While Marion Community Foundation’s annual Community Grants Program awards an impressive amount of community support each fall, it is far from the only time the Foundation’s charitable funds provide grants. Recently, awards totaling $60,538 have been made from Field of Interest funds.
“Field of Interest funds are a type of charitable fund created by donors who wish to support a particular cause in the community and who rely on the Foundation to determine which organizations are addressing the issue they care about,” said Dean Jacob, President and CEO of Marion Community Foundation. “Field of Interest funds are one of six fund types available through the Foundation and are often established to support particular interest area, specific program initiatives, causes, or geographic area.”
The Field of Interest funds making awards in 2022 include the following:
The Helen Cunningham Handicapped Fund was created in 2008 by the Society for the Handicapped of Marion County (the predecessor to Easter Seals) to honor Helen and her longtime advocacy and volunteerism with the organization. The Cunningham Fund’s focus is to support programs and organizations which assist persons with disabilities. This year, it awarded $5,000 to Center Street Community Health Center to provide assistance for individual requests for health services and $2,623 to the Marion County Board of Developmental Disabilities (MCBDD) to promote the general welfare and recreation of persons with disabilities.
Several field of interest funds have been created to assist persons and families affected by Parkinson’s disease and have, for a number of years, directed awards to support the Marion Family YMCA’s successful Delay the Disease classes. This year’s awards include: $4,451 from the Francis & Thelma Wise Fund, $557 from the Dave & Anne Brown Family Fund, $607 from the James & Margaret Coulson Charitable Fund, and $1,959 from the Smith-Brown Family Fund.
Also supported by the Francis & Thelma Wise Fund are organizations and programs to prevent blindness and vision impairment. It made an award of $2,225 to the Prevent Blindness Ohio Affiliate, along with an additional award of $2,461 from the Marion Noon Lions Club Fund, to support sight conservation and help sight-impaired individuals in Marion County.
The Marion Speech and Hearing Fund, created in 2018 by the Marion Speech and Hearing Center, Inc. awards grants to programs and nonprofit organizations that provide habilitative and rehabilitative services for individuals with speech, language, and hearing impairments, including hearing aids, evaluation, testing, diagnosis, therapy, counseling, and referrals in Marion County. This year’s awards include $10,160 to Marion County Board of Developmental Disabilities (MCBDD) to provide speech and hearing services to their clients, and $5,000 to Marion General Hospital Foundation for patient services.
Emanuel Lutheran Preschool & Daycare will receive $1,368 from the Child Care Choices Fund to support childcare staff development and improve programming. The Child Care Choices Fund was created in 2013 by the board of this former childcare referral agency. In this way, the board of Child Care Choices sought to continue their mission of supporting quality childcare in the area, even after the organization ceased operations.
The Vera O. McDanel Senior Citizens Transportation Fund awarded $561 to the Marion Senior Center. As the fund’s name indicates, its purpose, since 2008, has been to support and fund programs that provide for the transportation needs of senior citizens residing in Marion County, including medical, dental, and business appointments, social visits, and wheelchair assistance.
His life-long love of the outdoors inspired Virgil Jerome’s family to memorialize him with the Virgil Jerome Nature Education Fund. In order to fulfill its purpose to “promote introducing, connecting and engaging all people, but especially and primarily youth, to nature and the outdoors,” it is awarding a $1,000 grant to the Prairie Parks Foundation.
The Jerry Grubaugh Memorial Fund has international impact. Originally from Marion, Grubaugh joined the law firm of Oficina Marranzini in Santo Domingo. His fund, which is awarding $10,000 to CAF America, provides grants in support of health care programs in the Dominican Republic and aids those he saw suffering during his career there.
Both the Janis & Greg Swepston Family Fund and the Kathleen E. O’Shea Fund support live theatre, dance, and performing arts in Marion. The Swepston Fund is awarding $485 to Marion Public Library, where Janis served as the children’s librarian for more than 30 years. The O’Shea Fund provided $8,081 to Palace Cultural Arts Association to support its recent summer musical and, earlier this year, made awards to all of Marion’s high and middle schools who put on musicals, totaling $4,000 in grants.
Field of interest funds make up about two dozen of the 430+ charitable endowments Marion Community Foundation administers. In addition to the current awards, some field of interest funds are part of the annual Community Grants Program and the TEACH Grants Program supporting innovative programs by area classroom teachers.
“We have several different fund types – each designed for a specific purpose,” said Jacob. “In addition to field of interest funds, there are designated funds for those who want to support a specific organization, donor advised funds for those who want to be actively involved philanthropy, unrestricted funds for donors who want to provide support wherever the community need is greatest, and, of course, scholarship funds for students.”