Foundation’s crucial funding touches many lives around area

Jun 21, 2023 | Featured, Business | 0 comments

The premier Ottawa County Community Foundation grant for 2023 was a $20,000 check to the Business Advisory Council to support a Skilled Trades Academy program for state tested nursing assistants. Accepting the award from Executive Director Shea McGrew, right, are Katherine Adams, Workforce and Career Exploration Manager at OCIC, and Clay Finken, President of the Business Advisory Council and Director of the Erie-Ottawa International Airport.


The Ottawa County Community Foundation founded by the late Joy Roth in 1999 has parlayed its amazing success as a public charitable organization to creatively support a legion of non-profit agencies around Ottawa County. On Thursday, June 15, the OCCF awarded 38 of them more than $80,000 at the annual breakfast at Catawba Island Club.

For many, the funding was a much-needed boost to continue to do good things around Ottawa County in the coming year. All of the grant requests were scrutinized by OCCF officials and final reports are due in 2024.

“We are pleased to partner with such diverse and deserving organizations in 2023,” said OCCF Executive Director Shea McGrew. “Their services are crucial to this area, and touch so many lives.”

The grants program is funded by private donations and earnings from several unrestricted Community Funds and Donor Advised Funds held by the OCCF that total more than $11 million. The Foundation has already distributed more than $7 million in grants and scholarships.

The largest grant this year was from the OCCF’s Special Initiatives Fund, with $20,000 given to the Business Advisory Council of the Ottawa County Improvement Corporation (OCIC), earmarked for the Ottawa County State Testing Nursing Assistant program.

“The mission of the Business Advisory Council (BCA) is to engage the business and education communities to understand and support the educational and employment needs within Ottawa County,” said Clay Finken, President of the BCA and Director of the Erie-Ottawa International Airport in Port Clinton.

Jeff Roth presented the “Little Tiger Award” to Jonnie Myers-Debbink, center, and Carol Morgan of the Greater Port Clinton Area Arts Council on behalf of his late wife, Joy Roth, founder of the Ottawa County Community Foundation.

Few needs are as critical as bringing students from the county’s six primary school districts to the OCIC Skilled Trades Academy to become nurse’s aides. They are urgently needed at places such as Magruder Hospital in Port Clinton, the Riverview Nursing Home in Oak Harbor and the Luther Home of Mercy in Williston, as well as other nursing facilities, said Finken and Katherine Adams, the Workforce and Career Exploration Manager at OCIC.

A major OCCF honor awarded at the breakfast last Thursday was the Joy Roth “Little Tiger Award.” It is named after Joy Roth, who died in July 2020, and named because of her feisty reputation, single-minded dedication to the community and love for the Auburn University Tigers football team.

Presented by her husband, Jeff Roth, the award went to The Arts Garage, the Greater Port Clinton Area Arts Council’s new home for the arts. Jonnie Myers-Debbink and Carol Morgan , the GPCAAC officials who shepherded the restoration of an abandoned Port Clinton city garage into a popular art showplace, accepted the awarded.

The grants this year were presented to a myriad of non-profit groups, from Cast It Forward to take veterans, kids and seniors on Lake Erie fishing trips to the Ottawa County Agricultural Society’s need for new sheep and goat pens at the Ottawa County Fairgrounds. Many are long-time institutions, including the Ottawa County Museum’s need for archival materials to the Port Clinton Fire Department for EMT certifications and fire blankets for the Portage Fire District.

Many grants were to benefit children, including the Salvation Army’s NEOSA Summer Camp; summer science and art camps at Schedel Gardens; Sleep in Heavenly Peace building beds for children; and Walk in My Shoes to provide footwear for kids in need.

Full List of Awards

  • Arc of Ottawa County – Summer camp for children with disabilities
  • Courageous Community Services – Fun in the Sun camp for children at Camp Courageous
  • Cancer Services – Cancer services for patients and their families
  • Cast It Forward – Fishing trips for veterans, kids, and seniors in need
  • Catawba Island Historical Society – Exterior GFI receptacles to provide power for outdoor displays
  • Concerned Citizens of Oak Harbor – 3 refrigerators and 2 ranges at Oakwood Manor
  • Cultivate the Clover of Ottawa County – Leadership training for 4-H Camp Counselors
  • Engaging Opportunities Foundation – Create job training activities for adults with intellectual disabilities
  • Genoa Area Community Food Pantry – Purchase 6 new wagon carts for food distribution
  • Genoa Civic Theatre – Painting theatre as part of renovation project
  • Greater Port Clinton Area Arts Council – FACE LIFT – interactive art sculptures at TAG (The Arts Garage)
  • Habitat for Humanity of Ottawa County – Playhouse Build – teaching children the pride of homeownership
  • Harris-Elmore Public Library – Circulating STEM Kits for Harris-Elmore and Genoa libraries
  • Heartbeat of Ottawa County – Update technology and Quick Books
  • Joyful Connections – Reduce finance and transportation barriers
  • Lake Erie Islands Conservancy – AmeriCorps intern
  • Lake Erie Islands Nature & Wildlife Center – Interactive digital displays for current wildlife exhibits
  • Mid-County EMT Association – Video Laryngoscopes – replace outdated patient care equipment
  • Musical Arts Series Port Clinton – Concerts for seniors at assisted living centers
  • Oak House – Provide trips to various attractions and events
  • Ottawa Co. Ag. Society – New pens for sheep and goats at Ottawa County Fairgrounds
  • Ottawa Co. Family Advocacy Center, Inc. – Upgrade meeting room and kitchen facilities
  • Ottawa Co. Holiday Bureau – Food and household items for those in need during the holidays
  • Ottawa Co. Museum – Purchase archival materials for storage, repair, etc.
  • Ottawa Co. Transitional Housing – Ruth Ann’s House-new refrigerator
  • Otterbein Senior Life Marblehead – Install Hearing Loop in dining room and activities room
  • Playmakers Civic Theatre – Theatre summer school for youth
  • Port Clinton Firefighters Association – EMT Certification
  • Portage Fire District Firefighters Association – Purchase fire blankets designed for vehicle fires
  • Put-in-Bay Chamber of Comm Tourism Bureau – PIB Chamber of Commerce Tourism Promotional Video
  • Salvation Army Camp NEOSA – Residential Summer Camp for at-risk children
  • Schedel Arboretum and Gardens – Summer science and art camps
  • Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Inc. – Build and deliver beds to those in need
  • St. Vincent DePaul Food Pantry – Food and food certificates for those in need
  • Team VIAC – Veteran retreats in 2023
  • Walk in My Shoes, Inc – Provide new shoes for children in need

Special Awards

  • TAG – The Arts Garage – Joy Roth Little Tiger Award – outstanding contribution to community
  • BAC (Business Advisory Council) – Ottawa County STNA Program (State Tested Nursing Assistant)

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