News & Event
Auburn, once a bustling community, is a historic town which was first settled in 1834, before West Virginia seceded from Virginia during the American Civil War. Like many other communities throughout the state, Auburn is experiencing a population decline which has affected the monetary support available to the Auburn Community Cemetery Committee. This Cemetery is the final resting place of some of Auburn’s first settlers including the family names of Sommerville, Tharp, Hall and Watson with the earliest known grave being that of a young child, Robert Collins, who died in August, 1842. The Auburn Community Cemetery Committee provides maintenance and upkeep of the Cemetery located within the town limits.
Concerned and forward-thinking individuals with loved ones interred in the Cemetery recently established a permanent charitable fund, the Friends of Auburn Community Cemetery Fund, with the Ritchie County Community Foundation (RCCF), an affiliate of the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF). The Friends of Auburn Community Cemetery Fund will forever provide an annual monetary distribution to the Cemetery Committee to support the public maintenance and upkeep of the Cemetery. Current members of the Auburn Community Cemetery Committee include Jim Lowther, Dave Crouch and Robert Lowther.
“It is not our intention for this new fund to hinder annual contributions to the Cemetery Committee,” said Bob Sommerville. “My family and some friends started this fund to encourage others to plan for the future of our Cemetery and to provide a long-term option for other concerned citizens to include a donation to the fund through their estate plans and wills, or to use qualified retirement plans and IRA benefits to make a donation. By doing so, they are ensuring that this Cemetery is taken care of long after we have passed.”
“The fund is permanent in nature so that the fund’s principal, which includes all donations to the fund, is never invaded,” said Julie Boyce, PACF’s Development and Communications Officer. “This means the fund will forever invest and issue an annual distribution for the benefit of the Cemetery. PACF’s prudent spending-policy helps to ensure that the fund continues to grow. Annually, the Cemetery Committee spends between $3,000 and $5,000 on upkeep of the Auburn Community Cemetery. A fund valued at $100,000 could potentially issue about $3,000 each year! The fund is off to a great start to that goal. The early supporters have pledged to help raise at least $100,000 in the next ten years to help grow this fund. They are already a tenth of the way to their goal with $10,000 in gifts to date. If others in the community likewise come forward, I’m sure their goal will be met.”
Persons who wish to make a charitable gift to the Friends of Auburn Community Cemetery Fund can mail a check (payable to the PACF with fund name on memo line) to PACF, PO Box 1762, Parkersburg, WV 26101-1762 or give online by clicking here. Other forms of donation may be made by calling the Foundation’s office at 304.428.4438. The “Friends of Auburn (WV) Community Cemetery” has its own Facebook page; more details may be found on it. Annual gifts to the Auburn Community Cemetery Committee (for ongoing maintenance, rather than investment for the future) can be mailed to PO Box 92, Auburn, WV 26325.
Rebecca Mangus was a young and spirited individual who brought happiness and displayed compassion to everyone she met. Following a battle with breast cancer, on January 30, 2013, Rebecca received her ultimate healing and “found her resting place in the arms of God,” said Rebecca’s friend and colleague, Tammy Parker.
A caring daughter, cousin, friend and teacher, Rebecca will forever be remember in the Mid-Ohio Valley thanks to a recently established fund at the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF). The Teacher Support Fund in Memory of Rebecca Mangus was established by Rebecca’s aunt, Julia Thomas, and cousin, Janelle Thomas. The mission of this fund is to provide monetary support to educators teaching at either the kindergarten or 1st grade-level at either Martin, Mineral Wells or McKinley Elementary Schools. The distributions from this fund will aid in the establishment of a Teachers Reimbursement Program at each of the three schools.
Rebecca was born in Parkersburg, WV to Mr. and Mrs. Delmas Mangus. She was a 1992 graduate of Parkersburg South High School. After completing her undergraduate education at Marietta College, Rebecca received her Masters from Marshall University. She then returned to the area and was a kindergarten teacher for the Wood County Board of Education.
Known to family and friends as an incredibly caring and passionate teacher, Rebecca will forever be missed. As an active member of her church, the Evangelical Methodist Church, Rebecca found peace and courage through her fight with breast cancer. When not dedicated to her teaching or faith, Rebecca was very active with supporting the Cancer Society and was passionate to help others with this disease.
Individuals that knew her both personally and professionally could easily recognize that Rebecca held a special place in her heart for her students and their well-being. Rebecca went above and beyond to ensure that her students had an enjoyable and educational experience in her classroom and cared for them as if they were her own.
The Teacher Support Fund in Memory of Rebecca Mangus was created to help other educators make their classrooms an enjoyable and unique educational experience for its students. Rebecca’s memory will live on through this Fund and for generations to come, recipients of this fund’s distribution will know how impactful Rebecca’s life was to her family, friends and students.
Individuals wishing to make a charitable gift to the Teacher Support Fund in Memory of Rebecca Mangus can mail a check (payable to the PACF with fund name on memo line) to PACF, PO Box 1762, Parkersburg, WV 26101-1762. Individuals wishing to make another form of donation can call the Foundation’s office at 304.428.4438.
George Penn was affectionately known throughout the community for his volunteering and commitment for many local organizations. Born in Alexandria, VA, George moved to the Parkersburg area in 1992 where he worked for UPS and Dover Products. A devout Christian, Penn was a United States Marine, a disabled Army veteran, and a member of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Menelik Lodge #74 Free and Accepted Masons. In 2010, George Penn and his wife, Josepha “Chris” Penn, opened the doors to Voices of the Streets – Essentially Yours.
“Essentially Yours was created to fulfill a basic human need that George and I identified in our community,” said Mrs. Chris Penn. “The need to provide the essential home good items required to improve the quality of life for referred families and individuals transitioning from homelessness into a dwelling. Currently, the referring organizations that provide housing and furniture vouchers to homeless individuals do not provide the basic living essentials necessary for establishing a ‘home’.”
After George Penn died on March 1, 2017, an anonymous donor established the Voices of the Streets Endowment Fund in his memory. This permanent support fund becomes one of more than 350 component funds of Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF) and will forever provide monetary support to allow Voices of the Streets – Essentially Yours to continue to serve its mission.
“Through Essentially Yours, we raise our clients’ self-esteem and their desire to do better for themselves,” said Penn. “We are so thankful for this anonymous donor who thinks so highly of what we are doing that he or she has established a permanent source of funding for our cause. We are extremely dependent on charitable donations to continue to provide this important service for our community.”
Persons who wish to honor George Penn and to support the long-term efforts of Voices of the Streets – Essentially Yours are encouraged to make a donation to the Voices of the Streets Endowment Fund online or to mail a gift by check to PACF, PO Box 1762, Parkersburg, WV 26102-1762 (made payable to PACF, memo Essentially Yours).
The PARS Brain and Spine Institute was founded in 2005 with a vision of increasing the access to highly specialized neurological and neurosurgical care for the Mid-Ohio Valley’s citizens. While PARS has grown tremendously, its core values remain focused on promoting comprehensive, compassionate and patient-centered care. To celebrate more than ten years of service to the region, PARS established the PARS Brain and Spine Institute Charitable Fund with the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF).
Originally founded by Houman Khosrovi, M.D., Rammy Gold, M.D., and Abdi Ghodsi, M.D., PARS has grown to include five board-certified physicians, nine mid-level practitioners, and over seventy highly trained medical professionals. Each year, over 3500 new patients are referred to PARS with a variety of neurological disorders. With multiple locations, most patients travel less than twenty-five miles for specialized care typically only offered in major metropolitan areas.
“Our community has been very supportive of PARS and we are so appreciative,” said Dr. Khosrovi. “Because of this support, we feel it is imperative to give back to the place we have called ‘home’ for many years. We are excited to launch this charitable giving partnership with the PACF so that as the fund grows, we can address important needs/causes in the region through grantmaking and community engagement.”
Established in 1963, the PACF is a single 501(c)(3) public charity that manages more than 350 charitable funds established by individuals, families, businesses, and civic or nonprofit organizations with the goal of making a positive and permanent commitment to a better future for our community. The new PARS Brain and Spine Institute Charitable Fund of the PACF allows PARS to address key community issues while gaining the community grantmaking expertise, administrative management and investment services offered by the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation.
“One of our first endeavors is to assist in engaging the region’s unserved youth, primarily elementary students, with art and music and connecting them to educational opportunities,” said Lynn McCormick, Director of Community Outreach and Charitable Giving at PARS. “We are currently working to establish a free after-school program at Jefferson Elementary in Parkersburg that will begin in September. At PARS, we fully believe that music education is an integral part of development of a child’s mind and we want to take a proactive step to ensure music and art education is available to all elementary students. This is a grassroots effort to help battle drugs, improve attendance at school, grow children’s talent, improve self-esteem, expand higher-cognitive creative thinking skills, and help children find their personal voice through creative expression.”
To learn more about the PARS Brain and Spine Institute’s charitable giving program, please contact McCormick at (304)865-3602. To learn more about the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, please contact Julie Boyce at (304)428-4438.
The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation & Regional Affiliates (PACF) announced today its grant awards for spring 2016. The Foundation awarded a total of $143,740 through its Spring Community Action Grants Program to organizations within the Foundation’s eleven-county service region of Wood, Wirt, Ritchie, Doddridge, Mason, Calhoun, Gilmer, Roane, Pleasants, and Jackson Counties in West Virginia, and Washington County, Ohio.
The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF) awarded grants totaling $142,740 to 36 different organizations, and its Ritchie County affiliate, Ritchie County Community Foundation affiliate (RCCF), awarded $1,000 in grant support. On Thursday, June 2, representatives of organizations receiving grants from the PACF and RCCF and other supporters of the Foundation attended a Spring Grant Award Program at the Foundation’s central office location in Parkersburg. Grant recipients had an opportunity to discuss their grant-funded projects with the attendees.
Grants awarded through the PACF’s Community Action Grants Program are made possible by generous individuals/businesses who have established a charitable fund with the PACF. The Program uses the resources available through the Foundation’s Unrestricted and Field of Interest Funds to meet the ever-changing needs of its service region. The Foundation works with volunteers region-wide to review the grant applications and select the recipients. Additionally, the Foundation consults with individuals who have established Donor Advised Funds through the PACF and works with these individuals to provide additional grant support for the projects proposed through the Community Action Grants Program. To learn more about the Program, individuals should call the Foundation at 304.428.4438 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parkersburg Area Community Foundation Grants
Ritchie County Community Foundation Grants
The family and friends of longtime educator Edna Robinson have established a charitable fund honoring her dedication to furthering early childhood education in Calhoun County.
Growing up on a farm on Pleasant Hill, Mrs. Robinson and her eight siblings learned the value of education from their parents, Ollie and Elias Yoak. Edna Robinson graduated from Glenville State College in 1955, but even before graduation, she had begun assisting her father in his duties as School Master at several one and two-room schoolhouses around the county.
“I remember having to catch the outbound school bus from Grantsville and ride it to the end of White Pine, and then hike over the mountain to substitute teach for Dad at the Oak Hill School,” Robinson said. “Dad was pretty ill at the time and they didn’t want to make all the kids sick. It was quite a hike but I made it in time.”
While at Glenville State College, she taught at both Sand Fork and Glenville schools and upon graduation, she continued her passion for teaching at Cabot Station’s two-room schoolhouse. After successful tenures teaching in North Carolina and Massachusetts, Mrs. Robinson returned to Calhoun County, helping to nurture young minds while teaching at Minnora and finally Pleasant Hill Elementary. During her tenure at Pleasant Hill Elementary, Robinson touched the lives of hundreds of Calhoun County students (now residents) and was recognized as Teacher of the Year in 2004. In 2005, Robinson retired from Pleasant Hill Elementary.
"I tried my best to not only teach the curriculum," Robinson said, "but also to help the children develop the qualities necessary for them to become responsible citizens."
Mrs. Robinson's dedication to educating the youth in Calhoun County will continue forever thanks to the Edna Yoak Robinson Fund for Education established by her children with the Little Kanawha Area Community Foundation, a regional affiliate of the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF). The Fund was created to support early childhood education and youth education programs in Calhoun County, WV, with preference for support to requests and needs from Pleasant Hill Elementary School and surrounding community.
“I have the utmost respect for Mrs. Robinson and what she has accomplished,” said Ron Blankenship, former Gilmer and Calhoun School Superintendent. “She was an outstanding educator and a real task master. She has had a significant impact on the lives of many in our community, and through this fund, will continue to do so.”
Persons who wish to honor Mrs. Robinson can make a charitable gift to the Edna Yoak Robinson Fund for Education by mailing a check (payable to the PACF with fund name on memo line) to PACF, PO Box 1762, Parkersburg, WV 26102-1762 or by donating online here. Other forms of donation may be made by calling the Foundation’s office at 304.428.4438.
The Doug McLain Memorial Scholarship Fund was recently created at the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF) to forever honor the late Douglas E. McLain. McLain was a well-loved Parkersburg native, devout Christian, Air Force veteran, and retired police officer. Above all, he was a dedicated husband, father, and Papaw. McLain unexpectedly passed away on June 24, 2017. Hundreds of friends, family members, and local citizens attended his memorial service to say goodbye to a dedicated local citizen and hardworking public servant.
“Doug McLain was well known as a true servant leader and a man of high integrity,” said the PACF’s Executive Director, Judy Sjostedt. “He lived his life as an example for others. Doug's contributions to public safety and the shaping of young lives through his work as the first Prevention Resource Officer in Wood County, assigned to Parkersburg High School, will be forever remembered with gratitude through this new scholarship. We encourage gifts to help build this memorial for Doug.”
McLain retired after forty-one years of honorable service from the Parkersburg Police Department in 2016. For four decades, while serving on the police force, he was also an EMT for the St. Joseph Ambulance Service. The new scholarship fund, established by McLain’s family and friends, is designed to continue his caring legacy and honor his dedicated service to the Parkersburg region.
The Doug McLain Memorial Scholarship Fund will award annually one scholarship to a graduating senior from either Parkersburg Catholic High School, Parkersburg High School, or Parkersburg South High School who plans to pursue a public service field of study. The fund will make its first scholarship award in spring 2018.
Persons who wish to help honor Doug McLain are encouraged to make a charitable gift to the Doug McLain Memorial Scholarship Fund by mailing a check (payable to “PACF” with the fund name on the memo line) to PACF, PO Box 1762, Parkersburg, WV 26101-1762, or by donating online here. Other forms of donations may be made by calling the Foundation’s office at 304.428.4438.
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