The Scioto Foundation is pleased to announce the establishment of the Russell Family Hope Fund, created by Michael and Kim Russell to benefit the therapeutic riding program at the Ohio University Horse Park.
Distributions from the fund will be paid to Ohio University Southern for the therapeutic riding program with the Russell family’s preference that proceeds be used to assist veterans and children with special needs.
“We want to dedicate, as a family, a determined amount of our profits from our shared family business back to what we believe to be the most deserving local community service,” said spokesman Michael Russell, relating how the fund idea originated.
“My wife, Kimberly Frantz Russell and I grew up in Scioto County. I joined the military within a year of graduating from Wheelersburg High School. Kim graduated from Portsmouth West and she was taking some classes at Shawnee State in the evening and working full time at Portsmouth Bank when we met and married. I had been injured overseas and spent some time in a military hospital prior to being discharged. Within a few years I was working at the Post Office in Portsmouth. We went to Florida on vacation, and I believe we had decided to move our family there by the time we got home from vacation,” Russell said.
“After several years living and working in Florida, we returned to Scioto County in time for the children to attend high school in Wheelersburg,” Russell added. “I attended Ohio State for my master’s degree and used that education at the Scioto County Schools and later at
Portsmouth City Schools as the Director of Pupil Personnel/School Psychologist, bearing the responsibility for the identification and the educational program design of all special needs and gifted students.”
Russell earned the local Red Cross Education Hero Award at the time. He also served on the Scioto County Board of MRDD and co-wrote the first grant that brought a Portsmouth Police School Resource Officer to the City Schools.
“Patriots’ Travel Center is a business that we purchased since I retired,” Russell explained. “It has become an opportunity for our children to earn a living while staying here in the area.”
“My daughter, Stephanie, and son, Michael are instrumental in the day to day operations of the business. Kim helps with the management of the overall operation and I am pleased to say my plan has worked out wonderfully,” Russell said. “I have three grandchildren, Katie 6, Caleb 3, and Logan Michael is 10 months old. Actually, the kids are in Kim’s care, with my help, when their mom and dad are working. I couldn’t be happier to see my grandchildren so often.”
“We learned this past summer that the Ohio University Horse Park was serving veterans and has been helping children for many years. My granddaughter, Katie, wanted to take riding lessons so the time there gave us the opportunity to meet the principals of the property to hear some of their accomplishments and their needs. After talking with my children we all decided to honor them with the foundation,” Russell concluded.
“One of the things I enjoy most about working with the Scioto Foundation is helping local people set up endowments which benefit the residents of this community,” said Patty Tennant,
SF Program Officer for Donor Services, who assisted the Russells in setting up the new fund.
“It is very rewarding to work with Mike and Kim to help them help others though their generosity.”
In the event that the Ohio University Horse Park’s therapeutic riding fund and/or their veterans’ program would cease to exist, the fund would benefit other like programs in the community or programs that work to benefit veterans and/or children with disabilities.
Additions to the fund may be made by friends, family and supporters of the riding program, along with its beneficiaries, in the form of gifts of cash, securities or property to the fund at any time. Further information about the Russell Family Hope Fund or other planned giving opportunities may be obtained by contacting Tennant or Executive Director Kim Cutlip at the Scioto Foundation office, (740) 354-4612 or by visiting the SF website at www.sciotofoundation.org.