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Marietta Community Foundation announces Annual Nonprofit Challenge winners

From left, Heather Allender, president and chief executive officer at the Marietta Community Foundation, Wednesday speaks to Mark Hawk and Tommy Hathaway at Superior Toyota Hyundai during a Facebook Live show to announce the winners in the Annual Nonprofit Challenge benefitting local agencies. First, second and third went to the O’Neill Senior Center, Washington County 4-H and Building Bridges to Careers, which received $7,000, $5,000 and $3,000, respectively. (Photo by Jess Mancini)

MARIETTA — Winners were announced Wednesday in the Marietta Community Foundation’s Annual Nonprofit Challenge sponsored by Superior Toyota Hyundai in Parkersburg.

The O’Neill Senior Center came in first place and received $7,000 while Washington County 4-H came in second and Building Bridges to Careers came in third, receiving $5,000 and $3,000, respectively.

“We’re excited every year to do it,” said Heather Allender, president and chief executive officer of the community foundation, during a Facebook Live announcement of the winners with Tommy Hathaway and Mark Hawk of Superior Toyota Hyundai.

Community Foundation Week was scheduled the week of Nov. 12, however, the foundation started Nov. 2 because the pandemic changed things this year.

“It’s times we’ve never seen before,” Hawk said.

More than $10,000 in new toys were raised in two weeks in the Marietta Community Foundation’s Annual Nonprofit Challenge, of which Superior Toyota Hyundai in Parkersburg is the lead sponsor. The toys will go to the Salvation Army for its Angel Tree Program as Christmas presents for children. (Photo by Jess Mancini)

With support lead sponsor Superior Toyota Hyundai, more than $87,500 has been distributed to nonprofit agencies, she said.

“The foundation and our local nonprofits look forward to this contest every year,” Allender said. “We try to change the format to keep the event fun and engaging.”

With the Marietta Community Foundation, Superior Toyota Hyundai also is a major fundraising sponsor with the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation.

“Two really great nonprofits,” Hathaway, general manager of Superior Toyota, said.

Connie Huntsman, director of the O’Neill Center, was appreciative of the challenge, the community foundation and Superior Toyota Hyundai, and of the funds the senior center and other agencies will receive through the foundation’s efforts and Superior Toyota Hyundai’s sponsorship.

“That is something to celebrate,” she said.

The state of affairs has made it difficult for residents, she said. The challenge raised funds to address issues affecting people, such as toys for children on Christmas.

“That is a win for everybody,” Huntsman said.

Previous challenges have included a downtown scavenger hunt. With COVID-19 regulations, the foundation modified the Nonprofit Challenge to fit the social climate.

“This is one reason Superior Toyota Hyundai continues to sponsor this event each year,” T.R. Hathaway, owner of Superior Toyota Hyundai, said. “Marietta Community Foundation adapts this competition for the maximum benefit of our nonprofits who serve our community. They are kind of an ‘all-terrain vehicle’ in that way.”

The Nonprofit Challenge this year was a toy drive. Participating nonprofits collected new toys between Nov. 2 and Tuesday and delivered them to the foundation at 100 Putnam St. in Marietta.

The foundation raised more than $10,000 in toys that will be distributed as Christmas gifts, Allender said. All the toys will be donated to The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program, she said.

“They have expanded to their program to serve 1,000 children this year and the toys we collect during our event will help them significantly,” she said.

Washington County 4-H surged to second place with an 11th-hour toy delivery on Tuesday, Allender said.

“We are excited to see how the nonprofits strategize during this event,” Mason Beuhring, communications and program director at the Foundation, said. “Will they try to shoot for the top-spot each day? Or, will they hold back and turn all of their toys on the last day of the contest in hopes of an upset? Either way, this contest is going to do a lot of good in our community!”

Competing nonprofits were GoPacks, Marietta Family YMCA, The Right Path For Washington County, MOV’n Dragons, Ely Chapman Education Foundation, Washington County 4-H, Marietta Band Boosters, Boys and Girls Club of Washington County, Building Bridges to Careers, The Betsey Mills Club, and O’Neill Senior Center.

Jess Mancini can be reached at jmancini@newsandsentinel.com.

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