Four new local nonprofit organizations serving community causes ranging from the visual and literary arts to social services benefitting disabled youth and providing basic needs are joining the Scioto Foundation’s annual Scioto Gives program this year.
The Trillium Project, Scioto Literary, Special Olympics and St. Francis Catholic Outreach and Charitable Giving, along with 44 previous participating nonprofits, will strive to raise monies for their endowment funds established at the Scioto Foundation. The 2023 Scioto Gives, set for October 19, will offer local and out-of-town residents, businesses, corporations and others a convenient way to support their favorite charitable causes.
Again, the Scioto Foundation will offer a $55,000 match for nonprofits participating in the eleventh annual Scioto Gives fundraising effort. From 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. on October 19, contributions will be received on the Scioto Foundation website, www.sciotogives.org, by a simple procedure. Using the pull-down menu on the website, donors can select their charity and the amount they wish to give, list credit card information and press “donate.” Each participating nonprofit is profiled with its mission and community activities on the Scioto Gives website for viewing by interested potential donors.
Donors may send checks to the Foundation at P.O. Box 911, Portsmouth, Ohio 45662 or they may transfer stocks during the designated twelve-hour period on October 19. Donors may also drop checks off at the Scioto Foundation’s office from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the giving period, but the Foundation staff requests that those who want to make gifts by credit card do so by online transactions during the designated timeframe.
The matching amount each nonprofit will receive will be determined after all contributions are received. Award amounts will be announced during a reception at Oscar’s Restaurant from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 14.
The Trillium Project is new nonprofit with an ambitious goal of launching a two-year public arts initiative that will empower the Portsmouth community, according to its Director, Amanda Lewis. The project proposes to commission the work of eight local artists or more, engage the community in collaborative public art-making, and install asphalt art murals in various parts of town, along with artistic displays in empty storefront windows along Chillicothe and Gallia Streets, artistic crosswalks and sidewalks, and large murals on underpasses and overpasses, among other endeavors.
“The execution of these proposed projects over the next two years will help solidify Portsmouth’s emergence as a ‘Comeback City’ and provide new opportunities for economic expansion, community development, and increased civic and social infrastructure to help with sustainability,” said Lewis. “Additionally, this project is anticipated to engage hundreds of local residents in the design, planning and execution, as well as provide an increased quality of life through creative-place making and public art engagement.”
“Trillium Project is committed to advancing Portsmouth’s social and economic infrastructure through creative processes, and to do that, we need the trust and support of our community,” Lewis said. “Our Empowering Appalachia initiative is about creating opportunities where none existed by investing in equitable, socially-responsible ways that empower local residents in collaborative art-making and advocacy work to strengthen our communities. Joining Scioto Gives is a great first step in solidifying the cross-sector partnerships needed to support these initiatives and create long-term systems change.”
Scioto Literary is a new nonprofit founded in 2020 by Amanda Page, a Columbus-based writer and film director from southern Ohio. Scioto Literary’s goal is to provide support for writers and storytellers in the tri-state area. Through the organization, Page offers access and experiences that both deepen the imaginative capacity of individual artists, but also the community made by the artists living and working in this particular corner of central Appalachia, she said.
Besides professional development opportunities, Scioto Literary creates celebrations of both writers and their work as they tend to their words in the foothills and beyond. Writers of all ages and genres are welcome at any stage of their careers, Page added.
Page will lead a free writer’s workshop on September 23 during Shawnee State University’s upcoming symposium on “Documenting Portsmouth.” Workshop participants will learn about researching historic buildings and the power of good narratives to drive support for historic preservation. She is looking for local contributors to write about Portsmouth’s lost landmarks for an anthology on the “Lost Portsmouth Project” which is to be published in May, 2024 during National Preservation Month.
“In building the organization Page wants to work with the Scioto Foundation and other organizations,” she said. “Scioto Gives provides the opportunity to build an endowment for the sustainability and endurance of the literary organization. The endowment will serve the literary project for years to come.”
The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community, according to Jessica Hoffer, Scioto County Developmental Disabilities Outreach Director, who is in charge of the program.
Scioto County Special Olympics offers volleyball, basketball, cheerleading, track and field, and golf. School-aged athletes include students from the Vern Riffe School and are coached by Rita Arthur. Students sign up to play Special Olympics through the Vern Riffe School program with Dana Jones, Special Olympics committee member. The Scioto County Olympics adult teams are coached by Brandy Starrett. Any adult with developmental disabilities can sign up to play on the adult Special Olympics team by contacting Theresa Rowland, Outreach and Special Olympics Coordinator at 740-353-0636.
The teams host an annual celebrity basketball game at Shawnee State University called Hardwood Heroes. The game, which is historically hosted in the spring, is open to the community and helps bring awareness to the abilities of individuals with developmental disabilities. It celebrated 10 years of Hardwood Heroes in March of 2023, where the teams had the opportunity to play against notable community members such as WNXT’s Chuck Greenslate and SSU Athletic Director Gerald Cadogan.
Special Olympics also hosts an annual walk-a-thon fundraiser in the fall. This year’s event took place on Friday, September 15th from 11am-2pm at Tracy Park.“The goal of Scioto County Special Olympics is to provide the necessary equipment, uniforms, registration fees, and transportation costs for individuals with disabilities. Certain equipment can be costlier than average sports equipment due to the need for adaptive devices to play the sport for those with special needs. Adaptive equipment such as specialized wheelchairs for basketball can range anywhere from $2,000-$5,000 for one chair. Scioto County Special Olympics wants to ensure that there are no barriers for people with disabilities to participate in the activities they love. Participating in Scioto Gives will help us achieve that goal,” said Hoffer.
“All funds raised for Scioto County Special Olympics stay local and directly impact Scioto County Special Olympians,” Hoffer said.
“Guided by our faith, St. Francis Catholic Outreach and Charitable Giving provides help for individual families who are struggling with food insecurity, clothing insecurity and being able to meet basic human needs,” Donna Montavon, coordinator, said. “Its mission is to alleviate hunger insecurity by services like the St. Francis Food Pantry, the Personal Hygiene Pantry, the Baby Diaper Pantry, the Pet Food Pantry and Christmas food boxes.”
“St. Francis alleviates clothing insecurity by offering gently-used clothing, as well as household goods at affordable prices,” Donavon said, adding that Clare’s Closet Thrift Store gives vouchers to those who are in need. The agency provides help for those struggling to meet basic human needs by giving emergency assistance for rent and utilities.
St. Francis Catholic Outreach & Charitable Giving was formed as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit in 2016 after the food pantries, clothing pantries and emergency assistance programs of the local Catholic churches combined outreach efforts and relocated to the St. Francis Center (formerly the Poor Clare’s ofPerpetual Adoration Monastery), 2311 Stockham Lane, Portsmouth Ohio. This collaboration of outreach programs was done in an effort to better serve the needs of the community, according to Montavon.
“St. Francis Catholic Outreach & Charitable Giving is grateful to be a part of Scioto Gives this year; this will help ensure that we will be able to continue serving those in our community who are struggling to meet basic human needs,” Montavon added.
Additional information about the new Scioto Gives nonprofits and the 44 other nonprofits participating in the this year’s Scioto Gives program may be found on the Scioto Foundation’s website, www.sciotofoundation.org or obtained by contacting Patty Tennant, Program Officer for Donor Services, at (740) 354-4612.