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 britani@mcfohio.org.

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 heather@mcfohio.org.

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.

BBC Check.jpg

“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 heather@mcfohio.org.

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.

Sharing What Matters...

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

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

…With Our Partners

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

…With Our Donors

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

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

…With Our Grantees

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

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

…With Our Community

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

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

High School Students Build and Launch Wooden Kayak

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

MCF Awards More Than $50,000 in First Cycle

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

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

Spring Cycle Grantees Included:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MCF Awards Over $100,000 in Scholarships

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Relief Funds Awarded to Marietta Businesses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flooding in February

Flooding in February

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flooding at Boathouse BBQ

Flooding at Boathouse BBQ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Junior PioPitch Inspires Innovation

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

Financial Aid Workshop


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

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

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

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

A History of Collaboration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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