OCCF Grants Program Accepting 2023 Applications

The Ottawa County Community Foundation (OCCF) is now accepting grant and scholarship applications for 2023-24. Last year, the Foundation provided more than $82,000 in grants to 35 local nonprofit organizations and more than $152,000 in scholarships to 121 deserving area students seeking further education.

“In this environment and economy, there is a greater need to help those who are struggling to make ends meet,” said OCCF Grants Chair Mary Coffee. “OCCF looks forward to partnering with our county nonprofit agencies in 2023, to address this need as well as others in our communities.”

The Foundation awards community grants in the fields of education, health and social services, economic development, natural resources, and the arts. Nonprofit organizations located in or serving Ottawa County are invited to submit a request for grant funding to support their unique needs.

Twin brothers, Cade and Connor McCarthy from Danbury High School, received multiple OCCF scholarships in 2022 – Coffin Memorial Scholarship, Doris E. Stamm Scholarship, and Blair Scholarship.

Julene Market shows off the new honeybee exhibit at Lake Erie Islands Nature and Wildlife Center on Put-in-Bay. The educational display was created with the assistance of a grant from OCCF.

OCCF Community Grant applications will be accepted via the online application portal until the deadline of March 1, 2023. Alternatively, applicants may also download the guidelines and forms and submit a written application by mail. To access the application portal, as well as “Guidelines for Grant Seekers” and a training video, visit www.ottawaccf.org/grants.

In addition to grants, the Foundation also annually distributes scholarships to students interested in furthering their career and academic goals.
“We rely on the guidance department staff to help connect students with the many scholarships that are available to those seeking further education,” said OCCF Scholarship Chair Dave Slosser, who partners with local guidance counselors at each of the county high schools. Slosser adds, “Counselors are invaluable in helping us throughout the scholarship selection process.”

It is anticipated that more than 125 individual scholarships (ranging from $400 to $3,500) will be awarded in 2023. Each scholarship has its own set of unique requirements established by the fund donor’s wishes.  “It’s important for high school seniors to finish and submit their scholarship applications now to meet the March deadlines determined by their high school guidance department. Students are encouraged to work closely with their school guidance office,” said Slosser.

While the majority of OCCF scholarships are for graduating high school seniors, there are several scholarships available for non-traditional students, college students seeking to study abroad, and students at a specific college. The range of scholarships is available at www.ottawaccf.org/scholarships.
Questions about applying for OCCF grants or scholarships and/or establishing a fund may be directed to 419-635-7750 or ottawaccf “at” gmail.com. Interested parties may also visit the Foundation office, 306 Madison Street, Port Clinton, noon — 3 p.m., any Wednesday.

Serving all of Ottawa County, the Ottawa County Community Foundation is a public charitable organization created in 1999, by the citizens of its community, to improve the quality of life for those who live and work in the Ottawa County area. OCCF has distributed more than $6 million in community grants and scholarships since its establishment. Current assets are $12 million.

For more information, email ottawaccf “at” gmail.com, visit www.ottawaccf.org, or call 419-635-7750. The OCCF office, 306 Madison Street, Port Clinton, is open from noon—3pm, every Wednesday. Donations may be made online or sent to the Ottawa County Community Foundation, P.O. Box 36, Port Clinton, Ohio 43452.

Important Public Meetings on Horizon

Put in Bay CommunitySeveral public meetings of significance are scheduled this month:

  • Tuesday, August 16 – 12:15 pm – Board of Education / New school year with new superintendent
  • Tuesday, August 16 –   6:00 pm – Police Commission / Continuing review of safety policies
  • Saturday, August 20 – 10:00 am – PiB Property Owners Meeting / Township Levy presentation

The Board of Education meets in the Put-in-Bay School multi-purpose room.  The Police Commission meets in the Put-in-Bay Town Hall.  Property Owners meets at the Put-in-Bay Senior Center.  All are welcome and invited to participate.


Safe Island Task Force Implementing Creative Solutions

Put in Bay Safe Island Task Force
Mr. Hicks

Put-in-Bay Safe Island Task Force presented a comprehensive outline about island imaging to more than fifty residents of the South Bass Island community on Tuesday evening at the Put-in-Bay Senior Center.  Brad Ohlemacher, chairman, provided a brief overview of the task force origination and 360 hours of meeting time since July 2018.  He then introduced Joe Hicks from Thunder Tech marketing agency, who explained the strategy the task force decided to follow is a “repositioning goal to change public opinions and perceptions about Put-in-Bay.”  Mr. Hicks identified the following target audiences:  Family, Party Crowd, Seasoned Travelers, Group Travelers, Media, Seasonal Island Employees, and the Island Community.

Put in Bay Safe Island Task Force
Michael Bell, Toledo Mayor 2010-2014

The communications plan will address issues that arise, as task force member Patrick Put in Bay Safe Island Task ForceMyers put it, “When we go from a small island to a big city environment.”  Member Kim Stoiber added, “It is important to talk in a positive manner about the efforts the community is making to create a safe and pleasant environment for all.”  Michael Bell, former Toledo Mayor, task force member and island visitor for over thirty years, pointed out, “It’s not about what you look like, it’s about behavior.  The task force came at it with diverse eyes so there would not be any blind spots.  There were behaviors happening years before that you weren’t paying attention to.”  Task force member Aaron Walker, former Ohio State Trooper, emphasized South Bass Island is a welcoming and beautiful environment deserving of mutual respect.

Put in Bay Safe Island Task ForcePut in Bay Safe Island Task ForceNew island signage is intended to reinforce the “dos and don’ts” and island expectations which provide a secure atmosphere for residents and visitors alike.  Patrick Put in Bay Safe Island Task ForcePut in Bay Safe Island Task ForceMyers explained the idea is to “communicate the principles of public island spaces.”  Put-in-Bay Police Chief Steve Riddle said the department will strictly enforce rules governing proper golf cart use, consumption of alcohol in public, and crowd control.  Five officers have been sent to specialty training, and the police department budget has increased to “assure citizens will be safe.”

Put in Bay Safe Island Task ForceCaptain Billy Market, co-owner of Miller Boat Line and task force member, reiterated the “Need to focus on any large weekend!  There is no magic fix, but there are a number of steps to take to eliminate what the island experienced in July 2018.”  He added, “Miller Ferry and Jet Express have established communications with known tour operators to coordinate arrival and stagger transport to Put-in-Bay.”

Thunder Tech Creative Director Craig Israel indicated the media campaign will include two phases.  The first will “caution troublemakers, reassure past and future visitors, and help islanders take a stand.” “Enjoy a Getaway, Don’t Get Put Away” is one thematic element.  Phase two is designed “to inspire new or lapsed visitors, re-imagine what you think you know about Put-in-Bay, and motivate people to visit.”  The meeting closed with a question/answer opportunity during which twelve residents expressed concerns and opinions.