Challenges and Opportunity

Brian Treece photo
Brian Treece - President & CEO of The Community Foundation

Hancock County is familiar with challenges. And with each, The Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation was able to respond because of the generosity of the thousands of donors who have partnered with us to ensure we have the resources to face those challenges. In response to the 2007 flood, we served as fiscal agent for the Northwest Ohio Flood Mitigation Partnership. We partnered with Hope House to support the victims after the Argyle building fire that displaced 30 people. Many of you supported the Foundation’s Community Emergency Support Fund during the pandemic. Also during the pandemic, the Foundation launched its advocacy program to give local nonprofits a seat at the table and a path to funding at the government level. Because of so many of you and those who came before you, we’ve risen to meet these challenges.

As Merriam-Webster defines it, rising to the challenge means “to make the special effort that is required to successfully deal with a difficult situation.” We’re fortunate in Hancock County, but there are still difficulties. The state defines us as a childcare desert, transportation options remain limited, and affordable housing units are still scarce. These are just a few current challenges, but we know there will be others.

Past donors probably could never have imagined the coronavirus pandemic, opioid epidemic, the county’s flooding issues, and other hurdles we’ve faced as a community. Because of their foresight, they provided resources for the Foundation to be a partner. Because of their generosity, we were, and are, able to respond to yesterday's, today's, and tomorrow's needs.

I want to tell you about Cheryl Miller. Cheryl was raised here and spent most of her life in our community. She was a loving aunt and a passionate gardener. Cheryl saw the beauty in our community as a Master Gardener and wanted to further that beauty to ensure it bloomed long beyond her lifetime. She worked closely with her professional advisor and the Foundation team to create a plan for future giving. When Cheryl passed in 2022, the Cheryl D. Miller Fund was created to " support groups in Hancock County which provide beautification of green spaces.” Like many past and present donors, Cheryl recognized the circumstances and made the effort to be part of the solution.

The Foundation recently announced a unique grant opportunity made possible in part by Cheryl. The Building Community through Neighborhood Revitalization Grant Opportunity is now accepting applications. This pool of funds is focused on engaging residents of all ages in making a difference in their communities through neighborhood revitalization projects. Examples of projects could include tree and flower planting in public spaces, neighborhood clean-ups and beautification, or any other creative endeavor. We’re excited to see what will grow from the seeds Cheryl planted.

I invite each of you to rise to the challenge by following in Cheryl’s footsteps, and in the footsteps of the many donors who came before her, to ensure our community has the resources to address these challenges, not just for now but forever. More information about the grant application process is available on our website here: Community Improvement Grants Now Available.

This editorial was originally printed in The Courier Saturday, June 29, 2024.