News & Event
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).
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.
January 2018 ushered in the most comprehensive tax law change in more than 30 years, and this law has important implications if you plan to make charitable contributions this year or in the future. Here’s a brief rundown to help you give wisely (unless Congress acts before December 31, 2025, these rules will revert back to those in effect in 2017):
If you are unable to itemize your deductions, including charitable contributions, there are several attractive giving options and techniques to consider. Some may let you itemize periodically, keep income off your tax returns or return income to you.
Giving options and techniques to consider include:
DISCLAIMER: This information is compiled from many sources and is not intended as tax, investment, financial planning or legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. For tax, investment, financial planning or legal advice you are encouraged to consult with your personal advisers.
Citation: Avenue, N. (2018). What The New Tax Law Means For Your Charitable Giving. [online] Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2018/03/15/what-the-new-tax-law-means-for-your-charitable-giving/#637b4ce14034 [Accessed 1 Jun. 2018].
While the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation & Regional Affiliates (PACF) is best known for partnering with local citizens to build permanent long-term charitable funds for the betterment our region, the PACF is also flexible and uniquely positioned to serve as a strong community partner in emergencies. When the Governor’s “Stay at Home” order became effective for West Virginians on March 24, the PACF’s Board of Directors quickly made provisions for its existing Hunger Fund and Safety Net Fund to serve as emergency need funds for COVID-19 relief. Despite low virus infection rates in our region, unemployment soared and the financial future for many area families was suddenly put in jeopardy.
The PACF’s leaders immediately began working with the area’s nonprofit community and other local funding organizations to determine how best to allocate resources among local needs and to raise additional funds to address community concerns. With the PACF’s commitment to grant 100% of the proceeds raised back into the region, generous local citizens and area corporations responded with donations to boost the PACF’s Hunger and Safety Net Funds.
The PACF recently awarded $101,570 in its fourth round of COVID-19 pandemic response grants, bringing the total awarded to date to more than $263,868, a total which includes many PACF Donor Advised Fund grants. Several of the recent grants were awarded through partnership with the Sisters Health Foundation (noted with an *). Agencies that received funding during the PACF’s fourth round of grants include:
The PACF is actively contacting nonprofits to assess COVID-19 impact on their communities and identifying ways to respond to these needs. Agencies seeking assistance should contact the PACF at 304-428-4438 or by email to Marian Clowes.
Donations to support the PACF’s Hunger Fund and Safety Net Fund are tax-deductible. To learn more about these funds and the work that the Foundation is doing to address COVID-19 in our region, visit www.pacfwv.com/COVID19.
The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation & Regional Affiliates (PACF) is actively partnering with its local donors and other area funders to address the critical needs of local citizens who are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic by providing funding to a wide variety of area nonprofit organizations that are delivering essential services for their clients and families.
To date, the PACF has awarded more than $50,000 in COVID-19 emergency funds to help local nonprofits continue their critical services and programs. Food, rent and utilities assistance, and purchase of hygiene and school supplies are just a few of the things that these grants have supported and will continue to support as the PACF provides additional grants in the coming weeks.
“Many of the requests we are receiving are to support food access for area residents,” said Marian Clowes, PACF’s Associate Director for Community Leadership. “Through the quick action of the Foundation and with the help of our donors, we’ve responded swiftly to support agencies working on the front lines through this pandemic.”
One local nonprofit organization that received support recently wrote to the PACF regarding its grant support saying, “Thank you for coordinating support for our families. As the person working directly with the recipients, I want to say that it was a real lifeline for some families who were caught in the unemployment limbo.”
Grants thus far include:
“Children’s Home Society (CHS) is extremely grateful for the emergency funds received from the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and the SHF during the COVID-19 health crisis,” said Shelley Plauché-Adkins, Children’s Home Society of WV’s Regional Director. “Many of the formerly homeless youth served through our Transitional Living Program have lost employment and are struggling with food insecurity. These funds will enable Children’s Home Society to provide food boxes to 22 youth and their children over the next 12 weeks, which will ensure that our youth are being fed and greatly reduce their stress and worries during this difficult time.”
Funding to support these programs is made possible by generous donations from individuals and businesses to the PACF’s Hunger Fund (addresses food insecurity for local people) and Safety Net Fund (supports basic and emergency needs). These two response funds concentrate on relief efforts in the Foundation’s 11-county service area.
“We are very thankful for our community’s continued support of the Hunger and Safety Net funds,” said Clowes. “These significant grants are only possible because of our great community support. We anticipate making more distributions soon and we encourage the community to continue supporting these important charitable funds. We are very grateful for our donors’ help, enabling us to meet needs in our community.”
The PACF is actively contacting regional nonprofits to assess COVID-19 impact on their clients and communities and identifying ways to respond to the needs. Agencies seeking assistance should contact the PACF at 304-428-4438 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Parents and Friends of the Hearing Impaired, Inc. is working to ensure that area citizens have access to hearing aids.
The organization was formed in Marietta, Ohio in 1974 as a tax-exempt charitable organization by a group of parents, teachers, and friends of young deaf or hearing-impaired children. The initial purpose of the Parents and Friends of the Hearing Impaired was to assist these children who were grouped together to form Ohio’s first pre-school hearing impaired educational unit. The Parents and Friends provided monetary and volunteer support to this ground-breaking pre-school educational unit by helping to obtain equipment, educational supplies, or other necessary supplies needed for the students’ success.
Over the years, the Parents and Friends of the Hearing Impaired organization’s mission evolved to meet the needs of all the Mid-Ohio Valley area’s deaf and hard of hearing citizens, primarily focusing on providing hearing aids to low-income persons. During 2019, the group, in partnership with its area sponsoring providers, funded and provided 79 hearing aids for 50 individuals who would otherwise not have been able to afford these aids.
To solidify their commitment to the Mid-Ohio Valley region, Parents and Friends of the Hearing Impaired’s Board of Directors recently established an endowment fund with the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF) that will help provide operating support for the organization.
“This new fund will serve as a permanent source of funding to support our organization’s mission,” said Jim McCauley, President of Parents and Friends of the Hearing Impaired. “Our organization is run by a group of totally unpaid volunteers. We rely heavily on monetary donations to provide these hearing aids”
In December 2019, the PACF awarded a $5,000 grant to Parents and Friends of the Hearing Impaired to support its work.
“We are committed to continuing our work here in the region,” said McCauley. “We plan to raise money through the PACF’s upcoming Give Local MOV campaign on May 5 to build our endowment fund.”
Individuals who would like to learn more about Parents and Friends of the Hearing Impaired are encouraged to call Jim McCauley at 740-423-8436. Individuals wishing to donate to support the new Parents and Friends of the Hearing Impaired Fund can make their donation by sending a check (payable to PACF with the fund name in the memo line) to: PACF, PO Box 1762, Parkersburg, WV 26102 or give online here.
Photo caption: Jim McCauley, President of Parents & Friends of the Hearing Impaired, Inc., with Julie Posey, Development and Communications Officer for the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, signing paperwork to create an endowment fund with the Foundation in the name of the Parents & Friends of the Hearing Impaired.
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