“As dark and tired as our world has become at times during the pandemic, my hope comes from providing compassion because it is the most powerful source of change in our world.”

- Brandon Gress

Wood County Society (WCS) believes that having equal opportunity is a human right and that life’s best experiences should be available to everyone. With its therapeutic programs, the ArtBeat Studio, the Autism Connection Center, literacy and education initiatives, and its respite care initiatives, WCS sees hope in abundance through the experiences of their families and consumers.

Brandon Gress

“Our organization’s collective hope has grown as we’ve successfully navigated COVID-19 together and see that our mission continues to have a deeper, more strategic impact daily,” said WCS Executive Director Brandon Gress. “We stand united in understanding that each member of our community is a difference-maker, an advocate, and a collaborator. Cultivating hope and a positive environment starts with knowing that embracing our own uniqueness and contributions – each individual passion, voice, and heartbeat – together holds great potential to improve our community.”

Launched just prior to the pandemic, Wood County Society’s newest initiative, the ArtBeat Studio, provides an opportunity for talented artists with developmental differences to create artistic masterpieces from “up-cycled” materials. Despite challenges over the past year, the Studio is thriving, with artwork produced at the Studio now on display throughout downtown Parkersburg and for sale through the Art from the Heart Shop. The PACF supported the ArtBeat Studio with operating support grants to help it launch and with technical assistance from its Social Enterprise Ecosystem (SEE) grant.

Gress said, “The PACF and its donors are a beacon of hope in our region; they inspire compassion by encouraging accessibility and inclusion across the Mid-Ohio Valley. Our collaboration with PACF builds a strong foundation for our organization’s mission, vision, and core values. The PACF empowers and progressively acts as an advocate to ensure the strength and sustainability of our Mid-Ohio Valley community of nonprofits.”