Buckeye Hills RC&D announces ‘$50 for 50 years’ endowment fund project

Staff Report

OHIO VALLEY — This year marks the 50th year that the Buckeye Hills Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Council has been serving southeast Ohio. To help celebrate, the RC&D Council is initiating a fundraising effort for the RC&D Endowment Fund. In recognition of the 50-year milestone, the council developed the “$50 for 50 years Project.”

Buckeye Hills RC&D started in August 1967 and for the past 50 years has helped units of government, groups, and rural communities to plan, develop and implement projects that benefit the region. Since then, over 500 projects have been completed. The RC&D covers Athens, Belmont, Hocking, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Perry, and Washington counties. The RC&D Endowment Fund is a way for the council to continue their work by providing seed money for local matching funds.

According to Robert First, executive director with the RC&D Council, the endowment fund was started in 1998 in cooperation with the Marietta Community Foundation, and with generous donations from council members, SWCD’s, and others, it began granting project funds in 2006.

Grant recipients receive funding for projects within the RC&D area. Over the past several years, the RC&D Council has been able to offer $600 grants through the RC&D Endowment Fund. These funds have provided local match for projects related to natural resources, environment, community development, and historical preservation in the nine-county RC&D region.

Projects completed are as follows:

2006: Belmont County — Fox-Shannon Park; Meigs County — Meigs Conservation Area; Monroe County — Skyvue Elementary Outdoor Environment Trail.

2008: Athens County — Athens Bikeway Trail Map; Monroe County — Sardis Community Development Improvement; Noble County — Mount Ephraim Historical Spring Project.

2010: Hocking County — Butterfly Gardens Trail ID Signage; Morgan County — Community Garden Development Project; Perry County — “Growing Green” greenhouse project.

2012: Meigs County — Atkins Conservation Trail Improvement; Monroe County — Fairgrounds Natural Resources Area; Washington County — Barlow Fairgrounds Conservation Area.

2014: Belmont County — Olney Friends School Vernal Pool; Washington County — Sheep & Goat Producers Association.

2016: Belmont County — Bark Camp State Park Pollinator Planting; Hocking County — Trail Relocation and Improvement; Meigs County — Rain Barrel Workshop

2017: Athens County — Rain Barrel Workshop; Monroe County — Hannibal Garden Community Garden Project; Noble County — Center Field Park Eagle Project

The grant recipients then have one year to complete their project.

A very satisfying part of this program is the amount of other dollars that can be matched up with our grant awards. A minimum match of 1:1 is required, but often, the amount from other sources far exceeds the minimum match. We have had projects that value thousands of dollars as the result of a small grant that groups can use as local match, First added.

The RC&D Council is working to increase the endowment fund with the hope of making larger grant awards in the future. The needs in the nine-county area are many, and efforts to help the quality of life and well-being of our citizens is important. The RC&D Council has a goal to raise $8,000 to increase the fund to the $75,000 level by the end of 2017. Please consider taking part in the “$50 for 50 years” project. Any size donation is greatly appreciated and is tax-deductible. If you have questions, or contact the RC&D office at 740-374-6655, e-mail buckeyehillsrcd@yahoo.com or visit our website at buckeyehillsrcd.org.

Staff Report