Oxford Community Foundation celebrates 20th anniversary

By Kelsey Kimbler - For The Register-Herald

OXFORD – On Sunday, Oct. 23, Oxford’s Community Foundation (OCF) celebrate its 20th anniversary with its annual meeting.

President Sarah Mabry opened the meeting held at Marcum Conference Center by welcoming community members and guests. She compared the Community Foundation to a community farm — board members planted seeds years prior and now has an orchard of gifts for the community.

Treasurer John Clements followed her speech with his financial report. He shared that as part of the 20th celebration, they aim to raise $100,000 “so the foundation will further enrich the community.”

After a break to eat dinner, President Emeritus James Robinson took the stage to honor the board members. In addition to President Mabry and Treasurer Clements, John Skillings serves as vice president and Laura Cohen acts as assistant treasurer and secretary.

Board members include Deb Allison, Jody Brock, Jerome Conley, Richard Little, Marjorie Nadler, Mary Jane Roberts, Michael Rudolph, Bill Schilling, Deb Snyder, Greg Wilhelm, and Shirley Younts.

Executive Director Leah Flynn gave a presentation entitled “Making a Difference for 20 years.”

Over the years, the Foundation has raised more than $3 million for the community. They distribute grants to those who pass an application process. The Foundation focuses on eight ways to better the community, including: Education, Social Welfare, Health Services, Arts and Culture, Recreation, Environmental, Civic Projects, and Beautification.

There are five ways the Foundation accepts gifts: outright gifts, bequests by will, gift of life insurance, gift of appreciated stock, and a gift of individual retirement account.

Holli Morrish, with Talwanda School District and Casey Wooddell with Oxford Parks and Recreation, spoke on the positive influence the Community Foundation has had on their organizations. The school district and OPR are regular grant-holders with OCF.

Morrish opened by sharing that this is her 13th year as community liaison with OCF. She reflected, “Oxford is a very small town, but it’s mighty and the Oxford Community Foundation is a big part of that.”

She added, they focus on three key areas at Talawanda – areas to which OCF regularly contributes. Those areas are the curriculum program, climate, and preparation for future.

With support from OCF, the schools are able to provide “little extras” to the students to help them prepare for their future.

Director Woodell opened his statement with a reminder that Oxford Parks & Recreation Office keeps a brochure of fall/winter events online or available at several Oxford businesses. He noted, OCF has sponsored Oxford’s Freedom Fest, an after school bowling program, the Ready Set Run program, an archery program, and many other events. He thanked the Community Foundation “for all they’ve done.”

He ended his speech by talking about the Aquatic Park, slated to open in 2019.

To end the meeting, Mayor Kate Rousmaniere took the stage to read a proclamation declaring Oct. 23, 2016 “Oxford Community Foundation Day.”

The foundation recognized the support of its 2015-2016 volunteers, including; Phil Abshire, Alison Bridge, Lisa Dankovich, Sharon Gregory, Jim Robinson, Deborah Saas, Beverly Thomas, Better Rogers, Jim Cashell, Mike Davis, Tara Jones, Pamela Robins, Judy Schiller, Lisa Wespiser, Bob Biggs, Connie Clements, Carol Flee, Warren Mason, Silvia Rothschild, and Donna Skillings.

Sponsors of the annual meeting included Barbara Cox, Delta Signma Pi Business Fraternity, First Financial Bank, Kirsch CPA, Miami University Community Federal Credit Union, Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity, B&R Plumbing & Heating, Ken and JoeAnne Bogarde, Joel and Melissa Engelhard, Fey Insurance, Glenwood Energy, Steve and Deb Snyder, Chris and Debra Allison, Bayer Becker, Michael and Jeanne Murphy Beck, Beta Theta Pi, Marc and Lisa Biales, Jack and Laura Cohen, Tom and Marilyn Collins, Jerome Conley, Tom and Hyla Peterson, Russ and Joan Starkey, Greg Wilhelm and Helaine Alessio, Shirley Younts, B&M Landscape & Construction, Inc., Day Estates, Hometown Rental, Inc., LCNB National Bank, Alton and Ruth Sanders, State Farm Insurance – Rick Verst, Beth Swailes, and Beverly Thomas.

By Kelsey Kimbler

For The Register-Herald