Tuesday, May 15, 2001

Key Foundation begins relief work

By Walt Schaefer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WEST CHESTER TWP. — A $1,500 grant to a family of six who lost their home to fire is the first donation from a new fund for disaster relief in West Chester and Liberty townships.

        The fledgling Key Foundation, formed about 20 months ago, is beginning to make its philanthropic presence felt in these growing communities.

        Patti Alderson, executive director of the foundation, which recently opened offices on West Chester Road, said the disaster relief fund was created last year after the two southeastern Butler County communities came together to aid many residents of Woodbridge on the Lake Apartments . A fire damaged part of the Cincinnati-Dayton Road complex.

        “Because of how well we were able to care for those people, we thought it would be a shame if we did not continue the practice. The criterion is that the (displaced persons) be Red Cross-certified disaster victims,” Ms. Alderson said.

        Two other foundation grants were announced: $2,500 to Friends of Liberty Parks and Recreation for shelter house construction, and $1,700 to West Chester Parks for development of Voice of America Park. An additional $5,000 in the foundation's education fund will be used for college scholarships for area students and continuing education grants to teachers.

        Jeff Mynatt, a carpenter; his wife, Jaye; and their children Andy, 20; Allen, 15; Abe, 11; and Vera, 8, fled their modest brick ranch-style home on Ridgemont Drive on Feb. 20. The blaze caused $110,000 in damage.

        “It is unbelievable how this community came to help us,” Mr. Mynatt said. The Key Foundation grant will be used to replace appliances and clothes, he said.

        Insurance is sufficient to rebuild the home. The Key Foundation grant, along with donations from Shawnee Elementary School (where Abe and Vera attend), neighbors, friends, Meijer, Stein Mart and United Dairy Farmers stores will help replace the estimated $13,000 in property the family lost.

        Ms. Alderson said the community foundation offers “a method for people to be philanthropic in their own communities. In other words, we now provide the avenue for people to give. We can set up funds (for specific causes). We can hold money for future needs or direct funds to specific wishes of donors and accept memorial contributions.”

        Until now, the foundation's only funding has come from an annual dinner, a golf outing and some small contributions. Ms. Alderson said the community foundation status should result in more donations. The foundation has hired Katie Langevin as its full-time administrator.

        Information about Key Foundation: P.O. Box 1774, West Chester, OH 45071; phone, 874-5450.


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