Marion Community Foundation awards over $73,000 in mid-year grants

Awards have been made in Marion Community Foundation’s mid-year grants cycle.  According to Foundation president and CEO, Dean Jacob, more than $73,000 was awarded to 19 local charities.

“We were pleased to offer this first-time mid-year grants program at Marion Community Foundation,” said Jacob. “Our goal is to help our local non-profit agencies enhance the quality of life.”

Jacob noted that need continues to outstrip the awards available. The Foundation made the mid-year applications available in early January and received 39 applications, totaling $247,000 in requests, by the February 5 deadline.

”We were able to fund approximately one-third of the requests,” said Jacob. “While this is good and consistent with our annual competitive grants program, it continues to be obvious that new funds are needed and always welcome at Marion Community Foundation.”

According to Program Manager Julie Prettyman, the grant selection committee strives to fund projects that positively impact the quality of life in Marion. This round of grants targeted education, employment, social services, and community enhancement projects.

“Several unique programs made applications for the mid-year grants,” she said.

Among the projects funded was the Crawford-Marion ADAMH Board’s Drug-Free Work Initiative.  A grant of $3,000 for this program was made from the R&C Fund at Marion Community Foundation.

According to ADAMH’s Jody Demo-Hodgins, the Drug Free Work Initiative is an effort to increase the economic of local businesses by growing a drug free workforce. The program will be facilitated by Working Partners, an organization that specializes in training for drug free workplace programs. The effort is aimed at helping businesses to intervene with individuals whose substance abuse is getting in the way of getting or keeping a job, and includes classroom education and development of individualized drug free workplace policies.

“This project includes identification of at least 5 local employers to participate in the Drug Free Work Place Initiative pilot project,” said Demo-Hodgins. “We will work with the Marion Area Chamber of Commerce to recruit potential participants.”

“With this grant, Marion Community Foundation hopes to help address the drug abuse problem facing Marion area businesses,” said Prettyman.

Recognizing the importance of education, Marion Community Foundation awarded $12,000 from the Robert M. & Dorothy C. Wopat Community Fund to Marion Technical College (MTC) for the school’s Workforce Connections program.

According to MTC’s Bob Haas, “Marion Technical College wants to improve the connection between workforce needs and students’ career choices.”  The grant will allow them to add a career coach and a product called EMSI.

“EMSI facilitates access to online labor market data specific to the Marion area — information about projected job openings, starting wages, median wages, job growth, industry trends, and education requirements for specific occupations,” said Haas.  “State and federal reporting sources do not provide the detail we need. We want to provide information about local employment opportunities and realistic employment projections. This will help MTC determine which programs to offer and will help students decide which careers to pursue.”

The grant to MTC is consistent with Bob Wopat’s intentions when he and his wife created their funds at Marion Community Foundation, noted Jacob. “Bob told us that he hoped his gift would provide for Marion’s future,” said Jacob. “We believe that promoting job growth is a great way to do this.”

Another grant will support a beautification project by Downtown Marion, Inc.  They received a grant of $2,500 from the Robert M. & Dorothy C. Wopat Community Fund.

“One of the comments we hear most often is that our downtown doesn’t look very pretty. Community members and visitors alike tell us that the sidewalks often look unkempt,” said Beth Meadows. “Understanding that a clean, aesthetically pleasing downtown area is important to our community, Downtown Marion, Inc., has set about creating a plan to improve the look of the area by cleaning, filling and maintaining the more than 25 flower beds that are in the downtown area.”

The grant from Marion Community Foundation will provide resources to maintain downtown planters. Downtown Marion has identified organizations interested in providing a volunteer labor pool for the upkeep of the planters throughout the season. Weather permitting, the project will start in early April.  Additional volunteers may call 740-383-8650 for more information.

Other recipients and awards are as follows:

  • Boys & Girls Club of Marion County, $6,000 from the R&C Fund in support of air conditioning units for their gymnasium;
  • LaRue Community Alliance, $5,000 from the Health Care Fund for improvements to the walking trail at Larue Park;
  • Logos Christian Ministries, $5,000 from the R&C Fund to support an after-school program giving students access to computers;
  • Marion Area Counseling Center, Inc., $4,000 from the R&C Fund to support the Victims Assistance Office;
  • Marion Community Food Development, Inc., $1,000 in capital support from the Robert M. & Dorothy C. Wopat Community Fund for community garden projects;
  • Marion County Children’s Services, $2,000 from the R&C Fund in support of their Ridin’ Safely program;
  • Marion County Family Court, $4,800 from the Robert M. & Dorothy C. Wopat Community Fund in support of the C.A.R.E.F.I.T. Center;
  • Marion County Special Olympics, $2,465 from the Robert M. & Dorothy C. Wopat Community Fund in support of the Marion County Special Olympics’ soccer program;
  • Marion Family YMCA, $2,890 from the Health Care and Robert M. & Dorothy C. Wopat Community funds to fund swim lessons for Boys & Girls Club members;
  • Marion Family YMCA, $1,450 from the Robert M. & Dorothy C. Wopat Community Fund for implementation of technology for the YMCA preschool program;
  • Mid-Ohio Food Bank, $5,000 from the HealthCare Fund in support of a weekend food backpack program;
  • Peace and Freedom Committee, $1,600 from the Robert M. & Dorothy C. Wopat Community Fund for audio equipment;
  • Recreation Unlimited Foundation, $2,925 from the Robert M. & Dorothy C. Wopat Community Fund in support of a scholarship program for Marion County youth to attend summer day camps;
  • Taft Elementary School, $5,000 from the Robert M. & Dorothy C. Wopat Community Fund in support of the Taft Peer Mediation Program;
  • Turning Point, $2,700 from the Robert M. & Dorothy C. Wopat Community Fund to provide literature and educational materials to victims of domestic violence; and,
  • Wings of an Angel, $4,365 from the Robert M. & Dorothy C. Wopat Community Fund in support Specialized Equipment for Special Children.

Marion Community Foundation has been in existence since 1998 and, in that time, has awarded several million dollars in grants in support of charitable causes and organizations in the Marion area.  Marion Community Foundation grants support local education, healthcare, economic development, the arts, social services, and quality of life projects. The next grant cycle will begin in June.

Additional information on the Foundation’s grant programs and about creating one’s own named, endowed fund is available by contacting Marion Community Foundation at 740-387-9704 during standard business hours. Marion Community Foundation is located at 504 S. State St. in Marion.

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