News Releases

News Releases2022-03-10T20:33:05+00:00

The estate of Sidney native and Columbus resident Douglas Wilson Allinger has given more than $3.3 million to the Community Foundation of Shelby County, making it the largest estate gift to date received by the Foundation. Allinger, who passed away in February, 2021, was a prominent fundraising consultant in the Columbus area. The estate gift arrived in December.

“We are grateful to Doug for remembering his hometown with this estate gift,” said Marian Spicer, executive director. “During his lifetime, Doug graciously gave his expertise to Shelby County organizations that needed fundraising guidance and he did so at no charge. He believed in Sidney and encouraged innovation in serving our residents.”

The gift was placed in the Prime the Pump Fund, which he established in 2019 in memory of his parents Alma Wilson Allinger and Robert Lochard Allinger. In choosing the Fund’s name, he related it to childhood memories of the water well pump on his grandparent’s farm. In those days, a pump needed a little water added to the valve to prime it. Once primed, the pump operated better and produced volumes of water in excess of the amount used to prime the pump. Similarly, Allinger had expressed that the Community Foundation is primed to initiate efforts when it has the resources to make all parts of a project come together.

“The Prime the Pump Fund gives the Community Foundation an opportunity to seek out emerging local issues and opportunities,” said Jessica Fortkamp, donor relations director. “Things like Match Day and Skills Scholarships were once unknown and it was difficult to gain support at their beginnings. Through numerous conversations with Doug, he wanted us to be on the cutting edge of things that are needed in Shelby County and to have a resource to pursue them.”

With the recent growth of the Prime the Pump Fund, it will begin providing larger grant and initiative support in 2023.

The Community Foundation of Shelby County administers 220 charitable funds that help donors give to community needs and favorite charities now and in the future. To learn more, view their website at commfoun.com or contact Fortkamp at (937) 497-7800.

“Local residents and organizations created a record 33 new charitable funds at the Community Foundation of Shelby County in 2021 that will support our area’s needs and keep the community strong,” reported Marian Spicer, executive director. “We received our largest estate gift to date, increasing Foundation assets over the $50 million mark.”
The not-for-profit public foundation oversees 220 charitable funds established by local residents, organizations and businesses to provide grants and scholarships.
The estate of Sidney native and Columbus resident Douglas Wilson Allinger added $3.3 million to the Prime the Pump Fund in Loving Memory of Alma Wilson Allinger and Robert Lochard Allinger. The fund was established by Douglas Allinger in 2019 to provide the Community Foundation with a resource to initiate new projects and provide grants to community organizations. “We are extremely grateful to Doug. He had a true fondness for his hometown and a desire to see it improve,” said Spicer.
The Community Foundation’s Match Day was held on November 30, known nationally as Giving Tuesday. Match Day was an effort to raise enthusiasm for giving by offering a dollar for dollar match of up to $5,000 to twenty-three local charities. Each charity exceeded the match amount and a total of $658,831 was raised and distributed. To participate, a charity needed to have an organization fund housed at the Community Foundation.
Local high school seniors and adults received 170 scholarships totaling nearly $300,000, helping them to better afford a post-secondary education. Scholarships are available to those pursuing skilled and technical training, as well as Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees and beyond.
A record 229 Community Foundation Partners gave to support the Foundation’s community grants program. Because of their generosity, $48,800 will be offered to local organizations this spring.
The 2020 Recovery Fund, established to receive and administer gifts intended to help local organizations with Covid-related expenses, disbursed the remaining amount and closed in February, 2021. In excess of $84,300 was raised and given away to local charities serving local residents.
The Foundation switched its operational software to Foundant CommunitySuite, an industry-specific product providing advanced accounting, donor and fund management. It also provides integrated online applications for those seeking grants and scholarships.
Gifts for new and existing funds are welcome at any time and should be made payable to the Community Foundation of Shelby County with the fund name noted on the memo line. Credit card gifts may be made to any charitable fund by clicking the ‘Donate’ button on the Foundation’s website at commfoun.com.
The 2022 Community Foundation officers are Cindy Helman, Chair; Mike Lochard, Vice Chair; Karen Fortman, Secretary; and Dave Monnier, Treasurer. Trustees are Kurt Barhorst, Devon Beer, Doug Borchers, Diane Reiss, Lisa Ruhenkamp, Norm Smith, and Amy Zorn. Staff members include executive director Marian Spicer; donor relations director Jessica Fortkamp; accounting manager Jeanne Hoying, CPA; accounting administrator Sandy Kinney and scholarships and grants administrator Juli Smith.
In 2022, the Foundation will continue working with local residents wanting to give to charitable causes in the community. For more information, please contact Jessica Fortkamp at 497-7800 or e-mail at jfortkamp@commfoun.com.

Lisa Ruhenkamp of Ft. Loramie and Devon Beer of Sidney, have been welcomed to the board of trustees of the Community Foundation of Shelby County. The organization strives to include board members from various parts of the county with different backgrounds who have a great deal of community involvement.
Ruhenkamp retired from Hobart Corporation as national account manager. She is involved in her hometown, serving on the boards for Ft. Loramie Local Schools and the Ft. Loramie Education Foundation. She serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Shelby County and is active in St. Michael’s Church. She is a member of multiple academic and athletic booster groups and has served in the past on school levy campaign and community event committees. Ruhenkamp and her husband Dave have three grown children.
Beer is president of Freshway Foods. He is a Sidney native who currently serves on Board of Wilson Health. His past board service includes the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA and its Foundation, Wilson Health Foundation, S&H Products, Shelby County United Way, Sidney-Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, Sidney City Schools Hall of Honor and the Workforce Partnership. He and his wife Sandy are the parents of two grown children.
Retiring from the board are Janice Benanzer of the Ft. Loramie area and Rudy Keister of Sidney. “We are truly grateful to Janice and Rudy for their involvement and guidance on our boards and committees,” said Marian Spicer, executive director. “We are excited to add Lisa and Devon and their vast experience in the Shelby County community.”
Other members of the board of trustees include Cindy Helman, chair; Mike Lochard, vice chair; Dr. Karen Fortman, secretary; Dave Monnier, treasurer; and members Kurt Barhorst, Doug Borchers; Diane Reiss; the Hon. Norm Smith and Amy Zorn.
The Community Foundation of Shelby County is a public charity administering 220 charitable funds established by local donors to support favorite causes and organizations. The Foundation hosts scholarship, donor advised, organization, designated use and community granting funds. For information, see the website at commfoun.com.

The Community Foundation of Shelby County distributed $658,831 to 23 participating charities Friday from proceeds of its Match Day event. The amount exceeded the 2020 total by more than $191,000.

Match Day was held on Giving Tuesday, November 30th and, after processing 1,800 gifts, results were announced to each organization during a celebration held Friday at the Amos Memorial Library Community Room.

For the fifth consecutive year, the local foundation offered matching money of up to $5,000 to 501(c)(3) charities that had an organization fund within the Community Foundation. The donations and matches were not placed into funds at the Community Foundation, but instead were given to the charities to be put to work on their projects and needs.

“We want to express our gratitude to each person, civic group and business who gave during the fifth annual Match Day,” said Jessica Fortkamp, Community Foundation donor relations director. “As people called or stopped by our office, they expressed their joy and enthusiasm about giving. Each charity was challenged to motivate their donors to raise the full matching amount and we are thrilled that every charity exceeded the matching amount.”

Including the $5,000 match, totals distributed to each charity were:
Agape Distribution $42,005
Alpha Community Center $39,148
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Shelby and Darke County $34,880
Botkins Education Foundation $13,725
Compassionate Care of Shelby County $48,930
Habitat for Humanity of Miami and Shelby Counties, OH $12,250
Historic Sidney Theatre $19,280
New Choices $20,895
Operation Rebirth $19,204
RACK $37,430
Rustic Hope $41,406
S&H Products $24,290
Samaritan Works $20,246
Senior Center of Sidney-Shelby County $26,100
Shelby County Arc $21,340
Shelby County Historical Society $55,920
Shelby County Libraries Foundation $19,010
Shelby County United Way $30,945
Sidney Alive $17,320
Sidney First United Methodist Church $26,020
Sidney-Shelby County YMCA $36,020
Wilma Valentine Childcare $35,980
Wilson Health Foundation $16,485

“We are especially grateful to Dave Ross, who provided the matching pool to enable each charity to receive $5,000. His tremendous generosity is the reason we can hold Match Day,” said Marian Spicer, executive director of the Community Foundation. “Thank you to everyone who gave during Match Day. A number of people supported multiple charities, which is inspiring.”

“Organizations have told us that these dollars will buy equipment, hire staff, support learning and provide basic necessities like food, baby supplies and health and wellness programs. Now it is time for these Match Day gifts to be put to work and for the participating organizations to do even more to improve the lives of those they serve.”

Plans have begun for the 2022 Match Day to be held on November 29, 2022. The Community Foundation of Shelby County administers $42 million in 220 charitable funds including scholarship, donor advised, designated, community granting and organization funds. Information can be found at commfoun.com.

A new scholarship for Ft. Loramie High School seniors has been created to remember the late John Gephart’s love of baseball and his alma mater, the University of Toledo. The John Gephart “G5” Memorial Scholarship Fund is administered by the Community Foundation of Shelby County through its partnership with the Ft. Loramie Education Foundation.

The scholarship will begin awarding in 2023 to a graduating Ft. Loramie senior, based upon financial need and community and school service. Preference will be given to applicants who played baseball or softball during high school and/or those enrolling in the University of Toledo.

When John Gephart passed away earlier this year, memorials were designated for a scholarship fund.

“I suggested the scholarship to John a couple years ago, and he agreed that it would be something lasting to leave behind,” said Starr Gephart, John’s widow. “He financially supported the University of Toledo and its baseball program all his life. He often said that UT gave him a ‘free’ education and he owed them for great experiences. ”

John Gephart was a catcher from grade school through his college career and later in men’s softball leagues. He was named an All American while at UT, where he sported the number 5 on his uniform, and played for the Cape Cod collegiate league during his college summer breaks. He graduated with a mechanical engineering degree and spent 40 years in various engineering management roles at Copeland/Emerson.

“He attended UT on a full ride — half athletic, half academic. We’re happy that two of our grandkids now have engineering degrees from UT and one is working at Emerson,” added Starr.

John Gephart spent his life in the Ft. Loramie and Newport area and enjoyed playing, coaching and watching youth sports. He followed their grandchildren in various sports, no matter the level or the location, from T-ball to State Championship games. He also served as a high school basketball referee.

Gifts for the John Gephart “G5” Memorial Scholarship Fund are welcome and may be made payable to the Community Foundation of Shelby County, with ‘Gephart’ noted on the memo line. Credit card gifts may be made on the Community Foundation website at commfoun.com and by clicking the Donate button on the top right corner of the screen.

Russia graduating seniors who have excelled in accounting or business courses are eligible for the Dave and Ann Monnier Scholarship. The couple created a new fund within the Community Foundation of Shelby County to administer the award.

Dave Monnier is a graduate of Russia High School and retired after 43 years as a CPA with McCrate, DeLaet and Company in Sidney. Ann retired after working 17 years at Holy Angels Catholic Church.

“Russia High School provided me with a great foundation for my accounting career and a business degree from Bowling Green State University,” said Dave. “Ann and I wanted to provide a Russia senior who excelled in their accounting and business classes with the same opportunity.”

The scholarship fund makes the award permanently available to Russia students. In the past, the Monniers supported a similar award for Russia seniors. “The Community Foundation provides a great partnership for donors wanting to create a legacy even after Ann and I are no longer here,” added Dave.

The Monniers reside in Sidney and are the parents of three grown children, Kurt, Kevin and Kim.