MASON — At this week’s Community Celebration event, the Mason County Community Foundation (MCCF), celebrated the success of its year-long Build a Fund for…Your Community Program, and presented $61,600 of fall 2015 Community Action Grant awards to 12 local organizations, schools and churches at the annual event.
In the spring, the MCCF, an affiliate of the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF), partnered with community matching sponsors to offer a unique challenge opportunity to Build a Fund…for Your Community. This challenge program encouraged donors (individuals, businesses and support groups for nonprofits) to build permanent local funds to support and improve the community. The program offered donors $1 in matching funds for every $2 contributed (up to $5,000) to MCCF to create of build permanent community funds that improve Mason County. Matching funds for the challenge program in the amount of $12,500 were provided by the Gordon & Mildred Jackson Foundation Fund; Robert & Louise Claflin Foundation; City National Bank; Farmers Bank; Ohio Valley Bank; Mid-Atlantic Construction; and City Ice & Fuel.
“MCCF’s volunteers administered the first Build a Fund Program last year to celebrate MCCF’s 10th anniversary. It was so successful that they offered it for a second year,” said Jane Winters, PACF Manager of Regional Affiliates. “We are thrilled with the level of community sponsorship support for the 2015 program.”
The three new MCCF funds created with the 2015 Build a Fund Program include: the Point Pleasant River Museum & Learning Center Operations Support Fund; the Mason County Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Fund; and the Rick & Tanya Handley Charitable Fund which will provide grants to local nonprofits to address a wide variety needs in the county. The two small existing funds that took advantage of the Build a Fund matching funds to significantly grow their organizational support funds are: the Pleasant Valley Hospital Foundation Support Fund and the Main Street Point Pleasant Support Fund.
With the addition of this year’s new funds, the Mason County affiliate now holds 32 funds that are dedicated for scholarship and grant support for Mason County. MCCF’s permanent, charitable funds are established by local donors, individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations. Each year a portion of the fund’s earnings are used to generate annual scholarships and local community grants. Some funds are dedicated to support specific organizations or causes like the River Museum; others provide support for fields of interest like education or health, while others provide scholarship support, often in memory or honor of special people from the community, for local students. Once the fund reaches endowment (a minimum amount of $5,000 – $25,000 depending on the type of fund), these funds will forever provide annual grants and scholarships for today’s residents as well as those in the generations to follow.
The Mason County Community Foundation’s Community Celebration Benefit theme was titled “Building a Firm Foundation for Mason County.” Missi Scarberry, Ohio Valley Bank, and Bob McMillan, Mid-Atlantic Construction, donated items to carry out the building theme for the 2015 Build a Fund for Your Community Program Celebration & Fall Grant Reception. Peoples Bank served as the 2015 Community Celebration Benefit Sponsor.
Jane Winters, Regional Affiliates Manager for the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, and Mario Liberatore, Mason County Community Foundation Board Chair delivered comments. Dr. Stephen Rerych, served as the guest speaker; MCCF fall grants were awarded; sponsors and donors of 2015 Build a Fund Program were honored ; and an auction of items donated by community supporters was held providing $3,500 for the Mason County Community Grant Fund.
Mario Liberatore reported that the Mason County Community Foundation (MCCF) has a total of 32 community funds which are valued at $4.5 million. During 2015, MCCF awarded $142,621 in grants and scholarships from its permanent community funds. The Foundation issued $38,050 in scholarships to 41 worthy students – And provided community grants valued at $104,571 for a wide variety of community projects and programs. This is a very impressive show of support for a county the size of Mason County, according to MCCF staff.
After the Build a Fund Program exhausted its matching funds and fulfilled its challenge of building and creating five community funds, another new fund was added. The Lois B. Shinn Memorial Scholarship Fund was established early this fall to serve as legacy to a very special local educator. Next spring this new permanent scholarship fund will begin to provide annual scholarships for Mason County high school graduates who have previously attended Leon Elementary School and are in need of financial assistance for college tuition. The Shinn Family says it is proud to know that this permanent scholarship fund will forever support the youth of our community in Lois Shinn’s memory.
For more information on this year’s grant recipients, see adjacent story. Information for this article provided by Jane Winters of PACF.