When the Bexley Community Foundation awarded its first grants in 2011, they totaled $10,000. In 2012, that number increased dramatically to $130,000.
As a result of its continued growth, the foundation that turns donations into grants to fund projects, programs and events that enhance Bexley has hired its first full-time executive director. On May 20, the foundation's board announced Whitney Abraham would fill the position.
"It's been a dream of many people that not only would we have a successful community foundation but that we'd have a staff person who could help align the work of the board with the needs of the community, and we think we have that in Whitney," said board President Susan Quintenz.
Abraham's resume, which stood out among the 2,000-plus resumes that Quintenz said the foundation received, includes work as the coordinator of corporate and foundation gifts at Children's Memorial Foundation in Chicago and as the development and marketing director at Doctors Care in Denver.
Although Abraham didn't officially take her seat at the foundation's helm until May 28, she was in the office weeks prior, learning from and strategizing with former interim Executive Director Carol Porter and former Executive Administrator Cindy Ufferman.
"I know that in the last year, we've done a lot to make sure everyone knows who we are and what we do and we want to take an even more social approach to that and develop our online platform," Abraham said.
With that in mind, Abraham said in addition to reviewing major grant applications, her first order of business will be to launch a foundation blog that will keep residents and donors informed.
Quintenz said the blog will just be one of the many ways Abraham will stay connected to the community.
"Having a full-time executive director gives us a chance to have someone who has a presence in the community and is talking about the role of the foundation within Bexley and how to get involved," Quintenz said. "She will become the person that's out spreading news about the foundation and all the great things that we're able to make happen."
Although Abraham has spent her decade-long career outside of Ohio until now, she is familiar with the area. She is a Worthington native and a graduate of Miami University.
"It's great to be home," she said. "I'm looking forward to digging some roots and refamiliarizing myself with the area."