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Endowed Scholarship Funds Make Meaningful Impact

If you’re the parent of a college-bound student or a college-bound student yourself, you are more than likely feeling overwhelmed by the college application process and even more so by the costs that are adding up.  To help offset some of these expenses the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation & Regional Affiliates (PACF) offers several scholarship opportunities for area students. 

“Not only are students and parents worried about tuition and fees, but they are also concerned about costs for books, housing, transportation, and much more,” said Rachel Brezler, PACF’s Regional Scholarships Officer. “We’re here to help parents and students easily navigate through the scholarship process and provide meaningful financial assistance to help pay for college.”

Brezler believes that the scholarship funds managed by the PACF are extremely helpful for students working to achieve their academic goals.  “Scholarship awards are directed straight to the college/university and are directly applied to the student’s account,” said Brezler.  “This approach minimizes administrative details for students and eases financial worries.  We’ve had several recipients comment that the scholarships they received truly helped them focus more on their studies.”

The PACF manages more than 160 endowed scholarship funds, established by forward-thinking citizens, to support students in its 11-county service area.  An endowed scholarship fund with the PACF is a permanent fund in which the principal always remains intact and invested, forever.  Annually, scholarships are awarded from a portion of the income earned on the fund’s earnings.  Each scholarship fund at the Foundation has different eligibility requirements.  Many awards are restricted to students graduating from certain high schools, pursuing select fields of study, or attending specific institutions.  While most existing scholarships are limited to students who are graduating high school seniors, there are a few available for students whose undergraduate degree program is already underway, who are pursuing graduate level education, or who are “non-traditional” students.    

The average cost of college, both public and private, keeps increasing at a slow and steady pace each year.  According to a recent U.S. News and Report article, the average 2018-2019 cost for public, in-state schooling is more than $9,000; public, out-of-state is more than $21,000; and private colleges and universities is more than $35,000.

Last year, the PACF awarded 266 scholarships, totaling more than $331,000, to support area students pursuing post-secondary education.  Currently, the PACF is reviewing applications for its spring 2019 awards. 

As the cost for post-secondary education continues to rise, the PACF encourages individuals concerned about the academic future of our region’s young people to consider partnering with Foundation.  Individuals can volunteer on the PACF’s Scholarship Fund Committee, donate to build a current scholarships fund, or partner with the Foundation to create a new scholarship fund.  Together we can make a meaningful difference for our community’s next generation. 

Contact the PACF today at info@pacfwv.com or call 304-428-4438 for more information.

Grants in Action: Washington Bottom Community Building Gets Upgrades

The Washington Bottom Community Building has a new floor and new lighting, thanks, in part, to a $4,500 PACF grant. The Community Building serves as a focal point for the area and is the meeting place for the local Lions Club.

"Thanks to generous support of the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, the McDonough Foundation, and volunteer help, we were able to complete the originally proposed work - and more!" said Sam Tanner, with the Community Building.

A local Boy Scout took on the flooring project and painted the kitchen as an Eagle Scout project.

"Since an Eagle Scout project involves the whole troop, all of the Scouts learned that hard work pays off in the job well done," said Tanner.

With the help of a retired electrician and State Electric, the organization also was able to rewire all the lights in the front of the building and add new kitchen lighting. Rentals of the building have increased since the improvements have been made.

Ted McPherson, one of the charter members of the Lions Club, said, "the building looks the best it has in years."

Walter B. Swentzel Scholarship Joins Doddridge County Community Foundation

Walter Swentzel and Lovie SwentzelBorn in 1886 in Doddridge County, Walter Blaine Swentzel was a teacher by profession, and after a long career in the classroom, retired as the last Doddridge County, West Virginia Superintendent of Schools to be elected by the voters of the county.  Mr. Swentzel passed away in 1968 at the age of 81. 

In 1983, two of Walter B. Swentzel’s children, June Swentzel Stout and Kipling Clark Swentzel, met with representatives of two banks, Cornerstone Bank (formerly First National Bank of West Union) and West Union Bank, and the administration of the Doddridge County High School with the goal of honoring their father’s memory by creating a scholarship in his name to support students excelling academically who wished to pursue post-secondary education.  Their initial contributions to establish the scholarship were met with community support and the first Walter B. Swentzel Scholarship award was made in 1984.  

A nonprofit organization, the Walter B. Swentzel Scholarship, Inc. was formed by and led by a group of local citizens. Between 1984 and 2018, the Swentzel Scholarship produced nearly $190,000 in awards.  To ensure the perpetual existence of the scholarship and to provide support for its selection process, the Walter B. Swentzel Scholarship, Inc.’s Board of Directors recently partnered with the Doddridge County Community Foundation (DCCF), a regional affiliate of the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF).   

“The Foundation has more than fifty-five years of history and a long-standing positive reputation of professionally managing charitable funds, including scholarships,” said Josh Weekley, Treasurer of Walter B. Swentzel Scholarship, Inc.  “They already manage many scholarships for our local students -- including the Janice Michels Scholarship and the Cathy McClain Nursing Scholarship -- and they have the administrative and investment resources to ensure that the Walter B. Swentzel Scholarship will continue to provide meaningful, renewable scholarships for students graduating from Doddridge County High School forever.”

The Walter B. Swentzel Scholarship, now administered by the Doddridge County Community Foundation (DCCF), is currently open to applications.   Graduating seniors from Doddridge County High School are encouraged to visit the Foundation’s website, www.pacfwv.com/scholarships, and complete the Consolidated Scholarship Application to apply to this fund and more than 160 other scholarship funds administered by the Foundation.  The application deadline is March 1, 2019. An additional benefit of completing the Foundation’s Consolidated Scholarship Application is that students need only complete one form to be eligible for many different awards within the Foundation.

“We are very honored to manage this significant scholarship fund that has already made a meaningful impact for 167 Doddridge County High School students.  We greatly appreciate the trust that the Swentzel Scholarship Board has shown in DCCF with its partnership,” said Julie Posey, DCCF’s Development and Communications Officer.  “We look forward to continuing to engage with local citizens to annually award this scholarship and to share and highlight Mr. Swentzel’s legacy of commitment to education.”  

Individuals who wish to make a tax-deductible donation to the Walter B. Swentzel Scholarship may send a check (made payable to “PACF” with the fund name in the memo line) to:  PACF, PO Box 1762, Parkersburg, WV 26102.  To learn more about the Walter B. Swentzel Scholarship or to make an online donation, please visit www.pacfwv.com/Swentzel. 

Picture Caption:   Walter Swentzel and his wife, Lovie, during their 50th wedding anniversary in 1959.

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