BY SHERI TRUSTY
In 1999, the dream of the late Joy Roth to create an organization that would financially impact and support the community became a fledgling reality with the creation of the Ottawa County Community Foundation (OCCF). Now, 25 years later, OCCF is celebrating its Silver Anniversary and the hundreds of lives impacted by its efforts.
“There is much to celebrate and be thankful for,” said OCCF Executive Director Shea McGrew. “We celebrate Joy’s vision and the generosity of donors whose gifts have enabled OCCF to distribute approximately $10 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and student scholarships. We thank our supporters for their generous contributions to those remarkable numbers.”
Providing philanthropic services to individuals, families, businesses and other nonprofit organizations, OCCF strives to help donors make gifts to meet vital community needs focusing on the fields of education, health and social services, economic development, natural resources and the arts. OCCF’s donors come from a wide spectrum of the community — farmers, teachers, business owners and people from all walks of life.
OCCF was started in April 1999 when charter members Roth, Bob Armbruster, Ellen Bergman, Tom Salamone, Derrill Hablitzel and Bart Anderson signed the Articles of Incorporation. OCCF awarded its first community grant in 2003, in the amount of $1,341.70, to the City of Port Clinton for a mural in Friendship Park. Today, OCCF manages $11 million in assets.
McGrew said OCCF flourished under the guidance of Roth and the many dedicated foundation members.
“I think it was the consistent efforts of Joy Roth and the board of trustees that made it succeed,” McGrew said. “It was the foundation asking people about the causes that matter most to them and finding ways to support that.”
In its first 25 years, OCCF distributed 519 community grants, totaling more than $1.1 million, to 164 different nonprofits. OCCF donor funds managed through its umbrella organization, the Greater Toledo Community Foundation, gave more than $7.3 million to donor-specified causes. Additionally, OCCF’s scholarship program, which began in 2001, also provided 1,589 scholarships at more than $1.7 million.
In an effort to strengthen the foundation’s impact, OCCF recently formed an Advisory Council, receiving valuable input from respected community leaders Alison Lanza Falls, Crown Battery’s Hal and Diane Hawk and Catawba Island Club’s Jim Stouffer. The Council provides forward-thinking ideas to assist OCCF in supporting the county. Additionally, OCCF implemented the Business Partners Giving Society, an annual membership group of generous business owners interested in helping their neighbors.
McGrew has a twofold vision for OCCF’s next 25 years.
“Obviously, we always want to grow so we can have more impact through grants and scholarships,” he said. “But we also want to help people dream about what’s possible through giving. We want to give them the opportunity to learn about the incredible legacy of giving now and giving forever.”
OCCF can help donors find ways to support the causes that matter most to them.
“Many people don’t realize there are many ways of giving – very creative ways,” McGrew said.