Marion County nonprofit groups get a boost from county commissioners

Sixteen nonprofit organizations in Marion County benefit from taxpayer dollars that are pumped back into the community by the federal government.

Marion County commissioners announced Friday the recipients of grants funded by money from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021. In April this year, county commissioners voted to establish the grant scheme to benefit local non-profit organizations. Commissioners noted that nonprofits in Marion County have faced significant challenges throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, not the least of which is an increase in demand for services and the changing operational needs. These factors, combined with dwindling donations, have strained many organizations.

Overall, Marion County received $12,643,552 in ARPA funds from the federal government. The funding must be spent by the end of calendar year 2024, in accordance with the legislation. Commissioners awarded a total of $737,535.87 to 16 organizations that applied for the money. Commissioners said they received applications totaling $2.4 million from more than 30 applicants.

Commissioner Ken Stiverson said the original plan was to distribute $250,000 in ARPA to local nonprofit groups, but commissioners decided to increase the amount due to the overwhelming response to the program.

“I know the three of us are very happy to be able to help (local nonprofits),” Stivarson said. “It’s nice when you have funds to be able to help the community in this way. Thanks to the federal government and all of us who pay taxes, so it’s our money back to us.”

Commission Chairman Andy Appelfeller said there are no plans “at this time” to distribute more ARPA funds to local nonprofit organizations in Marion County.

Here is the list of grant recipients with the amount each organization has received:

  • Caledonia Farmer’s Market – $5,000
  • Downtown Marion, Inc. – $15,000
  • Homeless Shelter in Heartland Ohio – $25,000
  • Luke 3:11 Ministries – Peanut Butter Jelly Truck – $50,000
  • Marion Teen Pregnancy Program – $5,000
  • Marion Area Convention and Visitors Bureau – $25,000
  • Marion CANDO – $20,000
  • Marion County Historical Society – $235,000
  • Marion Technical College Foundation – $100,000
  • Marion Voices Folk Life and Oral History Program – $5,000
  • Palace Theater – $13,338
  • Prairie Parks Foundation – $4,197.87
  • St. Mary’s Catholic Church – Latin Ministry – $5,000
  • United Way-Marion Childcare Coalition – $50,000
  • Marion’s Women’s Club House – $30,000
  • Marion Family YMCA – $150,000

Marion County Historical Society executive director Brandi Wilson said ARPA’s $235,000 funding will benefit the society’s fundraising campaign to pay for improvements to Heritage Hall.

“It’s part of a huge fundraising campaign that we’re undertaking,” she said. “We are trying to raise $900,000 for much needed renovations to Heritage Hall. We have received state funding through their Capital Bill ($200,000) so we will be receiving the money that will go towards our much needed roof upgrades (County Commissioners ARPA money) will go towards our much needed heating and air conditioning. climate control to make sure the building is well taken care of and things are taken care of these are two of the biggest pieces of our fundraising campaign and we are going to be able to move forward and start the process of refurbishing Heritage Lobby.”

Amy Parker, founder of Luke 3:11 Ministries and the Peanut Butter Jelly Truck outreach program in Marion, said the $50,000 grant will allow her army of volunteers to continue feeding community residents in need. Earlier this year, State Farm Insurance provided a $25,000 grant to the ministry.

“It’s going to secure us a few more years,” said Parker, who runs Luke 3:11 Ministries with her husband, Brock. “Besides the State Farm grant, this funding here is just incomprehensible, the meaning it’s going to have for us in the future.”

Parker said she was stunned by the outpouring of support Luke 3:11 Ministries has received from the community.

“We thought we were just going to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for our neighbors at the corner park,” she said. “We really didn’t intend to be a full-fledged nonprofit that has this kind of impact and volunteer base. Incomprehensible is the only word I can use to describe what happened. has happened over the past three years. This funding now cements that we’re here to stay and we’re going to make a difference in this city.”

Marion Family YMCA CEO Jeremy Byers said the funding received by his organization will pay for upgrades to the facility on Barks Road, including the air conditioning system.

“It’s going to allow us to serve our young people more effectively by allowing them to be comfortable in the building,” he said. “We want people to come into our building and feel like they’re at home because they’re an extension of our family. With this grant, we’ll be able to upgrade the facility a bit more and make it feel like home. a home for people coming in. Since being here I have seen how the community has supported the YMCA and I look forward to doing more in the community.

Marion Technical College President Ryan McCall said the $100,000 grant will benefit a program to provide 50 tuition-free scholarships to Marion County students for an entire academic year.

“We used some of our federal dollars over the summer to help encourage students to come back, and enrollment jumped because students saw this opportunity,” McCall said. “I think a lot of students want to come back, but right now with everything they’re just not sure they want to do or if they can. It really helps attract those who have already started the university and want to come back, now they have this opportunity. And the new ones who have thought about it, now they can.

Marion Women’s Club Home President Deb Stark and Vice President Valerie Wigton said the grant will help their organization establish the Women’s History Resource Center in the former East Center Street campus coach house.

“Right now we’re using the house to do all the scanning and archiving (of documents) and we want to have a well-equipped area to do all of that, as well as a small reception area,” Stark said. “Then we can focus on turning the house itself into a museum. That’s the ultimate goal. We have a long way to go, but renovating this shed will give us the space we don’t have. to occupy in the women’s club. The house itself.”

Wigton said the Women’s Club Home has archival material that dates back to the organization’s founding in 1895 and they are in the process of digitizing all of that material.

Commissioner Kerr Murray said he appreciates the work local nonprofit groups are doing for Marion County residents.

“I just want to thank everyone for coming to tell us what you need,” Murray told grant recipients. “I think this is going to be good for everyone. … I really have deep gratitude for all of you and for all that you do for our community. It will be a better place. You all have a plan (for fundraising We could look at things to see how the plans work, I’m excited to see what happens.

Appelfeller said Marion County Deputy Chief Auditor Angela Smith and Commissioners Administrative Clerk Teri Slaughterbeck were instrumental in the success of the program. Smith delivered the checks to representatives from each organization in attendance Friday.

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