Community Foundation boosts scholarships for class of 2020

Community Foundation Boosts Scholarships for Class of 2020

For Immediate Release
June 1, 2020

ASHLAND – In an effort to support and encourage graduating seniors from area high schools, Ashland
County Community Foundation made sure every student who completed a scholarship application
through the foundation this year received a scholarship.

“This is an unprecedented action for the foundation, but we understand that the members of the Class
of 2020 are in an unprecedented position,” said ACCF President/CEO Jim Cutright.

“They’ve missed out on classroom learning and lunchroom socialization. They’ve had to forgo spring
sports seasons and so many other extracurricular activities. Now they face the difficulty of starting new
chapters in their lives amid the uncertainties of a pandemic.”

At Cutright’s recommendation, the executive committee of ACCF’s board of trustees agreed to use a
portion of the foundation’s unrestricted funds to boost this year’s scholarship awards.

With ACCF’s addition of approximately $22,000, any applicant who would not have received a
scholarship this year received $500. Any applicant who had been selected to receive a sum total of
scholarships less than $500 had his or her scholarship total increased to $500.

In total, 178 students were awarded 267 scholarships— approximately $345,500— with a majority of
the awards coming from donors’ scholarship funds held at ACCF.

“This is not something we will be able to do every year, but through the generosity of our donors, we
are pleased to be able to do it this year,” Cutright said. “It’s our simple way of telling the class of 2020,
‘We believe in you.’”

This Class of 2020 Scholarship Initiative is the latest in a series of actions taken by ACCF to help mitigate
the negative effects to COVID-19 in Ashland County.

In March, the foundation established an Emergency Response pass-through fund as a means of allowing
donors to support Ashland City Schools’ student lunch distribution.

In April, ACCF redirected Silver Anniversary dollars previously set aside for the foundation’s 25th
Anniversary initiatives to create a COVID-19 Nonprofit Relief Fund, in partnership with United Way of
Ashland County. More than $141,500 has been granted from that fund to support local nonprofit
organizations that are striving to meet community needs amid difficulties caused by the pandemic.

About Ashland County Community Foundation: Ashland County Community Foundation advances
philanthropy and improves the quality of life in Ashland County by connecting people who care with
causes that matter. ACCF has awarded over $16 million in scholarships, grants and distributions.

Bridging the Gap for Cancer Patients

Bridging the Gap for Cancer Patients

Ashland County Cancer Association was facing a significant revenue shortfall amid the COVID-19 crisis as a result of cancelled fundraisers and a decline in memorial donations. Meanwhile, clients’ needs for financial, nutritional and emotional support increased during the pandemic.

A COVID-19 Nonprofit Relief Grant from Ashland County Community Foundation and United Way of Ashland County helped bridge the gap for Ashland County residents with cancer.

Delivering meals amid the pandemic

Delivering Meals Amid the Pandemic

Every day, Ashland County Council on Aging delivers more than 430 meals to elderly residents of Ashland County.

Recognizing this meal delivery program was more important than ever during a pandemic, Ashland County Community Foundation and United Way of Ashland County were pleased to be able to support it with a COVID-19 Nonprofit Relief Grant.

Preventing ‘the summer slide’

Preventing ‘The Summer Slide’

Jarrod Vance’s language arts students at Ashland Middle School created the “Book Brigade” project to encourage Edison and Reagan elementary school students and their families to continue reading over the summer.

One of ACCF’s IMPACT Youth Grants helped Vance’s class fulfill their mission to promote literacy and prevent the “summer slide.”

Reviving Safety Town in Ashland

Reviving Safety Town in Ashland

With support from an IMPACT Youth Grant, Kiwanis Club of Ashland was able to revive the Safety Town program for local five and six-year-olds in 2019.

Grant funding helped the club purchase a street scene tarp and bicycle helmets, pay facility rental fees and transport equipment from storage.

Giving kids the joy of camp

Giving Kids the Joy of Camp

A grant from our IMPACT Youth Council allowed Ashland County children with serious illnesses to enjoy a safe and fun camp experience at Flying Horse Farms.

The camp has specially trained and certified staff and provides adaptations in each area— swimming, boating, high ropes, archery and more— to ensure every camper can participate.

Investing in the next generation of leaders

Investing in the Next Generation of Leaders

Young people in Ashland crave connection and purpose, and the area needs the vision and energy of the next generation in order to move forward.

That’s why Ashland County Community Foundation provided seed money for the start-up of Ashland Young Professionals, a networking organization for young Ashland County career-minded individuals.

More than 100 young people attended the organization’s kickoff event in February 2018. Several people remarked they had never seen so many young people in one place in Ashland. Attendees said they found the gathering refreshing and exciting.

Since then, AYP has hosted several mixers, educational events and volunteer opportunities in the community.

Harnessing the power of play

Harnessing the Power of Play

The year 2019 seemed to be “the year of the playground,” as four different local groups set out to create new playgrounds in Ashland County.

The community foundation used unrestricted dollars to provide grants to help fund each project. Each project received a $5,000 grant, for a total investment of $20,000.

Projects included DK’s Play Zone, the Ashland Middle School seventh graders’ project to build a playground at Ringler Field; Leadership Ashland’s “Play. Connect. Grow.” campaign to build a playground at Ashland County Job and Family Services; Tri-County Educational Service Center’s project to build an inclusive community playground at Mapleton Elementary School Preschool; and Park Street Preschool’s efforts to build a playground to replace an existing playground that would be torn down as part of Park Street Brethren Church’s construction project.

Empowering women to break barriers

Empowering Women to Break Barriers

By identifying the negative thought patterns and damaging beliefs that hold them back, the approximately 60 women who attended the Breaking My Boundaries Conference in 2019 began to break those barriers and transform their lives.

Participants described the day’s activities and speakers as “amazing” and “uplifting.”

One woman said she learned how to be her own encourager. Another said the conference helped her shed negativity from her past. A third said she found camaraderie among the other women in the room and discovered she was not alone.

Lori Au, a counselor at Ashland County Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, said ACCADA could not have brought the conference to Ashland without the grant from the Women’s Fund of Ashland County Community Foundation and support from other local entities.

Bringing books to public spaces

Bringing Books to Public Spaces

At first glance, they might look a bit like colorful birdhouses. But come closer to one of the wooden boxes that have been mounted on posts in several of Ashland’s public spaces, and you’ll see an array of books behind a glass door. A small plaque prompts, “Take a book. Return a book.”

The boxes are Little Free Libraries, designed to allow readers of all ages to share their favorite books, discover something new or maybe even develop a love of reading.

Through a grant from the Ashland County Community Foundation’s Youth Impact Council, Friends of Ashland Public Library purchased kits to create the bookcases. Jim Thomas from the library’s maintenance staff assembled the boxes, and kids from the community helped paint them as part of the library’s summer reading program in 2017.

Two are located at Brookside Park (one by the pool and playground and the other by the miniature golf course), and a third is at Brookside West. Another box is downtown at Kinnaman Park (on Center Street just south of Main Street). One box is a Cahn Grove Park, and the last is at Freer Field.