New leaders named for Bexley Community Foundation

Chris Bournea
ThisWeek
Bexley Community Foundation

The Bexley Community Foundation is starting 2021 with new leadership.  

At the board of directors meeting last month, Preston Elliott was elected as the new board chairman and Manika Williams and Cecil Gouke were named new members. All will serve three-year terms. 

“They have wonderful experience in the community,” Executive Director Hallie Raskin said. “It’s always good to get new people involved.” 

Elliott succeeds Jeffrey Walker, who served as board chairman from 2018 through 2020 and continues as a director and member of the board’s executive committee. Walker’s tenure included helping lead the foundation’s capital campaign to raise private donations to support the city’s Jeffrey Mansion expansion that is scheduled to be completed early this year. 

“Our board chair usually serves a two-year term,” Raskin said. “Jeffrey’s term was scheduled to end in December 2019, but because of the Jeffrey Mansion project, he agreed to stay on an extra year to kind of steer the foundation forward.” 

In addition to Walker, Williams and Gouke, the other members of the board of directors are Amy Bodiker Baskes, Judy Brachman, Andrew Dunn, Shari George, Amy Giller Stark, Peter Halliday, Lynne Jeffrey, Steve Keyes, Paul Lacroix, Jennifer Patterson, Susan Quintenz, Michael Simpson, Sheila Straub and Jen Werstler.  

Elliott is managing director and senior vice president of Investments at the financial services firm Raymond James. He and his wife, Jill, have two school-age children, Grace and Jack.  

Elliott said he grew up in Bexley and returned to the community more than 15 years ago after living in Minneapolis and Chicago.  

“As you age, you start realizing what a special place this is,” he said. 

Elliott served on the foundation’s board of directors for the past three years.  

“Prior to that, I chaired the Bexley Education Foundation and we worked in partnership with the foundation,” he said. 

As the BCF heads into its 11th year of operation, its 2021 goals include working more closely with other organizations that serve Bexley and surrounding areas, Elliott said. 

“We’re evolving as an organization,” he said. “The organization is growing up and slowly transitioning from a group of passionate founders. We need to continue to evolve with society. We launched the Bexley Cares Fund last year and work closely with DARN (Developmental Assets Resource Network, a Bexley nonprofit) to identify the pockets in our community that are experiencing hardships and work with those who have access to funds and help. That’s something we want to continue to leverage and continue to evolve.” 

Since the BCF began awarding grants in 2011, donors have enabled it to award more than 150 grants totaling more than $3.3 million. Individual amounts have ranged from $900 to $81,000, according to information from the foundation.  

In October 2017, the foundation announced its first capital campaign to raise $1 million to support the Jeffrey Mansion expansion project. In 2018, the goal was raised to $1.5 million and in 2020, it was raised again $1.75 million to include additional work to secure the structurally unsound porch. 

The community foundation also has supported programs such as the Solomon Pickleball courts at Jeffrey Park, the Bexley Celebrations Association Fourth of July celebration, new soccer fields at Schneider Park, restoration of the Drexel Theatre marquee, face coverings for 2,000 Bexley residents, COVID relief funding for DARN, flower baskets on North Cassady Avenue and Main Street, Bexley Public Library programming, holiday lights on Drexel Circle, the Block Party Activity Kit, playground renovations at all three Bexley elementary schools and new equipment for the Bexley Police Department. 

For more information and to apply for a grant, visit Bexleycommunityfoundation.org.

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