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Bath Community Fund celebrates growth, grants at annual meeting

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Bath Community Fund advisory board members pose for a photo
Bath Community Fund elected a new slate of advisory board members at its May 2 annual meeting. Pictured from left to right (front row): Jody Miller Konstand, immediate past chair; Kathy Sidaway, chair; Nancy Fay, vice chair; Scott Siddall, secretary; (back row) Rev. Mark Frey; Jim Bernard; and Debbie McKinney. Not pictured: Kevin Kroskey, financial officer; Mary Anne Krejci; and Robert Hemphill, M.D., emeritus member.

On May 2, nearly 75 supporters of Bath Community Fund gathered at Hale Farm & Village to celebrate the fund's fifth anniversary of strengthening the Bath community at its annual meeting.

In the nearly five years since the fund was established in June 2014, Bath Community Fund has raised more than $815,000 while reinvesting almost $50,000 in grants back into the community, fund officials announced at the event.

"Five years ago, a group of us shared an idea for a community fund that could truly make a difference in the lives of so many here in Bath," said Jody Miller Konstand, advisory board chair. "And in that short time, your generosity and the generosity of so many others in this community made it possible to fulfill the promise we made when organizing the fund -- to give back to the community through charitable grantmaking. That's what we celebrate tonight."

In 2018, Bath Community Fund awarded grants totaling $19,800 to 10 nonprofit organizations. Representatives from each of the grant recipients attended the event to share how that funding is impacting local residents and the community as a whole. Stephanie Davis-Dieringer, director of programs and operations at Stewart's Caring Place, publicly thanked Bath Community Fund for its grant to provide wigs and other support services for Bath residents with cancer.

"Two weeks ago, a mom brought in her 15-year-old daughter who was diagnosed with leukemia. She was going to lose her hair during chemotherapy, and we were able to provide a wig she felt confident in going to school the next day," Davis-Dieringer said. "I got an email from her mom thanking us for providing a normal life for her daughter. It's donors like you and grants like this that enable us to continue to support our community."

Many longtime Bath residents and fund supporters attended the event, including Roland and Sara Bertolini, Roger Read and Sally Miller, Jeff Mockbee, Thom and Lisa Mandel, and Brad and Amy Bowers. Bath Township Trustees Becky Corbett and Elaina Goodrich, along with Bath Church Pastor Dan Doty, were also among the guests.

In addition, the meeting included the election of a new slate of advisory board members. Kathy Sidaway, a resident of Bath for more than 30 years, was elected chair. She succeeds founding chair Jody Miller Konstand in the leadership role, as Konstand becomes chair of the fund's development committee. Other appointments include Nancy Fay as vice chair, Scott Siddall as secretary, and Kevin Kroskey as financial officer.

Fund leaders thanked Konstand for her visionary role in creating and growing the endowment fund, which was established at Akron Community Foundation to preserve Bath Township's historical and environmental legacy, enhance the local arts and culture landscape, serve youth through education and recreation, and meet residents' social service needs.

"Jody has been the driving force behind Bath Community Fund for the last five years," said the Rev. Mark Frey, BCF advisory board member. "She helped us take a vision and make it a reality."

The evening culminated in the new advisory board chair issuing a challenge to help the fund achieve its "For Bath, Forever" endowment campaign goal of raising $2.018 million in celebration of Bath's bicentennial. An endowment of that size would enable Bath Community Fund to grant at least $100,000 to deserving nonprofits in Bath every year in perpetuity.

"My vision of Bath Community Fund and that $2 million goal is to turn our ripple into a tsunami that will cover the entire township, the entire state, the entire world," Sidaway said. "Your gifts are going to help people that you're never going to meet in ways that we will never, ever know. So I ask you to continue to support us as we create that tsunami."

To learn more about the "For Bath, Forever" campaign, contact Kathy Sidaway at 330-285-5893 or kathysidaway@hotmail.com. Or, make a tax-deductible gift online at BathCommunityFund.org.

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