A look at Scioto Gives participants

Joseph Pratt

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Dozens upon dozens of non-profit organizations work around the clock, and around the calendar, to make the area a better place. From assisting homeless people to homeless pets, from education supplements to artistic opportunities; the area is bountiful with dedicated locals committed to the betterment of our home.

It is that time of year again for many of these organizations to reap the benefits of matched donations, thanks to the staff at the Scioto Foundation.

The Scioto Foundation offers many opportunities for community development, from scholarships to watching over endowment funds. They will be matching incoming donations to their registered non-profit organization accounts this year with the annual Scioto Gives event.

The Scioto Gives event is an annual fund raising drive that is held through the Scioto Foundation. The Foundation encourages and entices donations by offering a match to funds. They recently received a $10,000 donation that has raised their match price to now offer $40,000 in matching funds.

Last year’s event awarded $80,258.95 in funds to participating groups.

26 organizations will be partaking in the Scioto Gives event this year on October 22.

Contributions from donors will be received on the SF website, www.sciotogives.org from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on October 22. Using the pull-down menu on the website, donors can select their charity and the amount they wish to donate, list credit card information and press “donate.”

Donors can also drop checks off at the Foundation’s office at 303 Chillicothe Street or transfer stocks between the hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the designated day.

Creating an endowment with Scioto Foundation can bring nonprofit organizations numerous benefits, according to Director Kim Cutlip.

“Endowment funds provide for safe and stable investments of funds and offer a method of steadily growing an organization’s funds,” Cutlip said. “An endowment fund is also an acknowledgment of an organization’s value to the community, and it encourages an increase of donor support through opportunities for memorials and special gifts. It also establishes a solid financial base for the future.”

Some of the non-profit organizations dedicated to helping children and educational institutions include UCAN, South Central Ohio Educational Service Center (SCOESC), Portsmouth STEM Academy (PSA), and Friends of Scioto Developmental Disabilities.

The Scioto Foundation’s unique UCAN (University/College Access Network) program is dedicated to helping Scioto County youth plan, prepare, and pay for college. The vision of the Scioto Foundation’s staff and board of governors in establishing UCAN, the first program of its kind in Ohio Appalachia, is to make it possible for every student in Scioto County to attend the college or university of his or her choice, according to Kim Cutlip, SF executive director.

“We are so proud of the first seven years of UCAN and we’re looking forward to many more. Community support for the program has been wonderful and it will continue to be a key factor as we strive to help more area students gain college educations,” Cutlip said.

The Foundation’s UCAN project also provides support for local school districts in establishing or expanding AP class offerings, sponsors a centralized scholarship database for Scioto County students and parents, and encourages the concept of saving for college early.

The Friends of Scioto Developmental Disabilities will be contending for funding as well, which will go towards supporting directives at the Scioto County Board of Developmental Disabilities that aren’t covered in their budget. The group has been successful in the event for three years and look forward to a fourth.

The SCBDD endowment is important because of gaps in their budget. If a need arises that isn’t necessarily part of the services that the organization provides, such as a new piece of playground equipment or a situation in which a child needs something to help with the learning process at home, they can use the funds raised by the Friends of Scioto DD to help meet these needs.

One of the few schools participating in Scioto Gives includes Portsmouth STEM, which is a local charter school.

Portsmouth STEM Academy is a year-round, K through 8, charter private school with a small student-to-faculty ratio. Portsmouth STEM Academy has a core curriculum of science, technology, engineering, and math, while providing students with a broad arts and humanities experience. Our teachers are focused on each student reaching his or her potential through individualized education. PSA’s enrollment is growing, and students are thriving in the closely knit environment.

“Dedicated to collaborative, hands-on learning, we utilize ongoing funding to surround students with access to labs, materials, equipment, technology, and experiences that books and paper can’t provide,” Principal Megan Warnock said. “Current funding priorities are robotics and electronics, foreign language immersion, and service learning projects.”

The South Central Ohio Educational Service Center’s Gifted Services Department will be participating in the Scioto Foundation’s Scioto Gives Program for a third time this year. The Gifted Services Department of the ESC provides services to all schools in Scioto County, as well as Manchester and Oak Hill Union.

Gifted Services Coordinator, Sharee Price, commented “We collaborate with teachers, parents, students, university personnel, sponsors and volunteers from the community in order to make our programs successful. Our goal is to provide unique opportunities for all students to excel in their future educational aspirations. Through the efforts of the ESC, all schools can come together to take part in something which fosters cooperation and collaboration of both teachers and students. Students develop a more mature outlook in social and public arenas, as well as profiting from the interactions with other students, teachers and community members with whom they would not normally associate.”

Programs provided by the ESC Gifted Services Department include the Artist-in-Residency program, visual arts exhibitions, academic competitions, mentorship programs, District Mock Trial, Scioto County Science Fair, Scioto County Honors Music Festival and summer enrichment scholarships (for students identified as gifted).

Price said that she is very appreciative of all the wonderful opportunities the Scioto Foundation offers to the students of our community, not only through the scholarships they grant each year but also by supporting so many programs designed to help students become successful adults.

“The Scioto Foundation has been very supportive of our programs and we simply couldn’t do what we do without them. Becoming part of the Scioto Gives Program is an exciting opportunity for us.”

Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.

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