February  2021

"At some point in life, the world's beauty becomes enough. You don't need to photograph, paint, or even remember it. It is enough."

-Toni Morrison (from her novel Tar Baby) 

 As February ends, there is still much for us to celebrate and reflect on despite the past year of hardship. Black History Month is always a welcome time, one that calls on us to acknowledge our Black community's history and accomplishments and dig deeper. To consider how we weave these lessons into our work, our relationships, our communities. And ultimately, how do we work together to create a more equitable, connected, just, and thriving community? I hope that we continue to have challenging conversations that help us grow beyond this month.

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Connect to a Cause 2021
Is your non-profit organization interested in participating in Connect to a Cause 2021? Visit to read about the new guidelines.
Registration ends March 31st. 
Community Impact
Black History Month Art Exhibit
Leaders of Today received a $12K  grant from the Community Foundation Racial Equity Fund in 2020.
"RISE" by Priscilla Yrad 11th grade at Elyria High School
"This Is Us" by Abigail Clayton 10th grade at Elyria High School
"Human" by Ayden Pol 11th grade at Elyria High School

Leaders of Today (LOT) and Elyria Arts Council raised awareness on racial equity, non-violence, unity, and positive mental health, all through the power of art. This exhibit included artists from Elyria and Lorain taking part in LOT's Public Art & Culture Program. "Our project will introduce students to public art while addressing youth mental health and neighborhood blight. For our students being in a virtual place, this public art project is an opportunity for them to express themselves differently and positively uplift our community," says Marsalis Hammons, Founder & Executive Director of Leaders of Today.

"Coronavirus Awareness Sign" by Chloe Torres 11th grade at Lorain High School
"Elyria" by Emese 12th grade at Elyria High School
Would you like to donate to the Racial Equity Fund?
Click the button below. 

Racial Equity Fund
For more information about the Racial Equity Fund, please visit or call 440.984.7390
Our Fellow

Before my 2020 Community Engagement Fellowship, I always thought of philanthropy as giving money to the Community, funding the lives of children across the nation, and providing resources for people in foreign countries who are in need. My experience at the Community Foundation of Lorain County provided me with an invaluable lesson: Philanthropy is much more than giving money away and leaving. 

Read more of Assata's story  Community Foundation.

A special thank you to Assata Cheers for all her amazing work!

Lorain County Students! Our scholarship deadline is March 2nd at 11:59 pm. If you are a graduating senior, college student, or an adult furthering your education, we encourage you to apply. Check out our website for details.

Please stay safe!
Angela Lee  | Scholarship Manager

We have a NEW scholarship opportunity thanks to the William and Betty Lute Fund. The scholarship will benefit Lorain and Avon Lake graduating seniors pursuing a post-secondary degree in Education.  
Toni Morrison
Lorain County Toni Morrison Essay Contest for Young People

Community Foundation of Lorain County is proud to announce the 2021 Toni Morrison Scholars. Honoring the Nobel Prize-winning late author and Lorain County native, the Community Foundation received more than 80 essay submissions from local elementary through college students.

The 2021 winners include:

Abigail Clayton-Elyria High School
Alena Aguayo- Ashland University
Alissa Van Dress -Amherst Steele High School
Anna Bak -Nord Middle School
Arianna Alysse Buga -Toni Morrison Elementary
Caitlin McComas -Clearview

Ezra Jones -St. Paul Lutheran
Jay Kuznar -General Johnnie Wilson Middle School

Jeremy Faris -St. Mary’s School
Kieshawn Elliott -Lorain High School
Tevonte Ammons -General Johnnie Wilson Middle School
Zuzanna Citak -Toni Morrison Elementary


Congratulations to all of our 2021 Toni Morrison Scholars! 

To read the winning essays visit Toni Morrison
Our Relationship Manager, Rachel Ocasio, and our Community Foundation staff honored Toni Morrison by spending her birthday reading and writing about Racial Equity and Inclusion. Rachel’s poem was shared at the end of our day together

Bigotry, racism, jealousy, hate.
Can this really be humanity’s fate?
Turn on the television, all you see:
Violence, pestilence, people in need.
Turn on the radio, what do you hear?
Venom, controversy, cursing, and fear.
Darkness and despair spreading state to state.
Can this really be humanity’s fate?
History tells us of those oppressed,
The struggle to find which race is best.
Why do we not see all that we share?
We laugh, we cry, we breathe the same air.
To live and grow we need water and food.
We have feelings and emotions that determine our mood.
The time is now, we really can’t wait
to change the outcome of humanity’s fate.
Don’t get me wrong, talking is fine,
Trying to find ways to help mankind.
But words without actions are merely just words,
Preaching a sermon that’s already been heard.
Proclaiming equality for all is great,
But how do we protect humanity’s fate?
It’s impossible to change the actions of others,
The things they learned from their fathers and mothers.
But my eyes have been opened and now I see,
The road for change must begin with me.
I cannot wait for others; with me it must start.
I can spread harmony and joy. I can love from the heart.
I can teach by my actions. I can accept and not judge.
I can forgive and forget and not hold a grudge.
I can teach my children being different is OK.
I can be an example by what I do and say.
I cannot control others but please keep this straight.
I and I alone can control my own fate.
I can pass this along to family and friends,
Urge them to examine what lies within.
If we each are responsible for what we say and do,
Then maybe those after us will take responsibility, too.
By showing understanding, love and thanks
Then a future world with peace really does have a chance.
~Rachel Ocasio

The Power of Giving

Forever Support for Your Favorite Organizations

2020 taught all of us many lessons, including the importance of planning for the unimaginable. This was certainly the case for the non-profits in our community, many of which relied on their endowments to relieve some of their revenue challenges. Endowments are permanent funds where the principal is invested with the intention that the income from that invested principal will be distributed annually to one or more non-profits. Many organizations are creating new endowments so they can have support if they face future adversities. Supporting these endowments can be done with a gift directly to the organizations' existing fund at Community Foundation and is a great way to ensure your favorite organization's stability and vitality.

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Grant Story
The Road to Sobriety 

Next month we look ahead to the Spring equinox (March 20), National Read Across America Day on the birthday of Dr. Seuss (March 2), Caregiver Appreciation Day (March 3), International Women’s Day (March 8), Pi Day (March 14), Saint Patrick’s Day (March 17), March Madness, etc. There will be much to look forward to as the days warm up and opportunities for celebrations unfold. But for about 21M Americans, Saint Patrick’s Day and March Madness are tip-offs to tip-up.

Here in Lorain County, the Community Foundation understands the heartbreaking and intersectional needs of addiction treatment, so we support several organizations providing a continuum of services including information and referral, assessment for adolescents and adults, counseling, peer support, intensive outpatient therapy, residential treatment, telehealth, and sober housing.

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Virtual Visit 

March 15, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
via Zoom

Please join Linda Styer, Senior Program Officer, and Laura Malone, Development Officer, at the Community Foundation of Lorain County for a virtual site visit via Zoom with Junior Achievement.

Al DiFranco, VP of Development and Programs at Junior Achievement of Greater Cleveland, will share background on the organization, go over the impact in Lorain County, and have a Midview High School teacher speak about utilizing the Junior Achievement curriculum with 9th-12th grade students.

Linda will also share some insights on why our Grants Committee has been excited to support this work in recent years. We will also discuss ways you can support Junior Achievement and other great organizations doing work in Lorain County.

Click here to RSVP

For more information, contact Laura Malone, Development Officer at or call 440.984.7390

Support Our Mainstreets
Remember to shop locally and support businesses in our community.  By supporting local shops, boutiques, and restaurants, we create thriving communities. Visit any of our local main streets: Greater Grafton Business Partnership, Main Street Amherst, Lorain Growth Corp, Main Street Lorain, Oberlin Business Partnership, Main Street Vermilion, Main Street Wellington, and North Ridgeville Chamber of Commerce
Non-profit Resources 

Community Foundation of Lorain County has partnered with BVU
60 minutes Ask the Expert sessions are available exclusively to
Lorain County non-profit organizations.

BVU connects our non-profit partners with skills-based volunteers to work together on projects in various areas. These virtual 60-minute one-on-one meetings provide an opportunity for the non-profit and the skills-based volunteer to work on a small project, or the skills-based volunteer can answer questions or provide practical suggestions. The Ask the Expert session's goal is for the non-profit to leave the meeting and implement some of the recommendations provided right away.

We offer sessions on Governance, Succession Planning, Marketing and Communications, HR Manual Review, and HR Policies and Procedures. 

Click here to RSVP

For more information, contact  Kimberly Simpson-Kee from BVU at or call 330.762.9670

Help OUR Community

Homeless Shelters Need Donations

There are two overnight warming shelters for the homeless in Lorain County: Elyria Salvation Army and at Sacred Heart Church’s community center, which is served by Neighborhood Alliance Haven Center staff.  Both warming centers are asking for community support.

Donations needed:

Snacks: Every guest leaves for the day with packaged cookies, crackers, and bottled water.
Paper Products: Paper plates, cups, napkins, paper towels,  wipes, and toilet paper.
Coffee: Ground coffee, sugar, and creamer.
Hygiene Products: Toothbrushes, toothpaste, bars of soap, socks,  and hand sanitizer.
Gift Cards: McDonald’s and Burger King are within walking distance. $5 gift cards will help get people through the day.

For questions on how to donate: Call 440.323.2026 for the Elyria Salvation Army and 440.233.8768 for Neighborhood Alliance.

The Haven Center in Lorain is also collecting donations for more than 100 families in emergency accommodations around the county. Donations can be dropped off at the Haven Center 1536 East 30th Street, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

 2021 Difference Makers

Congratulations to Leadership Lorain County 2021 Difference Makers. Each recipient has a special connection to the Community Foundation, and we thank you all for your devotion to Lorain County. 

  • Barb Piscopo, Executive Director of the Lorain Historical Society, as the 2021 Eric Nord Award for Excellence in Leadership recipient. 
  • Marsalis Hammons, Founder, and CEO of Leaders of Today, as the 2021 Emerald Award for Inspirational Leadership recipient.
  • Rey Carrion, Director of Facility Services for Kendal at Oberlin, as a 2021 Difference Makers Honoree.
  • Dr. John W. Schaeffer, the founder of North Ohio Heart, has been selected as a 2021 Difference Maker Honoree.
  • Second Harvest for Excellence in Leadership Award for an Organization
We are now accepting grant applications for:                                        Due by:
Lakeland Mini-grants
Monthly Deadline
We work tirelessly with our donors, our partners, and friends to make Lorain County the best and strongest it can be.  Endowments built by you, our community, make all of this possible. The Community Foundation wisely invests the assets of its endowment, and a percentage of those earnings provides sustainable support through grants and scholarships for our community.

Connecting People Who Care
With Causes That Matter

Do you know someone who would like a paper copy of our newsletter? If so, please email or call 440.984.7390
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