The Shelby Foundation photo

Last year's Visionary Award Recipient, Grant Milliron

The Shelby Foundation is hosting its annual gala, An Evening with the Shelby Foundation: For a Brighter Tomorrow on Saturday, September 21 to raise funds for upcoming community enrichment projects.

The Shelby Foundation is a nonprofit organization that strives to build and give back to the community through various projects focusing on community enhancement.

This year, the foundation has taken on three major projects.

The first is a $10,000 grant to help improve and enhance the Shelby Wetlands. Carrie Kemerer, the Executive Director of the Shelby Foundation, explained why board members selected this project.

“At one time, the Shelby Wetlands were maintained by students at Russell Elementary,” she said. “Since the school has closed, maintenance and funding have both stopped. The board knows this could be a real gem in our community, so we decided to allocate funding to the restoration of the Wetlands.”

This project is scheduled to be in place by the end of October. Another current project is a collaboration between The Shelby Foundation, the Marvin Memorial Library, and the Little Buckeye Children’s Museum. 

The Shelby Foundation spoke with the library Director, Kathy Webb, about her goals for the library. They found that she wanted to expand the children’s program to include imaginative play, so they reached out to Fred Boll, the Director of Little Buckeye.

The foundation awarded a $10,000 grant for this project, which allowed Little Buckeye to bring traveling exhibits to the library.

“This exhibit gives families another reason to come to the library, and it allows some families to experience the imaginative play Little Buckeye offers for potentially the first time,” said Kemerer.

This collaborative project will have a ribbon cutting at the Marvin Memorial Library on September 10. 

The third major project this year focuses on the revitalization of Downtown Shelby. The foundation has been working with the city of Shelby and a consulting firm to improve the appearance of the downtown area. It will focus on enhancing Black Fork Commons and the park. 

This third project is still in the planning phase, and is expected to start in 2021. The Shelby Foundation has committed $250,000 to help with this project.

The fundraiser on September 21 will go toward funding these projects as well as assisting the foundation with its grant-making capabilities to other nonprofit organizations.

The fundraiser will be a gala, and it will include both silent and live auctions, a raffle, a delicious dinner, a cash bar, and the Visionary Award.

“The Visionary Award honors an individual in the community who has taken an active leadership role in making the community better,” said Kemerer. “The award began in 2009, the first year of our gala. This was also the year that Ralph Phillips, a wonderful influencer in the Shelby community, passed away. This award keeps his memory alive.”

Kemerer said this award is a surprise to the recipient this year, and she expects the presentation to be the highlight of the evening.

When the event began in 2009, the gala brought in about $60,000. Last year, the event raised over $100,000 to invest back to the community.

“It’s amazing to see the support from our community members,” said Kemerer. “And however people are able to support the community, no matter the size of the donation, we are so appreciative.”

Because the event is centered around the community, The Shelby Foundation has partnered with community vendors to help put on the gala.

The dinner will be prepared by The Vault in Shelby, and the raffle will be a package from the Vault as well. The wine package will consist of a year membership to the Wine of the Month Club, wine glasses, and a wine refrigerator.

Charles Miller and his son, Charles Miller Junior, of Charles Miller & Associates, Auctioneers L.L.C. will be providing the auctioneer services for the evening. Cornell’s IGA will be providing the appetizers and desserts, and local members of KFC will bartend.

“The fundraiser is truly a community collaborative event to raise funds,” said Kemerer. “As such, this gala is for everyone in our community. People come from all walks of life. And we want to thank everyone who plans on coming out and supporting us.”

To purchase tickets or learn more about the gala, click here.

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Marketing Intern

Marketing intern and Thrive Reporter for Richland Source. Graduate of Lexington High School. Current student at Miami University studying public administration, law, and Arabic. Avid ice cream-consumer.