Foundation fund

People at the heart of Marion Community Foundation

A family reunion is how Marion Community Foundation President and CEO Dean Jacob called a recent reception after the organization’s annual meeting. Jacob addressed the gathering of nearly 200 people, sharing his “state of the organization” and welcoming the four newly elected board members.

“This gathering is the family of the Marion Community Foundation,” he said. “Tonight we are here with our fund builders and their families, our close friends, our board of directors, committee members, advisors and staff – the people who are at the heart of the Marion Community Foundation and everything she does.”

Judge Matthew Frericks

Jacob thanked four outgoing board members – John Bartram, Dr. Justin Hamper, Luke Henry and the Reverend Dan Kiger – for their many years of service. As the Marion Community Foundation approaches its 25th year, new board members include the Reverend Jackie Peterson, pastor of Logos Christian Ministries; Hon. Matthew Frericks, Marion County Common Pleas Judge, Erin Slater, Recreation and Environmental Programs Coordinator for Marion State in Ohio, and architect Tom Schifer.

Reverend Jackie Peterson

Jacob said the local community foundation is the steward of 437 charitable funds, 331 of which are fully endowed, meaning they are self-sustaining and able to make annual grants in perpetuity. These funds have a combined market value of $60 million; and, on their part, $2.25 million was awarded to the community in the form of charitable grants and college scholarships in the just ended fiscal year 2021.

“Marion is a very giving community,” Jacob said, noting that $3.25 million in donations have been received over the past 12 months.

Tom Schiffer

Here are some of the highlights of the past year:

• The Kathleen E. O’Shea Fund supports theater and the performing arts and last year provided awards to support musical productions at every middle school and high school in Marion County.

• A Marion Community Foundation grant to Luke 3:11 Ministries helped them add a third peanut butter jelly truck to Marion and serve 28,500 meals locally.

• The Cardinal Project of Downtown Marion, Inc. is a Foundation-supported public art project to brighten up downtown with 17 cardinal statues created by local artists.

Erin Slater

• At the Foundation’s suggestion, the Huber Machinery Museum partnered with the Tri-Rivers Building Trades Academy to maximize a $10,000 grant for their sidewalk upgrades.

• The Marion Women’s Club Home recently hosted a Women’s Wellness Day and used funds from the Marion Community Foundation to provide OhioHealth’s mobile mammography unit to uninsured and underinsured women.

• A second year of Racial Equity and Justice Grants provided $50,000 in grants to seven Marion-area organizations addressing issues of equity and cultural awareness.

• Over the past two years, the TEACH Grants program has awarded 28 scholarships and $35,000 in grants to support classroom teachers.

• Marion Matters’ successful courses, Getting Ahead, are supported by the Foundation and offer a proven curriculum designed to end generational poverty.

• The Marion Mentors program offered by the Marion Family YMCA supports 73 mentor pairs and 12 mentor groups, connecting at-risk youth with caring, community-minded adults.

The Marion Community Foundation’s first president, Debby Shade, was on hand to witness the growth and look forward to the 25th anniversary celebration in 2023.

“During the first year of the Foundation, we had a small meeting at Jan and Warren Brown’s house to share the purpose and vision of the Foundation. Looking around me that evening, I imagined a packed party celebrating the success of the Marion Community Foundation. What I saw last night was the vision came true,” she said.

The Marion Community Foundation has served the Marion area since 1998 and is located at 504 S. State St. inside the historic Stengel-True Mansion. The offices are open on weekdays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Additional information is available by calling 740-387-9704 or visiting