Photo of: Photo by Derek Redd
For five decades, the Community Foundation of the Ohio Valley has enriched the region through charitable giving and strategic initiatives. CFOV celebrated this milestone Thursday night at its Chapline Street headquarters, inviting the community to an evening of fellowship and an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the Foundation’s mission.
Susie Nelson has been Executive Director of CFOV for 15 years, almost a third of the foundation’s existence. She has seen the foundation continue to grow during her tenure and loves finding a job where she can help groups making a difference in the community every day.
“I’ve spent some time this week looking back at where we came from and who helped us get to where we are today,” Nelson said. “Fifty years is amazing and the last 15 have just gone by. I see all the good every day.
“It’s very rewarding work, but none of this would be possible without the donors,” she continued. “They are the ones who put the money in and make everything possible. Fifty years of that is huge, really huge.”
An important part of the foundation’s mission is to offer grants to community organizations. CFOV sponsors several with specific purposes, such as the Belmont County Enrichment Fund, the Marshall County Disabled Children and Adults Fund, and the Women’s Giving Circle, which recently won the 2022 Youth Services System Good Samaritan Award. It also awarded more than $445,000 in scholarships to local students in June.
There’s also the Foundation’s Community Impact Grants, unrestricted funds that go to organizations actively trying to make a difference in the Ohio Valley. In February, the CFOV distributed more than $115,000 to 15 such organizations.
Thursday’s celebration had an added artistic touch. Students from nine local high schools—Steubenville, Tyler Consolidated, Brooke, Buckeye Local, Jefferson County Christian, Valley, Shadyside, Madonna, and Wheeling Central—created artwork that captures what community means to them. Each group of students received a canvas, a gift certificate for supplies, and a $500 grant for their school’s arts programs. These pieces will now permanently hang on the walls of the CFOV office.
While celebrating CFOV’s history on Thursday, Nelson also looked to the future and was excited that the foundation would continue on its mission to make the Ohio Valley a better place to live.
“We want to continue to grow and do more good in the community,” Nelson said.
And she thanked again the donors who have enabled CFOV to distribute millions to organizations in need over the years. The Ohio Valley is a community that loves to help its own, she said.
“It’s not surprising because people in this area are very generous,” Nelson said. “For a community our size, that’s amazing.”