click the link below.

Meet the Board - Bret Frye, Chairman


Mason Beuhring, Communications and Program Services Director at Marietta Community Foundation, sits down with Bret Frye, owner of Frye Dental Group and newly appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors for Marietta Community Foundation, to get to know this prominent community figure.

Mason Beuhring: So, Bret, I am going to kick things off by asking, ‘What is your background?’

Bret Frye: I graduated at Warren High School, I’m a local kid. I was born in Columbus, but I’ve basically lived my entire life here [Washington County]. I went to college at Kenyon College and got a B.A. in Chemistry. From there I went to The Ohio State University College of Dentistry.

MB: Were there any prominent figures that impacted you early in your career?

BF: My work ethic is a result of the example of great effort and attention to detail that I saw from my parents, as I was growing up.

Out of my grad program, I started practicing with a guy named Doug McIntyre and he gave me a great start in my practice. I eventually started my own practice in 2001 and then I practiced with my brother for about 10 years, which was probably the highlight of my career. I now practice with Alaina Perry and she is very special… very talented and very smart.

MB: One of our primary messages at the Foundation is the ‘importance of leaving a legacy.’ Have you tried to model what Doug McIntyre did for you in your practice with any up-and-coming doctors in your field?

BF: When I started out, I was the ‘young guy’ in town and I got a great start from an older guy, as I mentioned before. Now I’m on the other end, I’m the ‘older guy’… I’ve had the advantage of getting John started and Alaina is with us now. So as a practice it has been very successful.


MB: So how long have you served with the Foundation’s Board of Directors? And, what has your experience been like?

BF: I’ve had a unique opportunity with the Foundation. I’ve been on the board for eight years, mostly with the Allocations Committee. Working with so many amazing and dedicated people has been a great experience.

MB: Are there any board members you have come to admire during your time on the board?

BF: Absolutely! Every time we [the board] get done with a meeting and Karen Osborne is there, I have learned something new. Karen actually looks through everything and grinds the numbers. She is just a great board member… I always use her as my example. She is my litmus test when it comes to board members.

MB: Are there any other past or current members of the board that have made an impact in your life?

BF: [When I first came on the board] I got to start with really good members like Mark Schwendeman. Just a really sharp guy, he is one of those guys who has 26 hour days… he gets so much done! I am grossly inefficient when compared to somebody like that.

Eric Erb, has a great knowledge of investments and has great people skills… the guy might know everybody, really.

Chip Riggs, he has a legal mind that is thoughtful. You know he doesn’t talk a lot, but it’s because he is listening. Then when he says something, it relevant because he doesn’t talk just to hear himself talk.

Teri Ann, she is a talented person that brought a very caring, Christian perspective to our decisions. She is also very business-minded and practical.

Kin Brewer, he is a good example of a leader that “just asks better questions”. He drills down on information like a bulldog.

Of course my predecessor as Chair of the board: Jennifer Christy. She is just a great example of someone who wants to engage and change this community for the better.

Honestly, there are just so many I could mention, but those are the few that come to mind. There has not been one board member that I have worked with, so far, where I think, “What do they add?” None of these people just "fill a seat."

MB: It’s great to hear that our board is very active. What are your thoughts about the other major component of the Foundation, the staff?

BF: This all filters up to Heather [Allender]. Heather has been the best thing that has happened to this Foundation. In terms of leadership, she has usually thought about every possibility about a decision before we even ask her. She's incredibly intelligent and has unique people skills. She does a great job of being strong and firm without being off-putting. In this position you can’t be a ‘bull in a China shop’ so to speak… you can’t be like me… She does a fantastic job for the Foundation and our community.

Brittani [Merritt] does a great job of making sure everything is running smoothly and orderly, she is a hard worker.

And, I'm excited by you being hired. I look forward to seeing how your talents benefit the Foundation and our community.

For our community to continue to grow and thrive, we need young and talented people. I think the staff at the Foundation fit that mold.

MB: I appreciate you saying that, thank you.

As I mentioned before, one of our main messages here is “leaving a legacy.” And from what I understand, this isn’t just a message you help promote, but something you have acted upon. Would you mind sharing a little bit about the funds you have established with the Foundation?

BF: We [my family] have a fund here, The Leslie Frye Foundation - Living with Cancer, in memory of my first wife who passed away due to complications with breast cancer. When she passed away we set up this foundation to send women, who have cancer, and their families on vacation. No expenses, we take care of everything.

It is important to create good memories for the family in such a difficult time. When someone goes through cancer, they are going to take a beating. Through chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, picclines, you name it, you are going to have some really tough days. So it is important to have something on your calendar that you can look forward to.

MB: Outside of your practice and serving with the Foundation, what other activities are you involved with?

BF: Well my kids go to St. Mary’s Catholic School and Williamstown. Two of my kids go to St. Mary’s so I coach the [boys] basketball team and I coach my son’s soccer team and my daughter’s soccer team. I’m real fortunate, we have five kids which make up our blended family.

I really enjoy spending time with my wife, Melissa, our 5 children, and our new puppy, Gracie.

MB: We will start to bring this to a close, I appreciate you being open to talk with me. One last question: What is your favorite thing to do in Washington Co.?

BF: I love to go to ballgames and go hiking out at Broughton’s. I enjoy spending time with friends and their families-we are really lucky to have this community. It's not perfect, but when friends from out of town come to visit, they are amazed at the closeness and friendliness we have here in Washington Co. It is still a great place to raise a family.

MB: Bret, I appreciate your time.

BF: Thank you, it was a pleasure.

Marietta Community Foundation Receives Largest Donation in Its History


Marietta, OH – The Marietta Community Foundation has received its largest donation in its 45 year history. Approximately 5.5 million dollars has been bequeathed to the foundation from the estate of Adriann “Arie” Janssens.

Heather Allender, Marietta Community Foundation CEO, said, “As stewards for our community’s philanthropic endowments, we look forward to honoring Mr. Janssens’s intent throughout our community for many years to come.”

Through his donation, Janssens desired to impact the lives of young students and the communities in which they reside. Before his passing on May 20, 2018, Janssens took the necessary steps to ensure these desires would become a reality. Through his partnership with Marietta Community Foundation, Janssens created two funds: The Carol Christy Scholarship and the R. Neil and Doris Christy Community Fund.

The Carol Christy Scholarship was created in honor of Janssens’s late wife, Carol Christy. This scholarship will be available to graduating seniors attending a Washington County High School who plan to obtain an undergraduate degree from a four-year institution. For eligible students, the Christy Scholarship can help offset up to 50 percent of overall tuition and fee costs for up to four years.

Janssens established the R. Neil and Doris Christy Community Fund in honor of Carol’s parents. This fund is an Unrestricted Fund and will be used to meet the needs of the community of Washington County.

Restricted Funds, such as the Christy Scholarship, are funds dedicated for a specific group or purpose established by the donor. Unrestricted Funds, such as the Christy Community Fund, are donations given to an organization to be used at its discretion as needs or emergencies arise in the community.

“It is always appreciated when we receive a donation of any kind,” said Bret Frye, Chair of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, “but it is always special when we receive a donation marked ‘Unrestricted.’ That means this donor trusts our integrity as individuals and as an organization. They trust we will put the community first. Their trust is not something we take lightly, it is of great value.”

Both Janssens and Christy valued educational advancement and hard work. Janssens, a native of the Netherlands, immigrated to the United States as a young adult. To pay for his own education, he worked multiple jobs while attending Kent State, where he would eventually complete a Bachelors degree in Geology. Janssens would then go on to complete Masters and PhD degrees in Earth Science at Ohio State University. He later became an expert in the subsurface geology of Ohio and created his own consulting business.

Christy, a graduate from Marietta High School, spent 30 years teaching Political Science at Ohio University - Lancaster. She became a leading authority in women’s participation in politics.

“This generous scholarship is truly a gift to our community and our local students,” Heather Allender commented, “This gift is a beautiful way to carry on the legacy of Adrie and Carol’s passion for education. We are incredibly honored and sincerely grateful to receive such a substantial bequest from Mr. Janssens in memory of his wife and her family. Something truly incredible happens with you name a charity in your estate plan. In doing so, you create a legacy that tells future generations what mattered to you; inspiring future generations to make a difference in their own way.”

The Marietta Community Foundation meets National Standards for operational 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.

Unrestricted donations to assist in funding grant applications, or restricted donations to support any other local need, may be made to the Foundation by contacting Heather Allender at 740-373-3286 or

10 Tips For Year-End Giving

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As the end of the year draws near, now is a great time for giving. When you make a donation to the Marietta Community Foundation, you aren’t just giving money—you are making a meaningful difference in your community. Here are ten ways to make the most of year-end giving!

1. Talk with your advisor

  • Before making a significant charitable gift, consult with your CPA, attorney or advisor to fully understand the impact on your taxes and estate.

2. Review your income

  • Take time to review and understand your tax liability for the year. Pay attention to unearned income and assets - were there significant changes? The answers may determine how much you want to give at the end of the year.

3. Explore employer gift matching programs

  • Talk with your employer to see if they offer a gift matching program that can increase the impact of your gift.

4. Give appreciated stock

  • If you would like to make a year-end charitable gift, consider giving appreciated stock. Selling stock will incur capital gains on the appreciation, but if you give stock as a charitable gift, you will receive a deduction for the current market value of the stock—just as you would with a cash gift.

5. Give before December 31st

  • A gift by check is complete when mailed or postmarked to the charitable recipient, even if not cashed until the following year. Online gifts or gifts by credit card are considered complete when your credit card account is charged. Gifts of stock or real estate are more complex, you should not wait until late December to make these gifts as it may be too late to make the necessary arrangements.

6. Get to know your local nonprofits

  • While there are many worthy organizations and causes, only donations to qualified 501(c)3 organizations are tax-deductible. If you decide to give through the Marietta Community Foundation, we will document the status of all nonprofits prior to making a gift on your behalf and our team can help you identify organizations that are qualified to receive your gift.

7. Do you have more than enough?

  • If you are receiving taxable income from retirement plan assets or life insurance policies, there are a number of tax-advantaged ways to make these assets work for you and the charitable organizations you support. For example, the Charitable IRA Rollover Act allows donors age 70 ½ or older to donate as much as $100,000 from their IRA without counting the distribution as income.

8. Make a plan

  • The Marietta Community Foundation can assist you in creating a giving plan and help you think strategically about how and to whom you give. Our staff will help to ensure that your donations make the greatest impact on the causes you care about, while maximizing tax advantages.

9. Let us work for you

  • Working with the Marietta Community Foundation gives you access to our staff's extensive knowledge of the local nonprofit community and the broad charitable needs of the Mid-Ohio Valley. We help you stay informed about the organizations you support and the effect your giving will have on the future of your community.

10. Bunch Charitable Contributions

  • The state and local tax deduction is now limited to $10,000 and the deduction for miscellaneous itemized deductions has been suspended. It may be beneficial to "bunch" multiple years of donations into one year and limit donations in the following year. This will enable you to itemize deductions in alternating years.

Honoring Exiting Board Members, Welcoming New Board Members

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The staff of the Marietta Community Foundation is on the front lines of serving the community of Washington County. However, behind the scenes is the Foundation’s Board of Directors, a group of prominent community leaders who help guide, oversee, and ensure the Foundation operates at its highest capacity.

President / CEO of the Foundation, Heather Allender, said, “It is imperative to have a strong and consistent Board of Directors. We value their leadership, input, and insight on how to better this community.”

As the New Year is on the horizon, the Foundation and its board members are preparing strategies to grow their abilities to promote positive impact in Washington County. Part of these preparations include bidding the exiting board members a fond farewell, and welcoming new additions.

The exiting board members include Arlene Archer, who has served ten years, Doug Robinson, who has served nine years, and Dee Wetz, who has served four years.

“Losing these [board] members is a huge loss, and I am sad to see them go,” said Allender. “But, for several years, each of them served this community to their best ability… I am proud to have gotten to work with them.”

In their honor, the Foundation has sponsored six children, two per exiting member, for the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program. The ATP provides gifts of new clothing and toys to thousands of children who otherwise might not have anything for Christmas. The Foundation’s honorary gift will go to children in the local Washington County community.

As a last act of charitable giving, the exiting members joined their remaining peers on the board and voted to grant $2,000 to Caring Connection, a local non-profit that assists families with utility payments through the holiday and winter season.

Although the Foundation is losing three key board members, they are proud to welcome three new prominent community figures to their ranks: Carol Schneeberger, Peoples Bank; Michael Buell, Retired, Buell & Sipe; and Ryan Elliott, Northwestern Mutual.

Bret Frye, owner of Frye Dental and 2019 Chair of The Foundation’s Board of Directors, said, “I am looking forward to this coming year. We have a strong group of people remaining on the board, and we have several strong new members. Working beside such talented people is a privilege… we are going to do some great things for this community.”

Along with the new additions, the remaining Board Members include:

  • Dr. Bret Frye, Frye Dental - 2019 Chair
  • Eric Erb, Peoples Bank - Vice Chair
  • Karen Osborne, Retired, Rea & Associates, Inc. - Treasurer
  • Marcy Wesel, Retired, Marietta Memorial Hospital - Secretary
  • Kin Brewer, Warren’s IGA, UPS Store
  • Jennifer Christy, Community Volunteer
  • Sally Evans, Community Volunteer
  • Roland “Chip” Riggs, Retired, City of Marietta*

“We at the Foundation are incredibly excited about what this New Year is going to bring. We have expanded our staff and plan to increase our presence in the community significantly,” said Allender.

The Marietta Community Foundation meets National Standards for operational 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 individuals.

Donations to assist in funding grant applications, or other local needs, may be made to the Foundation by contacting Heather Allender at 740-373-3286 or

Marietta Community Foundation Welcomes Mason Beuhring to Our Team!


In the past several years the Marietta Community Foundation has been able to achieve a growth unprecedented in our 45 year history. Because of our community’s generosity, we have been able to meet the needs of our community more efficiently and at higher rates.

With this accomplishment and for this pattern to continue, The Foundation and its Board of Directors recognized the need to expand its staff. We are proud and excited to welcome Mason Beuhring as our new Communications and Program Services Director.

“I am so excited and thankful for this position.” Mason said, “I love helping others and being active in my community. To be in a position where I can equip and assist others to do the same is a great privilege.”

Mason was born and raised in Huntington, WV. In December, 2014 he graduated from Marshall University with a Bachelors of Arts in Public Relations and a Minor in Marketing. He is continuing his education through Liberty University online, where he has started a Masters of Arts in Visual Communication.

While attending Marshall University in his undergrad, Mason, met his wife, Bethany, during his Sophomore year, her Freshman. The two would later get married while finishing up their undergrad degrees.

Bethany would go on to continue her educational career by completing a Masters in Athletic Training. In 2017, the couple welcomed their identical twin boys into the world: Gideon Beuhring and Judah Beuhring.

“I thought finding out Bethany was pregnant was a huge surprise,” said Mason,” but it was nothing compared to a week later when the doctor told Bethany that ‘there are two in there!’ I immediately started laughing, because we had joked at the possibility of twins on our way to the ultrasound… it was dramatic irony at its finest.”

Though the birth of their sons caught them off guard, the couple was thrilled… scared, but thrilled. With such a dramatic shift in their lives, the couple began to make plans, seek counsel, and rethink everything.

“For a long time I actually wanted to be a full-time vocational pastor. It’s actually what led me into the Communications field as a matter of fact. But, when Bethany found out she was pregnant with our boys, we had to rethink our entire life plan,” laughed Mason, “Eventually our new path led us to this area.”

Before moving to the area, Mason served at a church formerly called Marshall Community Fellowship as a Collegiate Ministry Intern. There he built strong relationships in the community and established a mentorship network with a local inner-city elementary school.

“Partnering with that Elementary school was an amazing experience, and I am proud to say years later it still continues! That experience taught me the true value of community engagement. I am excited to bring that energy and knowledge to this new position at the foundation. Plus, I thought it was a bit providential that Marietta Community Foundation had the same initials as Marshall Community Fellowship,” laughed Mason.

“One aspect of this job, at The Foundation, that excites me most is being able to go home and be proud of the work I am doing. I am excited to use my career as a teaching opportunity for my sons. I want to show them the importance of using our individual gifts, skills, and abilities for the betterment of others.”

Mason’s background includes a strong skillset in Graphic Design, Marketing, Verbal and Written Communication, Sales, and Relationship Building. Previously, he has worked Outside Sales and Marketing for The Workingman’s Store, Admissions Manager and Associate Director of Marketing at Ohio Valley University, and has freelanced for various institutions including Stonewall Group Retail Marketing.

He currently assists with the youth group, organizes the Small Group Bible Study Ministry, and serves as a Deacon at Vienna Baptist Church.

Mason claims that although he is a West Virginia boy at heart, he can’t wait to serve the Washington county area with the same vigor as he would his home state.

Mason Beuhring can be contacted at or 740-373-3286


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At the Marietta Community Foundation, we want to make sure our donors are getting the most out of their community investments. That is why we created our "Year-End Giving Guide" to help educate our past, present, and future donors!

Here are a few helpful tips to remember when giving back to your community this holiday season:

1. Open Or Add To A Donor Advised Fund

  • If you seek a tax deduction but aren’t sure which nonprofits you wish to support, consider opening a donor advised fund with MCF. You may claim an immediate tax deduction, but decisions on which specific nonprofits benefit may be deferred.

2. Use Appreciated Securities

  • The IRS allows a charitable tax deduction on the full fair market value of your gift if you have held the stock for more than 12 months. You may also avoid capital gains on the appreciated portion.

3. Leverage Charitable IRA Rollover

  • This provision was permanently enacted into law and enables donors age 70½ or older to donate up to $100,000 from their IRAs without first counting the distribution as income.

To take advantage of any of these tips and to save on the upcoming tax season, please contact The Foundation at 740-373-3286 or email Heather Allender, MCF President / CEO at

The Foundation will be closed December 24th and 25th.


Frontier Local Students Visit the Epicenter


Building Bridges to Careers, this summer, announced a new professional development series for local teachers to expand their network of support by tapping into other community networks. “The class is designed to expose teachers to innovative technology used in various employment sectors by teaching them to use the technology available in the Epicenter Makerspace and connecting it to the curriculum they teach,” said Tasha Werry, Building Bridges to Career Director.

Tasha hopes this connection will encourage teachers to connect their students to the technology through a field trip to the Epicenter. Participating teachers will have an opportunity to apply for a mini-grant supported by the Marietta Community Foundation to help cover transportation and/or material costs, as needed, which will aid their efforts to provide innovative projects and programs for their students in the future.

One such teacher, at Frontier Local Schools, received one of the mini-grants to send her 7th grade students to the Epicenter.


"The Building Bridges to Careers program has created so many wonderful projects for our students and families, but our remote location inhibits opportunities and exposure for our students." commented Kristi Leonard, Junior High School Math teacher with Frontier Schools. "Par Mar Stores, a local family and the Marietta Community Foundation have made it possible for Frontier to bus our students to the epicenter. For that we are grateful!"


“By connecting the teachers directly to the Foundation, they will be exposed to philanthropic efforts that support education and learn to tap into this resource for the benefit of their students,” Werry added.

The Foundation encourages teachers throughout all of Washington County School districts to apply for the mini-grant program for field trips to the Epicenter, as well as, for other projects within the schools.

A Season of Giving

Locally owned businesses undeniably play a major role in the vitality of the communities in which they are situated. From sustaining the local economy, to providing jobs to area residents, and supporting the community’s overall well-being, locally owned businesses truly appreciate and value their neighbors.

A prime example of such generosity can be found right here in the Mid-Ohio Valley. “Superior Toyota and the Hathaway Family are true champions for our region’s nonprofit organizations and charitable endeavors,” said Heather Allender, President & CEO of the Marietta Community Foundation (MCF). “Their support has helped to bring our community closer together by connecting individuals, non-profits and local businesses.”


For the past four years, Superior Toyota located on Seventh Street in Parkersburg, WV, has served as the lead sponsor for MCF’s “Grant Your Grant” nonprofit challenge, helping to leverage more than $61,000 in grant awards to Washington County nonprofits. The challenge, held during National Community Foundation Week (November 12th through the 18th annually), offers nonprofit organizations in Washington County, Ohio, the opportunity to win grant awards to further provide their services and meet the needs of the community.

While many community members may be familiar with our local non-profits, the challenge provides an added opportunity for them to obtain a newfound understanding of all that they do. Each of the participants agree that the “Grant Your Grant” Challenge is a very exciting and innovative way to engage the community and raise awareness about many of the active and deserving non-profits within the area.

Just this past week, Superior Toyota announced their support for the “Grant Your Grant” challenge again for next year.

“We are so grateful to Superior Toyota Hyundai for their generous donation,” Allender commented. “I’m eager to see what their continued generosity is able to accomplish throughout our community.”

Marietta Community Foundation hosted its 4th Annual Event yesterday evening, welcoming many donors and supporters across Marietta, Washington County and the Mid-Ohio Valley.

"Our partnerships are everything," commented Heather Allender, President & CEO, "Through our partnerships, we speak with one voice. We are heard."

For the second year in a row, the Foundation recognized three individuals, businesses and organizations for their outstanding contributions.


Ron and Louise Holmes receive the 2018 Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year for an individual or family. Louise is a past board member of the Foundation who has also assisted numerous local nonprofits and been involved in so many ways in the area. She is known for her creative thinking and willingness to help her community.

Additionally, the Holmes family has supported the Building Bridges to Career Epicenter and hold a variety of charitable funds with the Foundation.

Accepting the award on behalf of Solvay; Wally Kandel, Dean Booth and Nancy Horner

Accepting the award on behalf of Solvay; Wally Kandel, Dean Booth and Nancy Horner

Solvay Specialty Polymers received the 2018 Philanthropist of the Year for a business, recognizing their philanthropic impact on our community.

Since Solvay has joined their philanthropic efforts with the Foundation in October, 2016, we have helped them process more than 185 grants that have benefitted the entire Mid-Ohio Valley.

They are certainly a business that we can always count on for their generosity to our local nonprofits and individuals in need.


Tasha Werry, Executive Director of Building Bridges to Careers, was present to accept the 2018 Innovation in Grantmaking Award for her work in establishing the Epicenter Makerspace.

Even before opening the doors to the Epicenter in March, the Building Bridges to Careers program has done a great deal to further workforce development in our area. The Epicenter has welcomed; 8 small businesses in the incubator, provided coaching services to 24 businesses, and created 20 jobs for local businesses.

Not only does the Epicenter provide services and training for new or growing businesses, they also offer classes throughout each month on painting, laser cutting, 3D printing and so much more. In fact, the vases for the centerpieces at the event, were created using 3D printers.


In addition to their outstanding efforts, our awardees this year all highlight the importance of collaboration. Partnerships like these help us pool resources, make more connections to address the greatest community needs, and bring the whole community together.

Community Collaboration Benefits Marietta College PA Program

As the landscape of the American healthcare system continues to change, the profession of physician assistant (PA) has become one of the most in-demand jobs in the nation. Physician Assistants have become a trusted caregiver and often serve as a patient’s primary healthcare provider. With only 200 accredited programs across the nation, the area is fortunate to be served by the Marietta College Physician Assistant program.

The Marietta Community Foundation and the Memorial Health Foundation recently partnered with the PA program to purchase a new ultrasound system for use in their campus facility. This collaborative effort will further provide a more in-depth, quality education for students enrolled in the program and improve access and quality of care for the citizens of Washington County.

“Working together on this project is a win-win for our community,” noted Daneka Hedges, Executive Director of the Memorial Health Foundation. “We strive to help grow a healthier community and this project supports our mission.”

The PA program graduated its first class in 2004. Since then, their contributions to the community have affected thousands of residents. During the course of their 2-year program, students work with physicians from Marietta Health System (MHS), Camden Clark, and Southeast Ohio Regional Medical Center. They also complete clinical experiences with providers at the Washington County Free Clinic, Selby (MHS) ER, and the MHS in-patient rehabilitation unit. By the end of the program, students complete over 2,100 clinical hours with area providers. Additionally, almost 70% of every graduating class provides patient care in Ohio and/or the Appalachian region.

Photo Courtesy of Marietta College

“The Foundation is proud to be part of this community collaboration,” said Heather Allender, President and CEO of the Marietta Community Foundation.

“When we all work together, we can make a bigger difference for our area and play a key role in solving community issues.”

The Marietta Community Foundation continues to be an advocate for a strong sense of community. Identifying and supporting community needs such as healthcare through grant cycles, unrestricted funds, and other gifts made to the Foundation help improve the quality of life for residents.

What Community Foundations Contribute

For 29 years, community foundations have been recognized throughout America during National Community Foundation week. Established in 1989 by former president George H.W. Bush, the week brings together more than 800 community foundations to help raise awareness of their efforts to address local needs. Coinciding with National Philanthropy Day, November 15th, this year’s event will span the 12th through the 18th.

Ohio is the birthplace of the community foundation. Since the introduction of the first community foundation more than 100 years ago in Cleveland, the concept has multiplied and spread throughout regions, states, and countries to become a global philanthropic staple. Community foundations strengthen the nation one community at a time. They provide a means for donors to establish permanent funds that address critical needs, either by specifying a personal fund devoted to an ongoing concern or donating without restrictions so needs can be addressed as they arise.

One of the fastest-growing forms of philanthropy, community foundations exist in each state across the country. They are independent, public, non-profit entities that act as philanthropic advisors to institutional and individual donors. Community foundations steward resources from these donors to their local non-profits or individual community members depending on public need. They serve their local communities – the city, county, or region in which they operate – exclusively and address a range of social issues or community problems. Because of this focus, community foundations strive to bring together local partners and strengthen their impact by creating collaborative solutions.


Community Foundations who meet the Council of Foundations’ National Standards for operational quality, donor service, and accountability earn the rigorous National Standards Seal. These community foundations are certified for excellence in financial security, transparency, and responsible philanthropic decision-making. They are skilled in working with private citizens, local corporations, outside foundations, government agencies, and more. They accept gifts of any size and design giving plans that fit every situation. As philanthropic advisors, community foundations maximize the benefits of giving for both the donor and the community. They collaborate with attorneys and other financial experts to maximize charitable contribution tax deductions and other possible estate benefits for donors during the giving process. Through their network of community partners, they work to connect like causes, pool resources, and alert existing donors to causes of interest to ensure the greatest community impact.

Pairing Up for Good. Women's Giving Circle Hosts Nonprofit Speed Dating.

The Washington County Women’s Giving Circle (WGC) held their Nonprofit Speed Dating event on October 11 at the Betsy Mills Club in downtown Marietta. The purpose of the event was to allow local nonprofit organizations the opportunity to introduce themselves and share with members of the WGC their needs to help the community.

Representatives from each organization had nearly ten minutes to detail their proposals at six different stations. Following the event, the WGC selected one organization to receive a $250 mini-grant, donated by the Marietta Community Foundation. The nonprofit organizations participating included the Betsy Mills, Boys & Girls Club, GoPacks, O’Neill Senior Center, Salvation Army, and the Washington County Health Dept.

Formed in late 2016, the Women’s Giving Circle seeks to educate, inspire and increase the number of women committed to philanthropy in order to strengthen Washington County. The Women’s Giving Circle accepts grant applications for local nonprofits, volunteer and educational organizations, and projects that assist women and children in the area. Applications for the next grant cycle are due January 8, 2019.

Visit the Women’s Giving Circle website for further information regarding their grant application process.

Frontier Elementary Schools to Sport New Phys Ed Equipment


Elementary students in the Frontier Local School District will soon be seeing new equipment in their physical education classes thanks to the teamwork of teacher Johnny Schmidt and the Marietta Community Foundation. Schmidt recently applied for funding to further develop his physical education program. He is looking to purchase items such as Bocce sets, Duracoat activity balls, portable nets, lacrosse goals, and table tennis equipment. Over 350 future Cougars will be impacted by this grant. Mr. Schmidt teaches Kindergarten through Sixth Grade at both Newport and New Matamoras Elementary.

“I am absolutely blown away by the Foundation for aiding in the overall health and well-being of the kids in the Frontier District,” said Schmidt “I have a limited budget to meet the needs of my students. This will go a long way to helping provide equipment and supplies.

Heather Allender, President and CEO of the Marietta Community Foundation, was pleased to support this request. “The Foundation firmly supports the advancement of education in our area and so do many of our donors that have set up education related funds. This grant was made possible through the Joseph & Luada Wesel Family Foundation for Children of Washington County Fund and the Jim Christy Fund for Kids.”

Click the link below for more information on how you can team up with the Marietta Community Foundation.

Youth Advisory Committee Recruiting New Members

For middle and high school students looking to make a difference in their community, the Washington County Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is a great first step. The YAC, a companion group of the Marietta Community Foundation, was created in 2016 to support youth by developing their knowledge of philanthropy, skills for improving their community through service learning, and resources for implementing youth-focused, youth-led service projects.

“The best way to empower youth is to help them embrace their ability to make a difference and help others,” said Britani Merritt, Advisor for the Council and Support Services Assistant at the Marietta Community Foundation. “Teaching youth the importance of helping others and taking care of the world around them is an essential part of building character. It is also important to encourage them to think about what they want to do to make the world a better place so they can truly understand the power of their actions.”

The YAC is comprised of eager students from all across Washington County. For their first project, the group focused on assisting incoming foster children with the transition to their new foster families. This year, the students are collecting supplies and purchasing materials to install four Little Free Libraries throughout Washington County, which will house books for teens as well as hygiene products. Students fundraised and applied for a grant to purchase the supplies, collected donations, met with each community to identify a location and request approval, and painted the libraries. Next month, the libraries will be installed in Vincent, Lowell, Beverly, and New Matamoras.

Participating students learn about the needs in Washington County, how nonprofit organizations work, and the importance of giving back. “The YAC is a perfect place to encourage role modeling, helping children find their philanthropic voice and much more,” said Merritt. “YAC provides an opportunity for youth from schools across the area to build skills in leadership. Essentially, we are training young philanthropists to truly make an impact in areas they care about.”

“I joined the Youth Advisory Council because I wanted to meet other people who wanted to do good in the community around me and learn how to be a better philanthropist,” said Jared Farnsworth, a student at Frontier School District.

Ryleigh Barrett, a student at Belpre High School, said, “The YAC has been a perfect place for me to practice my leadership skills while also giving back to the community I love.”

While each school district offers service-based clubs and groups, the YAC brings students together from different schools to work on projects that impact the whole county. “YAC opens up their eyes to a world or people who live right near them, and teaches youth how to collaborate with others, voice their opinions, and bond through service,” said Merritt. “I love seeing the change in the members throughout the program. They are confident young people with a newfound set of skills, knowledge, and self-worth.” The YAC is open to all middle school and high school students in Washington County and new members are accepted at any time. You can follow the YAC on Facebook for updates.

The Youth Advisory Council meets every other Wednesday evening from 6:30 - 7:30pm at the Marietta Community Foundation Office. Interested in Joining? Contact Britani Merritt at (740) 373-3286 or via email at

Local Literacy Efforts Take Root

Even with the amenities of modern technology, nothing can replace the feeling of opening a book and turning that first page. An investment in literacy can nurture a love of reading that positively impacts a student’s academic and professional career for decades. Through agency funds, donor advised funds, and unrestricted giving, the Marietta Community Foundation has supported a number of local literacy programs and initiatives helping the children of our community to build a strong foundation for education and success.

One such program is the Washington County Chapter of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth until they begin school in participating communities across the globe. “The Imagination Library is a great way to foster a child’s love of reading very early on,” said Heather Allender, CEO of the Marietta Community Foundation. “Children who receive the monthly books and begin reading at a young age tend to score higher on reading tests than those students not enrolled in the program.”

Research shows that academically, children growing up in homes without books are on average three years behind children in homes with lots of books, even when controlled for other key factors. One of the most successful ways to improve a child’s reading achievement is to increase their access to books, but 61% of low-income families do not have any age appropriate books for their kids at home.


Families enrolled receive a different age-appropriate, expert-selected book each month at no cost, regardless of the family’s income. The Washington County chapter currently has the capacity to serve 75 local children each year, with room to grow. “It is our goal to be able to enroll every child five and younger in this terrific program,” said Allender.  To help the program expand and reach more area children, those interested can make a donation to the Marietta Community Foundation to support the Imagination Library program. It only takes $25 to support one child per year, or $125 for one child to complete the entire program. 

Literacy is also an important cause to the Foundation’s two companion groups: the Women’s Giving Circle and the Youth Advisory Council. After receiving a grant from the Women’s Giving Circle earlier this year, the Youth Advisory Council purchased and prepared four Little Free Libraries to be installed across Washington County in early fall. Student members of the YAC collected donations of young adult books as well as sanitary items, hygiene items, and school supplies to stock the libraries. “This project will help everyone in the community, no matter the age, which is the ultimate goal of the YAC,” said Halle Richards, Secretary/Treasurer of the YAC.


Little Free Library is a national nonprofit that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges. By installing these tiny libraries throughout the county, the YAC hopes to increase access to books and other key items for local teens and families.

To further encourage area youth, members of the Youth Advisory Council will be volunteering alongside the Marietta Kiwanis Club this week to set up and host a Storybook Park event on the Armory Lawn during First Friday: Once Upon a Time. Storybook Park brings books to life through reading stations and hands-on activities, and sends each child home with a free book. The YAC is proud to partner with the Kiwanis to promote reading and youth philanthropy during First Friday.

The generosity and support of donors for important causes like literacy truly changes lives and keeps our area strong. To make a difference and support a cause that inspires you, contact Heather Allender, CEO of The Marietta Community Foundation at (740) 373-3286 or

Building Bridges to Careers Meets Match and Launches New Grant Program

Since its launch in 2012, Building Bridges to Careers (BB2C) has grown its capacity and impact, making great strides in strengthening community networks and bridging the gap between education and employment for local students and residents. In 2017, after years of deliberation and planning, BB2C launched the Epicenter, a business incubator designed to engage local high school students and expose them to an entrepreneurial environment. Originally housed in the Armory, the Epicenter expanded last fall to move across the river into the Tenney Building on Lancaster Street, thanks in part to support from the Ross Foundation, the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and Regional Affiliates, and a matching donation of $15,000 from the Marietta Community Foundation. With the new location, the Epicenter had room to grow and introduce a new makerspace and learning labs.

Building Bridges to Careers is excited to announce that the match has been met through generous donations from the community. The additional $15,000 will allow the organization to continue meeting its mission to improve the collective economic opportunity through preparing young learners for lifelong economic mobility and security.

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“Each BB2C project begins as a pilot to test and validate the concept. This has been the case with the Epicenter as we started in the Armory with space for three incubated businesses,” said Pamela Lankford, the Epicenter Director. “We have now grown to five incubated businesses and the addition of the makerspace. However, neither the pilot nor the expansion to Lancaster Street could have happened without the financial support and donations of furniture and equipment from both individuals, businesses and organizations.”

Pamela says that the Epicenter strives to be responsive to the needs of the community while zeroing in on their goal of creating successful students and prosperous communities. “Because we start small, solicit feedback and make adjustments, we aim to show our stakeholders that we are good stewards of their donations and are fiscally prudent.” It is this stewardship that will allow the Epicenter to expand once again. BB2C will host an announcement celebration later this month, on July 27th from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Marietta Brewing Company to share the good news.

The organization is also excited to announce a new professional development series for local teachers to expand their network of support by tapping into other community networks. “The class is designed to expose teachers to innovative technology used in various employment sectors by teaching them to use the technology available in the Epicenter Makerspace and connecting it to the curriculum they teach,” said Tasha Werry, Building Bridges to Career Director.

Tasha hopes this connection will encourage teachers to connect their students to the technology through a field trip to the Epicenter. Participating teachers will have an opportunity to apply for a mini-grant supported by the Marietta Community Foundation to help cover transportation and/or material costs, as needed, which will aid their efforts to provide innovative projects and programs for their students in the future. “By connecting the teachers directly to the Foundation, they will be exposed to philanthropic efforts that support education and learn to tap into this resource for the benefit of their students,” Tasha said.

Building Bridges to Careers and the Epicenter are still seeking funders to ensure the success of future expansion and new programs. Donations to support this program can be made through the Marietta Community Foundation.

For the month of July, Building Bridges to Careers is also the recipient of Marietta Brewing Company’s Community Pints event. For every pint purchased on Fridays throughout the month, $1 is donated to the organization. BB2C staff members and volunteers will be present each Friday evening from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. to share information and updates on the organization and the many programs they offer to area students and the community.

Cultivating Beauty in the Mid-Ohio Valley

Expedia’s “Most Beautiful Towns in America Part 2,” published last month, touches on something instantly apparent to residents and visitors of Marietta alike – our community’s beauty runs deep. The Mid-Ohio Valley’s beauty comes from our natural surroundings and historic charm but it is not without hard work and maintenance.

The Marietta Community Foundation assists with efforts to enhance our area beauty whenever possible. With our first grant cycle this year, the Foundation was able to support two beautification initiatives that both have a huge impact on our area: the Marietta in Bloom project and the Marietta Main Street Downtown Beautification Project.

The volunteer effort Marietta in Bloom has been going strong for more than four years now. Their efforts have brought together countless volunteers who keep the program’s eight gardens and planting areas looking full and beautiful.


Flood waters earlier this year had a big impact on some of the downtown planting areas, including the Sacra Via walking garden. Topsoil was washed away and replaced with inches of river mud. In addition to standard ongoing maintenance, including mulching, weeding, and reseeding, the walking garden will need to be monitored throughout the remainder of the year to assess how many perennials may need to be replaced.

Funds awarded to Marietta in Bloom from the Foundation’s this grant cycle will help rejuvenate the Sacra Via walking garden and allow the group to purchase other basic supplies for the year.

Where to See Beauty Blooming

Marietta in Bloom gardens can be found in the following locations:

  • Harmar – at the intersection of Fort Harmar Drive on Route 7 and Market Street.
  • Big Lots – located around the ‘Marietta 1788’ brick entrance sign.
  • Triangle – at the intersection of Muskingum Drive and Front Street, near Marietta Memorial Hospital.
  • Colegate – located around the ‘Marietta 1788’ brick entrance sign.
  • Valley Gem – two raised planters adjacent to the parking lot.
  • Sacra Via – the walking garden near the intersection of Sacra Via Street and the River Trail.
  • Fair and Front – the raised planting bed.

Marietta Main Street oversees the beautification efforts of the entire downtown district. In addition to the annual flower baskets, the program recently completed updates to the Gateway Park/Harmar Village sign located on the corner of Front Street and Butler. Local artist Lisa Bammerlin finished painting the Gateway sign earlier this month using vibrant violets that make it pop against its surroundings. The sign itself has also been updated. One side of the signage now features a map to improve downtown walking experiences as well as a brief history of Marietta. The other side showcases a list of annual area events, a community bulletin board and a section about Harmar Village.


Gateway Park/Harmar Village Sign Features at a Glance

  • Walking Map
  • History of Marietta
  • Annual Events
  • Community Bulletin Board
  • About Harmar Village

“These efforts, and many more, keep our historic downtown area beautiful and welcoming,” said Heather Allender, President and CEO of the Marietta Community Foundation.

Supporting area beautification through grant cycles, unrestricted funds, volunteer efforts and other gifts made to the Foundation helps brighten the moods of residents and attracts new visitors to the Mid-Ohio Valley. Extra touches like our flowers, gateway signs, and the downtown mural series all enhance Marietta’s natural beauty and keep our downtown area thriving.

Theater Friend Starts Fund for MOVP Junior Players

Inspired by the passion and dedication of Marlene B. Somerville, a local donor has established the Marlene B. Somerville Memorial Fund for the Mid-Ohio Valley Players’ Junior Players outreach program.

Marlene B. Somerville passed away at age 75 on March 13th, 2017. A long-time supporter of the arts, Marlene was an actress and director for the Mid-Ohio Valley Players for 49 years. She founded the Junior Players in 1981, providing the opportunity for children and youth between the ages of 8 and 16 to experience, learn and participate in local theater. A former teacher at North Hills Elementary School, Marlene was passionate about exposing children to the theater and continued to direct the group for 35 years.

Each year, the Junior Players present a summer production. After the age of 16, the children have the opportunity to continue their interest in theater by participating in the Youth Theater which involves older children through the 12th grade.

“No matter what, Marlene would find a part – or create a new part – so that every child who auditioned had the chance to participate,” said the donor.  “ The children not only learn to perform on stage, they learn backstage etiquette and responsibility, such as being on time for rehearsals, keeping track of their props and costumes, helping build sets, and cooperation with others.  The children form bonds which sometimes last a lifetime.  A few have even gone on to careers in professional theater.”

Kay Davis Doak, close friend and assistant director to Marlene since the formation of Junior Players, has taken over the reins and, with the help of this fund, will continue to offer children the opportunity to experience live theater.

The Marlene B. Somerville Memorial Fund will support the Junior Players and aid in the production costs of any MOVP play performed by or for children. 

To support this fund make a donation to the Marlene B. Somerville Memorial Fund at the Marietta Community Foundation. For more information, contact Heather Allender, CEO, at (740) 373-3286 or

Approved Grants Strengthen Summer Activities for MOV Students

Our first grant cycle awarded 18 grants to area nonprofit initiatives that ranged from beautification efforts to emergency discretionary funds for domestic violence survivors. As we get more applications each cycle, we see the diversity of need in the Mid-Ohio Valley as well as the similarities. Among the recipients of this grant cycle were four organizations who share similar missions to help improve the lives of our area children and adolescents, the Boys and Girls Club of Washington County (BGCWC), the Washington County 4-H Council, the Christian Youth in Action (MOV Work Camp) and the iBelieve Foundation.

The BGCWC welcomes elementary and middle school kids from all over the MOV. Particularly during the summer months, they rely on the ability to transport program participants to and from a variety of enriching activities. Yet their existing minivan was only able to safely transport 5 students at a time. The Club offers engaging activities to help participants learn new talents and life skills while making friends.  Over the summer, kids have a new activity or program every hour. This year, participants can look forward to tennis, summer learning loss prevention activities, the Gardening and Healthy Habits Program offered through collaboration with The Ohio State University Extension Office and more. Their grant for a new, 15 passenger van enables them to better complete their mission to never turn a child away as it means they can more easily offer transportation to those who need it. The new van also helps improve safety while lowering overhead costs like gas and maintenance.


The Washington County 4-H Council’s local Robotics Club gives middle school students the chance to explore STEM related critical thinking, design, collaboration and creativity. Through their funding award, the local 4-H Robotics Club purchased two LEGO Education EV3 Sets which will help support students through providing core materials and tutorials.

“The 4-H program Robotics Club teaches basic concepts related to robotic subsystems, such as structure, power, sensors, control and programming,” said Bruce Zimmer, 4-H Youth Development and Extension County Director. “We are excited to introduce hands-on robotics activities with the new EV3 LEGO kits.”

The Christian Youth in Action, or MOV Work Camp, initiative brings together approximately 450 volunteers of teens and adults to paint 25 homes in just 4 days. Groups of 10-12 teens with between 2-3 adult supervisors spend a combined 18,000 hours painting houses for elderly and underprivileged residents. The effort is all about giving back to those in need. Now in their 20th year, the nonprofit initiative has painted 600 houses to date and helped teach invaluable lessons of collaboration and philanthropy, as well as work skills, to area adolescents. Grant funding for the project enables the purchase of supplies to help keep this effort primed for success.


The iBelieve project collaborates with all Washington County school districts, the Washington County Behavioral Board and volunteers from the Mid-Ohio Valley to provide immersive opportunities designed to strengthen transferrable skills for college and career success. The three-year program provides summer camps, as well as leadership activities and mentorship, from 10th through 12th grade at no cost to students.

The three-year camp helps teach “good communication skills and the value of appreciating peers for who they are,” said one participant. “The program allows everyone to step outside of their comfort zone and be themselves. It is a great camp with great people” 

The grant enables iBelieve camp participation from 13 additional Washington County students, bringing Washington County membership to a total of 37 this year. During the summer camp, students spend 5 days and 4 nights on a regional college campus where they become familiar with campus living, gain experiential learning and hone skills necessary for successful futures. The program boasts an impressive 97% success rate of program alumni who are currently enrolled in or graduates of a higher education program.


With sizzling hot days and nights filled with the soft flicker of fireflies the lazy, hazy days of summer are fully upon us now. But for our area kids that does not mean there is a lack of things to do. As the days grow longer and hotter, our area children and teens are given new opportunities to fill up their summer with fun and meaningful activities offered by nonprofits like these.

The Marietta Community Foundation awarded nearly $55,000 this grant cycle. Of that amount, more than $45,000 came from Unrestricted Funds with the remaining amount comprised of various donor funds. The Foundation has been lucky to see the continued growth of our Unrestricted Fund, yet we also continue to see community needs grow. While we were able to provide much needed funding to many great applicants this cycle, there were still needs we were not able to meet.

The decision to approve a grant is both rewarding and fulfilling. As a Community Foundation we look to our Unrestricted Funds to help meet area needs during our grant cycles and as emergencies arise organically throughout the year. While we take pride in the rise of grant cycle funds we have awarded over the years, we also recognize that there are still needs that go unmet. Through the continued support of our donors we know that we can continue to narrow this gap. Together we can grow stronger. Together we can change lives.