OCCF connects donors to the causes they care about

Mar 5, 2024 | Featured, Around Ottawa County | 1 comment

A lot of impact flows from this little blue house in downtown Port Clinton. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

BY SHERI TRUSTY

In a little blue house in downtown Port Clinton, Ottawa County Community Foundation (OCCF) board members – mostly volunteers – are quietly stabilizing the financial underpinnings of the community. OCCF is a nonprofit public charity that manages donations and distributes the funds as grants and scholarships.

In essence, OCCF makes it convenient for people to donate money and make an impact in Ottawa County. This year, OCCF celebrates its 25th anniversary.

“Our premise is, we receive and administer and distribute gifts, primarily in the form of community grants and scholarships,” said OCCF Board Member Brenda Haas.

OCCF grants have helped Sleep in Heavenly Peace continue its mission of building beds for children in need. (Submitted photo)

Donors direct where their money is utilized and can choose a general category, such as the arts, or they can make very specific requirements about the use of the funds. When Jon “Big Nut” Peters wanted to expand his scholarship program, he made specific requests to ensure every school in Ottawa County would be impacted by his donations.

“We were very excited to include him in the mix. He’s very passionate about very specific goals,” Haas said.

Since its inception in 1999, OCCF has award 521 community grants totaling over $1 million and has awarded 1,589 scholarships totaling nearly $2 million. About $8 million has benefitted donor-specified causes. OCCF currently manages 108 permanent funds and $11 million in assets. Grant recipients include Christy’s Corner Café in Elmore, Light House Sober Living in Port Clinton, Sleep in Heavenly Peace in Oak Harbor, and Ottawa County Skilled Trades Academy, which serves students from all county school districts.

“We make sure we are helping people across the county, not just in one segment,” Haas said.

Kenleigh Mazur is all smiles with Jon “Big Nut” Peters, a scholarship fundholder with OCCF. 9 (Submitted photo)

OCCF’s facilitation of donations made to Engaging Opportunities Foundation (EOF), which operates Christy’s Corner Café, highlights the far-reaching impact OCCF has on county residents. OCCF has been helping EOF since it was established in 2018, providing grants for a number of projects, from lighting improvements to the Christy’s Care Program that provided assistance during COVID shutdowns.

“OCCF continues to support our collaborative community projects,” said EOF board member Kathy Barbee. “These projects and events not only provide an inclusive environment to promote a culture of integration and acceptance but teach new skills to our employees and community members with disabilities. By partnering with other local groups and nonprofits in Ottawa County, we have fun working together to ‘do good’ for others, develop relationships with our neighbors and reinforce what we know to be true: that we are more alike than different. We are most grateful for the work OCCF has done and continues to do in touching the lives of the people of Ottawa County.”

Employee Emily Kehlmeier works at Christy’s Corner Café, which has been supported by OCCF grants. (Submitted photo)

There are many ways to give through OCCF, including unrestricted gifts, permanent designated funds, donor-advised funds and legacy giving. OCCF board members work with donors to establish the best giving option to meet their needs.

“There are lots of ways to give. That’s why we’re here,” Haas said. “If your goal is to give to others in Ottawa County, we can help you facilitate that.”

OCCF is led by its sole paid employee, Shea McGrew, who created an advisory council of local leaders to help direct the foundation as it continues its impact in the future.

“Shea decided that, going forward, we need advice from people who are proven leaders in the community,” Haas said. “Doing that opened our eyes to so many good things.”

For more information on OCCF, visit www.ottawaccf.org.

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1 Comment

  1. Scott Gresser

    They do a great job. Thank you OCCF for what you do.

    Reply

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