The Piqua Community Foundation opens 2021 scholarship programs

The Piqua Community Foundation has opened its 2021 scholarship season and welcomes applications from local students.

Scholarships through The Foundation are made possible by fund donors who value continuing education and wish to give back to the community. Each of the scholarships offered is distinct in its guidelines directed by the donor when the fund was established. Application deadlines are in spring 2021 and are listed for each individual program.

Scholarship information is available through local schools’ guidance counselors or by visiting Questions about The Foundation’s scholarship programs may be directed to or 937.615.9080.

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

Foundation’s emergency fund supports COVID-19 response

This spring, as nonprofit organizations serving Piqua residents faced the COVID-19 virus outbreak, The Piqua Community Foundation released the Piqua Emergency Response Fund to support agencies serving the immediate health care, financial and human services needs created by this outbreak.

The Foundation’s Board of Directors committed $50,000 from its unrestricted monies toward the fund and received $14,800 in contributions from individuals and businesses to expand the breadth and depth of the fund’s reach.

To date, The Foundation has dispersed $53,314 to the following 14 nonprofit organizations serving Piqua residents with unique virus outbreak needs:

  • Bethany Center — Food bank distributions
  • Brukner Nature Center — Equipment for additional trail maintenance due to increased usage
  • Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley — Food, utility and supply stipends
  • Child Care Choices — Sanitizing products for child care programs
  • Council on Rural Service Programs, Inc. — Textbooks to facilitate remote learning
  • Friends of MainStreet Piqua — Signage and protective gear for Piqua Community Farmers Market
  • Greene Street Daycare and Preschool — Portable hand-washing stations for classroom and playground
  • Health Partners Free Clinic — Telehealth delivery hardware and software upgrades
  • Miami County Dental Clinic — Personal protective equipment for staff
  • Piqua Area Chamber Foundation — Signage for businesses deemed safe to enter
  • Piqua City Schools — Gifts for graduates from Piqua High School and Lehman Catholic High School
  • Piqua Compassion Network — Food, utility and job-hunting support and family activity and hygiene bags
  • Piqua Parents as Teachers — Family craft activity bags
  • Salvation Army — Rent, utility, fuel and prescription assistance

Additional funding for emergency funds may be distributed by the fund’s committee on a case-by-case basis as the impacts of the pandemic continue.

For more information about the Emergency Response Fund, visit or email incoming executive director Michelle Perry at

Pictured above: Patti Adams, advanced practice nursing student, Health Partners Free Clinic, works with new Telehealth software purchased with a Foundation Emergency Response Fund grant.


Massa Scholarship Fund established for STEM students




The Piqua Community Foundation is proud to announce the establishment of the Don J. Massa and Lois V. Massa Scholarship Fund. This designated fund will provide a college scholarship each year for a graduating senior from Piqua High School who will be majoring in a STEM – science, technology, engineering or mathematics – field.

The Massas have been well known as generous and involved residents of the Piqua community for many years. Mr. Massa originally came to Piqua to fill a management position at Jackson Tube Service in Piqua where he spent many productive years. He and his late wife, Lois, loved to travel and were active volunteers in local organizations such as the United Way, the Scouts, and the PTA. Their family includes three grown children and numerous grandchildren.

The Massa scholarship program will be administered through the Piqua Education Foundation, with the first scholarship being awarded in 2021. For additional information on scholarships please visit our SCHOLARSHIP PAGE or contact Administrator of Grants and Scholarships Erica Ernst Claypool at

Have you ever thought about establishing a scholarship in honor or in memory of a loved one? To learn about starting a fund in The Foundation that would help future students, please contact Michelle Perry at

The Scott and Margaret Hinsch Community Service Awards 2020

On May 26, 2020, The Piqua Community Foundation presented two local volunteers with the Margaret W. Hinsch and Scott J. Hinsch Community Service Awards. Jim Robinson, a volunteer for the Piqua Area Chamber Foundation, and Catherine “Cathy” Large, a volunteer for the Bethany Center, received the awards in surprise presentations at their respective volunteer locations.

The recipients received an engraved glass plaque to commemorate the occasion, and each nominating nonprofit agency received a $1,000 unrestricted grant from the Hinsch Family Fund of The Piqua Community Foundation, in recognition of that outstanding volunteer.

John Hinsch, son of the late Margaret and Scott Hinsch, joined the presentations in honor of his parents, and their legacy of service to the Piqua community. He also represented his wife, Marsha, and his sister, Dr. Linda Hinsch Campbell, who were unable to attend the presentations.

The Hinsch awards are offered annually to one male and one female volunteer. The awards are unique because the honorees are selected based on activities done on behalf of one organization during one specific calendar year, in this case 2019. The presentations are typically held during a regularly scheduled event but were organized as surprise drop-ins due to public gathering regulations currently in place.

Cathy Large of The Bethany Center (pictured above) was awarded the Margaret W. Hinsch Award. With Cathy are Piqua Community Foundation incoming executive director, Michelle Perry, retiring executive director, Karen Wendeln, John Hinsch, Cathy Large, Wilma Earls and Jim Stammen of The Bethany Center.

Wilma Earls, director of the Bethany Center, nominated Large for the award as she offered leadership to the organization during Earls’ medical leave last year. The Bethany Center serves the community by offering free lunches, food and clothing banks and other services.

“In an organization like this one, it is so important to have someone who can take over the reins if something happens to the director, and the Bethany Center is now sure that Cathy could do that because she has,” Earls wrote in her nomination form. “She gives stability to the organization moving forward, which is a comfort to donors and those served.”

Kathy Sherman, president of the Piqua Area Chamber Foundation, nominated Jim Robinson for the Scott J. Hinsch Award for his tireless effort to keep the grounds of Veterans’ Memorial Park, at the intersection of Washington Avenue and State Route 66, adjacent to Forest Hill Cemetery.

Sherman wrote in her nomination form that Robinson “painstakingly goes around the entire monument” weeding, pruning and cleaning.

“The monument is one of the most beautiful sites to behold in the City of Piqua and is a wonderful entrance into our fine city,” Sherman wrote. “It truly is a testament to Jim’s desire to have this site remain a place of honor due to his hard work and back-breaking volunteer hours that we can say that we, as citizens of our community, have a wonderful memorial to pay tribute to our veterans all because of this amazing individual and wonderful volunteer.”

To watch livestream videos from the awards presentations, visit the Piqua Community Foundation-Cakes for a Cause Facebook page or click HERE for Jim’s or HERE for Cathy’s. For more information about the Piqua Community Foundation and the Margaret W. Hinsch and Scott J. Hinsch Community Service Awards, click HERE.

Jim Robinson received the Scott J. Hinsch Community Service Award at the city’s Veterans’ Memorial. Pictured, left to right, are The Foundation’s incoming executive director, Michelle Perry, retiring executive director, Karen Wendeln, Jim Robinson, John Hinsch, and Piqua Area Chamber Foundation executive Kathy Sherman.

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