Foundation grants $196,500 from unrestricted fund, launches online giving

The Piqua Community Foundation distributed more than $196,500 in grants from its unrestricted fund in 2020, all supporting nonprofits that serve Piqua residents. As The Foundation conducts its annual giving campaign that builds its unrestricted fund to offer these grants, it has launched its online giving platform to accept donations via credit card or bank account draft.

Through The Foundation’s twice-annual application cycle, the Distribution Committee and Board of Directors approved $45,864 in spring grants and $55,843 in fall grants. Additionally, The Foundation distributed more than $94,800 in grants through the Piqua Emergency Response Fund, a special project started in spring 2020 to support nonprofits in their COVID-19 relief efforts.

These distributions are on top of the sizable donations made through donor-directed funds at The Foundation.

“We are proud of the impact of our unrestricted funds this year and the rapid response we’ve been able to provide as we support local nonprofit organizations through our emergency grants,” said Executive Director Michelle Perry. “We are now able to accept gifts through our website to bolster our unrestricted fund so that we can continue to provide these timely and needed grants in the Piqua community. We hope that this added option for making a gift will allow our donors to choose the method that works best for them.”

Read about The Foundation’s grant programs and 2020 recipient organizations by visiting To make a gift to The Foundation’s unrestricted fund as part of the annual giving campaign or in memory of a loved one, click HERE. Contributions may also be made by mailing a check to P.O. Box 226, Piqua, OH 45356.

The Piqua Community Foundation distributed more than $196,500 in grants from its unrestricted fund in 2020. As The Foundation solicits annual gifts to build its unrestricted fund, it has launched its online giving platform to allow donors to contribute in the way that works best for them. Pictured, Jim Sever, left, and Randi Pearson, right, co-chairs of The Foundation’s Distribution Committee and Foundation board members, present Jordan Knepper, executive director of the Piqua Arts Council, with a grant award in November.

Board of Directors welcomes new member

The Piqua Community Foundation Life Trustees elected Beth H. Kazer to fill a Board of Directors seat vacated mid-term at the annual meeting on November 10.
Her service on the board began immediately and continues through December 31, 2022.
Beth Kazer was born and raised in Piqua and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in education from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. Following graduation in 1981, she returned to Piqua where she held a long-term substitute position at Favorite Hill prior to accepting a first-grade teaching position at Washington Elementary.
The following year, her husband’s career forced a relocation away from Piqua in what became a journey that led to nine additional moves before she and her husband, Phil, returned to the area in 2016. During her time away, Beth taught at both the primary and intermediate levels before devoting her energies to raising three children, all of whom were born in three different states. She also dedicated her time towards numerous volunteer efforts that largely centered around improving the educational experience for underprivileged youth and other community service programming to aid those in need.
Since returning to Piqua, Beth has continued to be part of community outreach programs through Westminster Presbyterian Church and through her involvement on the Piqua Beautification Committee. She most recently fulfilled a longtime desire to renovate old homes and along with a partner, successfully refurbished two homes, both of which received Residence Pride Award recognition by the City of Piqua. Beth also enjoys playing golf and tennis and spending time at the Piqua Community Garden at Pitsenbarger Park.
In addition, the board re-elected five incumbent directors and elected one new director (identified with an asterisk) who will serve three-year terms from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2023:
  • Mimi A. Crawford
  • Spencer K. Peltier*
  • Gail B. Peterson
  • Jim Sever
  • Emily E. Shawler
  • Steven K. Staley
See the full Piqua Community Foundation Board of Directors list here:

Our Board

Foundation honors retiring board member

The Piqua Community Foundation Life Trustees recognized retiring Board of Director member Cheryl L. Burkhardt at the organization’s annual meeting on November 10.
Here, Board President Steve Staley recognizes Cheryl’s 22 years of service, including two years as the board’s president, with a plaque at the Piqua Country Club.
Cheryl has served on the board since 1999. She is a past president and vice president for the organization.
Her board service will conclude on December 31, 2020.
See the full Piqua Community Foundation Board of Directors list here:

Piqua Community Foundation awards more than $55,000 in fall grant cycle

The Piqua Community Foundation awarded $55,843 to 17 organizations that serve Piqua residents this month.

The distribution is part of The Foundation’s twice-annual mini and standard grant cycles from unrestricted funds. The Foundation’s Distribution Committee makes recommendations to the Board of Directors for approval based on a grant application and review process.

The organizations awarded 2020 fall standard and mini grants are:

  • American Red Cross – Fire alarm installation in Piqua homes
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters Miami Valley – Matching Piqua youth with mentors
  • Boy Scouts of America, Miami Valley Chapter – Registration assistance program for Piqua youth
  • Brukner Nature Center – Owl Extraordinaire science program
  • Dayton Performing Arts Alliance – Art explorer streams at Piqua schools
  • Family Abuse Shelter of Miami County – Shelter expansion project
  • Forest Hill Cemetery & Arboretum – New entrance sign lettering and lighting
  • His Hands Extended Sanctuary – Trap, neuter and return program in Piqua
  • Lehman Catholic High School – Individual learning styles professional development
  • Lehman Catholic High School – Computer lab equipment for chemistry students
  • Operation Venture & Caregiver Support – Reusable bags for events and resource-sharing
  • Piqua Arts Council – Production of local concert videos
  • Piqua Catholic School – Interactive white board
  • Piqua City Schools – PHS – Bins for National Honor Society recycling program
  • Piqua City Schools – PHS – National Honor Society little pantry project
  • Piqua City Schools – PJHS – Social-emotional resource library
  • RT Industries – Vehicles for services for adults with developmental disabilities

Some grant requests represented changes to service delivery models as nonprofit organizations are responsive to regulations during the pandemic. One example is grant recipient RT Industries, a nonprofit charged with serving adults with developmental disabilities.

“Thank you to The Piqua Community Foundation for approving our grant proposal to purchase smaller vehicles for our fleet,” said Ashley Brocious, chief executive officer of RT Industries. “Due to the pandemic and our desire to provide community-based services to smaller groups, RT Industries has chosen to shift away from larger vehicles. We appreciate the support within our community!”

Due to current restrictions on gatherings, The Foundation opted to make individual grant check deliveries rather than invite grant recipients to The Foundation’s annual meeting, as it typically does. Committee members and staff delivered the awards November 9 to many of the recipient organizations. The remainder of awards were mailed.

Delivering awards in person gave The Foundation’s Distribution Committee members the opportunity to meet recipients at their location. For instance, one stop included a tour of the expansion project for the Family Abuse Shelter of Miami County. Another included meeting the National Honor Society (NHS) students who are tackling recycling bin and a little pantry projects.

“Thank you again from the bottom of my heart for your extremely generous contribution to the creation of this project,” said Lexi Gastelu, Piqua High School senior and NHS vice president. “I can’t wait to get started on it, and I can already tell it will make a massive difference in the lives of many people in the city of Piqua. Seeing it come to fruition is a dream come true, and I just know it will be successful even if it only helps one person.”

The next grant cycle has a March 15 deadline for mini grants and March 30 deadline for standard grants. To learn more about the grant and scholarship programs of The Piqua Community Foundation, visit

Foundation hiring executive assistant

The Piqua Community Foundation announces the opening of a part-time executive assistant position and is soliciting applications from qualified candidates. The Piqua Community Foundation encourages charitable giving to benefit the citizens of Piqua and provides a variety of methods for donors to help fulfill their charitable giving wishes.

Under the direction of The Piqua Community Foundation executive director, the executive assistant is responsible for assisting with the organization’s day-to-day operations, long-term projects and special events. This position offers a professional opportunity to serve the Piqua community while enjoying a flexible and fun work environment.

Learn more about the position and how to apply here.

Piqua Community Foundation awards $54,500 in G. William Hartzell Community Grants

The Piqua Community Foundation on Wednesday awarded G. William Hartzell Community Grants totaling $54,500 to 20 organizations that serve Piqua residents.

The grants were made from the charitable fund established by the late G. William “Bill” Hartzell with a bequest from his estate. This fund also awards college scholarships every spring. The grant awards are unique in the simplicity of the application process and the unrestricted nature of the funds to be spent however best serves the organization’s needs.

Leesa Baker, executive director of YWCA Piqua, said that having known Bill Hartzell and his heart for the community makes this award particularly special. The way this community grant program is structured — to fund operational costs instead of project-specific expenses like many grant programs — is “so Bill Hartzell,” she said.

“This grant program is down-to-earth and offers much-needed funds that keep nonprofits running,” Baker said. “Bill Hartzell understood and appreciated that. We will keep him and his family in the forefront of our minds as we utilize these funds to serve the Piqua community as he did for so long.”

The organizations receiving 2020 G. William Hartzell Community Grants are:

  • American Red Cross
  • Bruckner Nature Center
  • Eagles’ Wings Stable, Inc.
  • Elizabeth’s New Life Center
  • Family Abuse Shelter of Miami County, Inc.
  • Friends of MainStreet Piqua
  • Friends of the Piqua Parks
  • Greene Street United Methodist Church Food Pantry
  • Health Partners Free Clinic
  • Johnston Farm Friends Council
  • Meals on Wheels of Piqua, Inc.
  • Miami County Dental Clinic
  • Miami County YMCA
  • New Creation Counseling Center
  • Piqua Area Chamber Foundation
  • Piqua Arts Council
  • Piqua Compassion Network
  • Rehabilitation Center Neurological Development
  • Young Life of the Upper Miami Valley
  • YWCA Piqua

Due to current restrictions on gatherings, The Foundation opted to make individual grant check deliveries rather than host its typical group event. Committee members and staff delivered the awards Wednesday to the recipient organizations.

Barbara Hartzell, fund committee member, participated in the grant deliveries and reflected on her late husband’s commitment to the Piqua community.

“Bill was always so supportive of Piqua,” she said. “The town was very important to him, and that tradition carries on in these awards.”

Click here to learn more about the G. William Hartzell Charitable Fund.


Pictured above:

First photo: From left to right, are Barbara Hartzell, committee member; Karen Wendeln, committee member and retired Foundation executive director; Leesa Baker, YWCA Piqua executive director; Randi Pearson, committee chairman; Erica Ernst Claypool, Foundation administrator of grants & scholarships; and Michelle Perry, Foundation executive director

Second photo: Carla Bertke, in black, executive director of the Rehabilitation Center for Neurological Development, visits with members of the G. William Hartzell Charitable Fund committee