BY D’ARCY PATRICK EGAN
This year’s grant awards presented by the Ottawa County Community Foundation were the focus of a bittersweet breakfast on Thursday at the Sutton Center in Port Clinton. The 35 grant recipients who received a collective $53,000 were overjoyed with the financial support, but for the first time in two decades the dynamic leader of the foundation, Joy Roth, was not there.
The president of the OCCF, which she formed in 1999, Roth had died suddenly last July. Her husband, Jeff Roth, had tears in his eyes when he thanked the board and its new Executive Director Shea McGrew for forging ahead with what has become a savior for many Ottawa County non-profit agencies.
“Joy was always someone who had the welfare of others in mind,” said Roth, wearing his emotions on his sleeve. “The stories are legendary, as were her efforts for the foundation.”
Since 1999, OCCF has awarded more than $6 million in grants and scholarships. Incoming director McGrew will have assets of $11.2 million to manage.
The OCCF displayed a tenacity over the last year to help thwart a devastating Covid-19 pandemic, and the financial woes suffered by many. The board proved that point by awarding the very first Joy Roth Little Tiger Award to Bistro 163, a pay-it-forward restaurant in Sutton Center managed by Babs Klacik. During the pandemic, Bistro 163 had served 20,000 free meals to those most in need.
Preston promised to maintain Joy Roth’s mantra: Doing Good. Forever.
“It’s the culmination of a lot of work to find a way to get the fantastic generosity of this community to the people who really need it,” said Preston.
That mission was echoed by the recipients. Many said their award from the OCCF will allow them to stay alive, and to help the community in many ways that mainstream official organizations can’t, including after school STEM programs, upgrading outdated technology to help families in flux or remodeling spaces for adult day services.
The all-volunteer board embraced new members Brenda Haas, a freelance writer from Lakeside; and Ron Overmyer, a retired Ohio State University Extension Agent after 37 years on the job. Jon James was named an emeritus member of the board for his 14 years of service.
A total of 35 of the non-profit agencies operating in Ottawa County have $53,000 in new projects and other good works they will now be able to complete this year.
At the top of the list is the Joy Roth Little Tiger Award, presented to Bistro 163 to provide meals for those in need.
Other Ottawa County Community Foundation grants were provided to: Catawba Island Historical Society -Video camera and microphone; Clothing Corral, Inc. – Purchase packages of new underwear for clients; Community Christian Academy – Renovation of school windows, HVAC system, entrance; Concerned Citizens for Oak Harbor – Purchase 3 refrigerators and 2 ranges; Cultivate the Clover -Train 40 teens in the 4-H Camp Counselor Training Program; Engaging Opportunities Foundation – Expand job training, skill development for Christy’s Café; Firelands Symphony Orchestra – Present 4 small ensemble concerts in Port Clinton/Lakeside; Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge – Create accessible nature trail; Genoa Area Community Food Pantry – Purchase carts/storage bins to transport food pantry products; Girl Scouts of Western Ohio – Provide financial assistance/virtual learning opportunities; Habitat for Humanity of Ottawa County – Purchase a StopSaw for safety of volunteers; Joyful Connections – Provide Crisis Prevention Institute training and first aid training; Lake Erie Islands Conservancy – Great Lakes Islands Alliance annual conference/Oct. 2021; Lake Erie Islands Nature & Wildlife Center – Create geology, migratory bird, and beehive exhibits; Lakeside Heritage Society – Professionally digitize historical documents and photographs; Light House Sober Living: Provide sober and healthy activities for individuals in recovery; Luther Home of Mercy – Renewal and expansion of Boy Scouts of America Pack 928; Magruder Hospital – Purchase meals upon discharge to patients and caregivers; Main Street Port Clinton – Purchase items to implement a COVID plan for 2021 events; Musical Arts Series- Provide six concerts at senior residential facilities; Oak House – Increase accessible technology; Ottawa County Family Advocacy Center – Repair and replace outdated technology; Ottawa County Family & Children First – Purchase a fax machine/larger printer; Ottawa County Museum – Frames for prints, shadow boxes and two mannequins for displays; Port Clinton City Schools Champions for Children – After school program emphasizing STEM; Port Clinton Fire Fighters Association – Purchase equipment for American Heart Association training program; Riverview Industries Inc. – Continue remodel of Adult Day Services spaces; Salvation Army – Provide rent, mortgage, utility assistance for those in need; St. Thomas Episcopal Church – Increase meal bags from 60 to 100 per month; Terra College Foundation – Enable Titan Kids Club programs to students in Ottawa County; United Way in Ottawa County – Provide books for 320 children/Dolly Parton Imagination Library.