BY D’ARCY PATRICK EGAN
Ottawa County Community Foundation (OCCF) supporters enthusiastically gathered at Gideon Owen Wine Company in Port Clinton last Thursday to introduce new Executive Director Shea McGrew and the OCCF Board of Directors, and to remember dynamic founder Joy Roth who died unexpectedly in July 2020.
When McGrew was selected to take the reins of the OCCF in June 2021, he brought with him a wealth of skills and experience in managing foundations, especially for colleges and universities. Judging by the welcome McGrew received last week from the crowd of movers and shakers in the Ottawa County communities, it was obvious his expertise would translate to a vibrant community foundation.
“The OCCF is a community foundation whose purpose is to bring to bear the power of giving for the people, organizations and businesses of Ottawa County,” said McGrew. “For those not all that familiar with community foundations, this is what we do — receive, administer and distribute charitable funds for individuals, organizations and businesses — a sort of ‘one-stop shop’ service.
“We promote the power of charitable giving and assist generous people and organizations to achieve their charitable goals.”
McGrew said that Joy Roth started OCCF in 1999, “and what a legacy she established,” said McGrew. “Today, with more than $11 million in nearly 100 permanent funds, we provide grants for many worthy causes, and the OCCF Board has made over $900,000 in community grants from unrestricted gifts.”
Overall, there have been more than $6 million in scholarships and grants since 1999.
“They have gone to organizations that address the needs of the people of Ottawa County, and to students who have all the potential in the world, but whose educational horizons might be limited without a financial boost. Just this year, 116 students received $147,000 in scholarships,” said McGrew.
The OCCF giving continues, said McGrew. Supporters have established permanent grants and scholarships. Because of need during the pandemic, “Rapid Response” grants have helped businesses affected by Covid-19. The Burton D. Morgan Foundation has supported OCCF directly and provided business grants to 23 recipients totaling $63,000.
McGrew has pointed to OCCF’s support of the Salvation Army, Luther Home of Mercy in Williston, the Ottawa County Business Advisory Council’s Ottawa County Skilled Trades Academy and the unique dyslexia training for 56 teachers who are now making a difference in area classrooms.
“Thanks to all of you whose giving has made dreams come to pass, and who joined us today to celebrate the power of giving in Ottawa County,” McGrew told OCCF supporters. “Imagine what more is possible. At OCCF, we will continue to encourage you to dream with us, and to help Ottawa County to thrive.”