For almost a quarter century, the Barnesville Community Foundation has provided residents and local natives the opportunity to give back and benefit the town through tax deductible donations.

The organization was incorporated Feb. 10, 1993, and began operations Oct. 21, 1996. The purpose of "the Foundation is to solicit and receive contributions and to distribute these funds (or in the case of endowment contributions, the earnings therefrom) for the cultural and economic development of the Village of Barnesville."

Attorney Lodge Hanlon, founder of the Barnesville Area Education Foundation, also played an integral part in the establishment of the Barnesville Community Foundation.

Over the years, the number of affiliated organizations who use the 501c3 tax status of the Foundation has grown. At present there are 15 causes ranging from support of historical resources, Memorial Park, Barnesville sports programs, cancer support groups and others that take part in the Barnesville Community Foundation.

While most of these groups are doing a remarkable job of generating funds for individual causes, often overlooked by the public is the need for "Trustees’ General Discretionary Fund/Unrestricted" donations, Jill Stephen, president of the Foundation recently noted.

In all of 2017, the most recently completed year – the Foundation’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30 – the organization received a mere six unrestricted donations totaling $270. During the year, the organization expending $5,500 for community projects and another $1,170 for postage, printing and general operating expenses.

What causes did the Barnesville Community Foundation support during this time?

Well, the two most recent years, 2016-2017, the donations went to support the Barnesville Memorial Park 4th of July Fireworks, Barnesville Mothers Club After Prom activities, Barnesville Chamber of Commerce’s downtown business district flower baskets, Summer Lunch Program, The Haven Youth Center, Barnesville Hutton Memorial Library, Brad Detling Memorial and the St. Vincent of Barnesville’s building program.

Last year alone, the Unrestricted Fund decreased $5,864, an unstainable business model, Foundation Treasurer Brenda Brown said.

Donations are needed to bolster the Unrestricted Fund to permit the Foundation to continue supporting these worthy causes and events.

Donations may be sent to Barnesville Community Foundation, P.O. Box 256, Barnesville, OH 43713. Please mark tag donations as "Unrestricted".

Donors may also be interested in becoming voting members of the organization. The member list consists of individuals, couples, businesses and organizations. Voting members contribute $50 a year for 10 years. Once the $500 contribution level is reached, they become a "permanent voting member." There are currently 200 permanent members while another 21 permanent members are deceased.

Additional information may be obtained by reaching out by email at barnesvillecommunityfoundation@gmail.com or call 740-238-1115.

Officers are elected October of each year. Business meetings take place quarterly. Current officers are: Jill Stephen, president; Paula Grear, vice president; Brenda Brown, treasurer, and Kelli Wehr, secretary. And, trustees are Judy Johnson, Joel Bradio, Paula Grear, Sam Lucas, Pat Reischman and Richard Marmie.