Investing in the future of Ottawa County

Sep 18, 2019 | Featured | 0 comments

The Mike Lorenz Jazz Trio received rave reviews at the Ottawa County Community Foundation gale at Schedel Arboretum and Garden. From left to right are Greg Moore, Mike Lorenze, Evelyn Wright and Damen Cook. (Photos by D’Arcy Egan)

Community Foundation celebrates 20th year at Elmore gala

OCCF members Mark and Tina Hablitzel greet friends at the OCCF 20th anniversary gala.

A group of hard-working, knowledgeable people from around Ottawa County have diligently worked to make the Ottawa County Community Foundation a success, creating assets of more than $8.6 million in 88 charitable funds over the last two decades to benefit local non-profit groups.

They also know how to have fun, organizing a gala on the beautiful grounds of the Schedel Arboretum and Gardens in Elmore last Sunday, where good food, wonderful music and afternoon strolls around the colorful grounds brought them all together.

“Last year we were able to award grants to 34 local organizations to support special projects,” said President Joy Roth. “And our scholarships provided financial support to 120 students seeking higher education.”

Enjoying the jazz music at the OCCF gala were Joan Pugh of Genoa and retired dentist Derrill Hablitzel, who celebrated his 100th birthday this year.

This year, the OCCF awarded almost $50,000 in competitive grants to 29 local non-profit organizations at its annual Grant Awards Breakfast on June 20. There are so many worthwhile organizations that it can be difficult for the foundation to decide on the recipients.

“Emotions can run rampant when selecting the recipients,” said Grant Chairman Mary Coffee. “All of us at the foundation are unpaid volunteers, as well.”

Officers of the foundation include Vice-President Jan Preston, Secretary Marcia Jess and Treasurer John Madison. Re-elected to three-year terms on the Board of Directors were Paul Druckenmiller, Deb Harmeyer and Gary Kohli.

The grant recipients have to do their part, identifying the need and creating an application by the annual March 15 deadline. They must also meet a deadline to file a report on the success of the grant.

OCCF Grant Chairman Mary Coffee and her grandchildren greet visitors on Sunday at Schedel Arboretum and Garden.

Since the first grant was awarded in 2003, cumulative grants to support charitable organizations and projects have totaled more than $440,000.

The crowd at this year’s gala was entertained by the Mike Lorenzo Jazz Trio that included Greg Moore and Damen Cook and featured singer Evelyn Wright. The glorious grounds, finger foods and fine wines and the smooth sounds of jazz were highlights, as was the camaraderie of the OCCF members and its board.

Businesses and individuals can obtain more information about the foundation, its grants and scholarships at or by visiting the foundation office at 306 Madison St., Port Clinton on Wednesdays between noon and 3 p.m.

World War II fighter pilot and Tuskegee Airman Harold Brown and his wife, Marsha Bordner, of Catawba Island get a golf cart ride around Schedel Arboretum.

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