Incarnation Conference of St. Vincent de Paul received the first Community Impact Grant from the Centerville-Washington Foundation. CONTRIBUTED

Centerville-Washington Foundation helping those in need

The Centerville-Washington Foundation was founded two decades ago with the goal of helping those in need in the respective communities.

“You talk to people and they say, ‘there’s no poverty in Centerville or Washington Township.’ Yes, there is,” explained Foundation President Michael Bevis.

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Incarnation Conference of St. Vincent de Paul helps more than 500 families at or below the poverty level with services like food vouchers, rent assistance and help with their electric bills.

That is why the Centerville-Washington Foundation selected Incarnation Conference to receive the foundation’s first $10,000 Community Impact Grant.

The grant allowed the group to create structured 16-week-long workshops that included teaching families basic skills, supporting certifications or licenses to enhance job qualifications and improving reading abilities.

Incarnation Conference President Dennis Lammlein describes that work as a “maintenance-type effort.”

He said it certainly helps, but there is little money available to affect life-changing results that can truly bring families out of poverty.

“We have been able to do more this year. Our Getting Ahead Workshop provides people in poverty with concepts, tools and relationships to help them break the poverty cycle,” Lammlein said.

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The Centerville-Washington Foundation is a component fund of The Dayton Foundation. It has one employee and is mostly staffed with a group of about 15 volunteers.

The organization will dole out about $40,000 this year through roughly nine grants and that will have a major impact on the community, according to councilman John Beals.

“We have many terrific groups in our region worthy of a boost, and the Foundation has the full support of our City Council,” Beals said.

Recent grants include the Centerville Rotary Club to provide a dictionary or thesaurus to 1,600 students, Hannah’s Treasure Chest for a program designed to provide safe sleep environments for local babies and toddlers, and TJ’s Place of Hope to help the nonprofit upgrade its website and promotional brochures.

Bevis says Fred Smith and then-Centerville mayor Sally Beals were instrumental in starting the group in 1998.

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The Foundation has about $150,000 in the bank now, according to Bevis. Its two primary sources of revenue are the group’s annual meeting and the Founders Event, where the group honored the Rev. Harvey B. Smith in September for a lifetime of service to the Centerville and Washington Township communities.

Bevis says the foundation is determined to grow.

“We have been around for 20 years, but I do not think we are happy to give $500 here and $100 there. As Centerville and Washington Township have grown, there’s a distinct need for more support,” Bevis said.

The Foundation’s website, untouched for years, is now new. The group has started building relationships with businesses like Voss Auto Group and Minuteman Press, its first corporate sponsors.

Bevis says there are more than 200 charitable groups in the Centerville and Washington Twp. area. The foundation is actively soliciting donations for those groups.

“The Centerville-Washington Foundation sees all the grant applications. We know where generosity can make the most impact,” he said.

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