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Born 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.
Old Man Rivers Mission is transforming community support into community action through a spirit of volunteerism. Founded in 1991, Old Man Rivers Mission has touched the lives of hundreds of individuals in Wood County.
The main program of the Mission is a weekend feeding program where they deliver hot nutritious meals to the Parkersburg/Vienna community using a mobile kitchen technique each Saturday and Sunday. In fall 2016, the Mission purchased a new delivery truck with a grant from the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation allowing the Mission to delivery more than 200 meals in one trip.
Each Saturday and Sunday, the Mission prepares 400 meals to deliver to the community. In 2018, 41,700 meals were delivered to the elderly, disabled, and homeless. Nearly 80% of Old Man Rivers Mission’s feeding program clients are elderly. For many, the meal that is delivered to them is the only meal they will have for that day. Their clientele is comprised of those with very limited or no income so affording food is a tremendous hardship.
Another program of the Mission is their pantry which provides families with food and personal hygiene items. On average, more than 620 families are served each month (based on July-December 2018 figures).
To solidify their commitment to the Mid-Ohio Valley region, Old Man Rivers Mission’s Board of Directors recently established an endowment fund with the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation that will help provide operating support for the organization.
“The Foundation has a respected reputation in our community and this new endowment fund’s annual distribution will help supplement a portion of our annual operating expenses and help us continue to serve the residents of Wood County,” said Jeanette Pursley, President of Old Man Rivers Mission.
As competition for funding increases, many nonprofit organizations face challenges with securing support for their ongoing programming. In addition, when organizations face a financial challenge, or are going through a growth period, general operating support can be of great assistance to ensure that resources are in place to maintain programs and services.
Recognizing this, the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation offers operating support grants to nonprofit organizations through its Community Action Grants Program, a bi-annual competitive grant application process. A number of local organizations have received operating support through this important program of the Foundation, but the need continues to grow.
A $15,000 operating support grant to the Boys and Girls Club of Parkersburg helped them to provide programs for 946 members in 2018. The Club's services are particularly critical on days of unexpected school closings, such as snow days.
"Thank goodness you're here today.," said one mother of a Club member at the recent closing of schools for the Day of Mourning in honor of President Bush. "I don't know what I would have done today if the Club wasn't open."
According to Ben Shuman, Executive Director, "Providing programs on the days schools are closed is unusual for a program like ours - more than half of Clubs across the country close their programs on those days." Operating support helps to ensure that the Boys and Girls Club of Parkersburg can remain open on those days, providing critical support to children and families.
To learn more about how you can partner with the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation to support your favorite area nonprofits with operating support needs, please call us at 304-428-4438.
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