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News & Event

A Remarkable Woman Makes an Extraordinary Gift to PACF

Mary M. WelchThe Parkersburg Area Community Foundation & Regional Affiliates has received a $15 million gift according to its Executive Director, Judy Sjostedt Ritchie.

“It’s been said that, ‘Some people leave footprints on our hearts and we are never, ever the same,’” Sjostedt said. “Mary M. “Mickey” Welch left her footprints on the hearts of many people throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley and elsewhere. A successful owner of numerous businesses who was steadfast in supporting her community, Mickey had a boundless concern for others, always patiently listening when someone approached her with a need or an idea. She often gave support, quietly helping thousands of different individuals and organizations over the years.”

Sjostedt continued, “Mickey was always thoughtful in her giving and instrumental in making many good things possible. In recent years, she helped to launch the Hunger and Safety Net Funds for the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF), both which are currently addressing critical local needs during the pandemic.”

When she passed away in August 2019, her family and friends were devastated. Wood County mourned the loss of one of its strongest champions. But Mickey had one more gift waiting. Like the trailblazer she was in life—the first woman in West Virginia to drill an oil well—and with the spirit of compassion that was her hallmark, she once again stepped up to care for others.

This time, Mickey set a new record, blazing a trail for future generations, with the single largest gift ever made to the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF) in its 57-year history. Her $15 million bequest endows the Mary M. Welch Advised Fund of PACF, a permanent charitable fund to forever benefit the Parkersburg area with emphasis on those causes of keen interest to Mickey during her own lifetime.

Her daughter, Mary Anne Ketelsen, Fund Adviser to PACF said, “My mother loved her community; it was part of her family.  She cared about improving life here for those most vulnerable—children, youth, special needs individuals, and animals. She liked helping organizations that help people to help themselves and that enable families to build a better life. Mother gave to so many different worthy causes. She chose to place her major legacy gift with the PACF because in working with the Foundation for many years, she saw that they, too, worked with a variety of groups, and did so fairly and impartially. PACF is at the forefront of many good things here. She felt she could trust them to manage the gift she planned to leave for our community’s benefit. She knew they would help seek out the best and most appropriate ways to use her gift far into the future.”

Cynthia Brown, PACF Board of Directors Chairperson, said, “We’re humbled by the magnitude of the trust that a gift of this size places in the PACF. Our Board is deeply honored to have been chosen by Mrs. Welch to receive such a wonderful gift that will help so many people in the coming years.”

Mickey’s long-time friend and business advisor, Robin Baylous, CPA, said, “Mickey was a great friend; a deeply caring and generous person. She was also a very savvy businesswoman. She saw the PACF as forward thinking and well-managed; she liked the fact that needs and times will change but the PACF will still be here.”

Mickey gave as she did during her lifetime, selflessly. She placed her major legacy gift alongside those of others locally, large and small, all working together to build a stronger foundation for the Mid-Ohio Valley. Judy Sjostedt Ritchie, PACF’s Executive Director since 1999, said the PACF will honor Mickey’s giving traditions through this fund. She explained, “It’s important for those seeking resources to know that we will manage requests using PACF’s existing grants processes. Twice a year, our Community Action Grants program accepts requests; annually, local Humane Societies may request help via the Hornbrook grants application; and time-sensitive mini-grant requests can be requested any time using the Foundation’s SUN grants process.” She invites organizations to review grant opportunities online or to contact PACF’s Associate Director for Community Leadership, Marian Clowes at 304.428.4438,

Sjostedt Ritchie added, “A gift like this is transformational for PACF; it will propel us forward. Mickey supported so many important causes during her lifetime. Now, in partnership with PACF, with her daughter’s guidance, Mickey’s Fund will still be caring for the things that mattered to her far into the future,  well past our lifetimes. Amidst a difficult year for so many, Mickey’s tremendous gift brings us all cause for hope for a brighter tomorrow. We are proud to serve as her steward and so grateful to Mickey for her remarkable gift for our community.”


The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and Regional Affiliates (PACF) works with individuals, families, businesses, and civic or nonprofit organizations to make a positive and permanent commitment for the future of our community.  The PACF is a single 501(c)(3) public charity that manages more than 375 charitable funds with more than $65 million in assets.  The PACF works in partnership with its local affiliates to provide leadership and develop philanthropic resources to meet the needs of an 11-county service area.  Since 1963, PACF has helped local citizens support charitable needs and touch every aspect of life in the community in a variety of lasting ways.  To learn how to create a personal charitable legacy or for more information about the PACF, visit or call 304-428-4438. 

Foundation Awards Another $38,000 in COVID-19 Emergency Funding

Beginning in March, the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF) began working to raise money for its Safety Net Fund and Hunger Fund to provide COVID-19 relief grants to area nonprofit agencies impacted by the pandemic.  The community answered the PACF’s call for help and together they’ve raised more than $320,000 for the two COVID-19 relief funds.  The PACF has made a commitment to grant 100% of donations received for COVID-19 relief back into the region.     

The PACF recently awarded $38,241 in its fifth round of COVID-19 pandemic response grants, bringing the total awarded to date to more than $296,365, a total which also includes 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 fifth round of grants include:

  • Calhoun County Committee on Aging - $5,821 to help purchase a vehicle to meet increased demand for home meal delivery. *
  • Calhoun County Family Resource Network - $2,770 to purchase shelving for food pantry. * 
  • Choices Child Care Resources and Referral Agency - $2,000 to purchase personal protection equipment for childcare providers in Wood, Gilmer, Pleasants, Ritchie, and Wirt counties
  • Community Resources, Inc. (CRI) - $4,000 to support program to provide rent and mortgage assistance to individuals impacted by COVID-19 and $2,500 to enable families to double their SNAP dollars to purchase produce at CRI’s farmers market.
  • Friendship Kitchen - $2,000 to purchase food for meal program. *
  • Gilmer County Historical Society - $1,000 in operating support. 
  • Gilmer Public Library - $900 to purchase solar charging stations to place outside of library to assist those accessing internet for remote learning.
  •  Little Kanawha Resource Conservation and Development – $4,000 to support the Project Sharing program. *
  • Normantown Historical Community Center - $500 to purchase food for the food pantry that serves Gilmer County residents.
  • Parkersburg Catholic Schools - $1,750 to purchase electrostatic sprayers to disinfect schools.
  • PATCH 21 - $3,000 to install internet server and access points throughout Roane County to enable area students and teachers to access the internet for online learning needs.
  • Westbrook - $5,000 for deep cleaning and sanitation of facilities. *
  • Wirt County Ministerial Alliance/Hope Shop Food Pantry - $3,000 to stock their food pantry. *

While the PACF is best known for partnering with local citizens to build permanent long-term charitable funds for the betterment our region, the Foundation is also flexible and uniquely positioned to serve as a strong community partner in emergencies.  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

Donations to support the PACF’s Hunger Fund and Safety Net Fund are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.  To learn more about these funds and the work that the Foundation is doing to address COVID-19 in our region, visit

Grants in Action: Masks in Ritchie County

Even small grants can make a big difference. Just ask the Ritchie County Family Resource Network (FRN). The FRN received a $600 COVID-19 relief grant from the PACF to buy material, elastic, and thread for a community mask-making project.

"Ritchie County had several clothing manufacturing factories in the county in the past. When I put the call out for volunteers, many of them were these same workers," said Pam Ward, Executive Director of the FRN. "By securing these funds, the FRN was able to provide volunteers with the necessary supplies to mass produce the masks. They felt like they were being useful and able to contribute back to the community and to help with the COVID pandemic."

The masks were donated to agencies and individuals in the county, allowing service providers to continue seeing clients and residents to safely get groceries, visit doctors, and undertake other essential activities. The masks will continue to offer protection for months to come


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