Created in 2019, The Fund for Ravenswood is a charitable fund of the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF), a nationally certified community foundation founded in 1963. Jackson County is among the eleven counties in the PACF’s regional service area. The Fund for Ravenswood’s mission is “to encourage people to work together to make Ravenswood better by supporting programs, projects and initiatives that lead toward the vision of a better future for all residents.”

Judy Sjostedt Ritchie, PACF’s Executive Director since 1999, and a resident of Ravenswood, presented PACF’s 2023 spring grant awards totaling $129,000 on May 16th at the Ravenswood City Council Meeting.

Ritchie said, “Good things are happening in Ravenswood because of the hard work of many of the organizations represented here tonight. These grant awards target a wide variety of community needs ranging from serving children, to supporting arts and education, improving public safety, addressing the needs of veterans and persons in foster care and recovery, and much more. The PACF is pleased to provide these funds to build upon all the positive things happening in Ravenswood. This Fund supports those who are working together to build a socially vibrant and economically robust community where people are healthy, respectful, and inclusive of others and help to create ample opportunities for our citizens to thrive.”

She added, “The neat thing, too, is that tonight we’re presenting not only the Fund for Ravenswood grants, but grants on behalf of other PACF charitable funds. A key benefit to the Fund for Ravenswood being part of the PACF regional organization is that others who are giving people who have donor advised funds within the PACF can also get to see the needs expressed by Ravenswood’s nonprofits, so from time-to-time, they, too, may see causes that they want to support.”

Grants awarded came from the following PACF funds: $104,500 from the Fund for Ravenswood; $500 from the Ray and Margaret Ritchie Charitable Fund; and, $24,000 from the Mary M. Welch Advised Fund, as recommended by Mary Anne and Doug Ketelsen.

The following causes received a total of $104,500 from the Fund for Ravenswood:

  • City of Ravenswood - $30,000 to assist the City with its ADA-inclusive playground in Ravenswood for youth ages 5-12;
  • Hope House Ministries - $5,000 of operating support for this recovery home;
  • Humane Society of Jackson County - $2,500 toward providing new Karunda dog beds for the newly-built Jackson County shelter;
  • Jackson County Schools ArtCart Project – $35,100 for instruction and resources using ArtCart’s services for Ravenswood students through the 2023 summer and elementary school year;
  • Operation Fancy Free - $2,000 to aid the group’s important trap, spay, neuter work that encourages humane treatment of cats;
  • Ravenswood High School Choral Boosters – $7,500 to support the Boosters project to purchase new risers for the Choir;
  • Ravenswood High School - $12,000 to furnish the school with a Graphic Art Design I-Pad Lab and associated curriculum to teach students technology skills and support new paths for career development; and,
  • Ravenswood Volunteer Fire Dept. - $10,400 to purchase a thermal imaging camera and related tools to improve fire safety and decision making for firefighters.

In addition, Ritchie also presented the following grants from other PACF funds:

  • $500 from the Ray and Margaret Ritchie Charitable Fund to be applied to the Humane Society of Jackson County’s Karunda dog bed project, allowing the project request to be fully funded.

From the Mary M. Welch Advised Fund of PACF, and Mary Anne and Doug Ketelsen, the following two grants totaling $24,000 received funding:

  • Savannah’s Closet - $15,000 to provide operating support to allow this group serving children in foster care to maintain its operations and expand community outreach.
  • Vets-r-Vets, Jackson County, WV - $9,000 to assist disabled military veterans by delivering medical equipment, addressing transportation needs and filing claims on behalf of veterans to the Veterans’ Administration.

Since the Fund for Ravenswood’s creation in late 2019, a total of $322,422 has been awarded for a broad array of causes benefiting Ravenswood’s citizens. Grant requests are formally considered twice each year using the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation’s online Community Action Grants Program process. This process allows other funds within the PACF family of funds to see grant requests. If an opportunity is time-sensitive or of an emergency nature, grant seekers may contact the PACF for off-cycle support, but generally, larger requests must use the online grant application process.

The single most important requirement for grant consideration is that an applicant illustrate how it will help Ravenswood residents. Grants are considered in five broad areas: Quality of Life Improvement; Vibrant Economy-Downtown Support; Healthy Lifestyles; Public Safety; and Workplace Readiness.

Ritchie noted that there is a clear need to help build the Fund for Ravenswood to more fully meet community needs. During this most recent request cycle, a total of $200,592 was sought to address needs—twice as much as was available in grant resources from the Fund was requested.

As a public charitable fund managed by the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, other citizens who believe in supporting this vision of a better Ravenswood, are encouraged to support the Fund for Ravenswood. Gifts to the Fund are fully tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Gifts may be made online or mailed to the PACF and gifts may be made in honor of, or in memory of, special people. To learn more, please call the PACF at 304-428-4438.