More than 40 local groups receive grants

The Sandusky Maritime Museum and Care and Share of Erie County are two of more than 40 area nonprofit groups receiving hefty support from the Wightman Wieber Foundation this past year.

The foundation doled out dozens of grants in 2013, with the awards totaling almost $250,000.

Care and Share received one of the largest portions of the money: two distributions totaling more than $21,000.

“Two blessings,” director Linda Miller responded, when asked what the awards meant to her organization.

The nonprofit group used the funds to support its fighting hunger program, which fed more than 800 households in December alone, Miller said.

The Sandusky Maritime Museum, meanwhile, used $10,000 in grant money to help pay for its recent building expansion, which it completed in 2012.

The new facility, behind the museum’s main building on Meigs Street, houses a popular boat restoration class and many educational boat exhibits, which are often popular among children.

The museum also received $3,000 to support several children’s programs.

“The Wightman Wieber Foundation has always been a great supporter of childrensupported events in our area,” director Annette Wells said. “They’re certainly one of our biggest supporters, and we’re very thankful”

Darlene Wightman Lowery and Karleen Wieber established the foundation in memory of their daughters, Michelle Wightman and Karrie Wieber, who died when a train struck their car at a local railroad crossing in February 1989.

The mothers used the funds from a successful lawsuit against the railroad company to kickstart the permanent charitable foundation.

Their goal: benefit the local community and ensure the safety of all its citizens, especially children.

Since its first fund distribution in June 2000, the Wightman Wieber Foundation has donated more than $3 million to area nonprofit organizations.

The foundation’s annual grants typically range from $1,000 to $20,000, with winners indicating their award will be used to benefit the often underserved members of Erie County.

This past year was the last year one of the foundation’s co-founders will see its impact. Karleen Wieber, 64, died Oct. 27 after a lengthy battle with leukemia.

The complete list of Wightman Wieber Foundation grants distributed in 2013:

Non-annual grants

• Ability Works Inc., for chair replacement — $2,500

• American Red Cross Firelands Chapter, for disaster preparedness presentations — $2,420

• American Red Cross Firelands Chapter, for learn to swim program — $4,000

• Back to the Wild, for animal food — $2,500

• Bayshore Counseling Services, for wellness education programs — $4,580

• Boys & Girls Club of Erie County, for program supplies — $3,200

• Cancer Service of Erie County, for tobacco-free program — $4,350

• Care and Share of Erie County, for fighting hunger program — $21,100 

• Caryl Crane Youth Theatre, for production support — $1,000

• Cinderella’s Closet, for prom tuxedos for high school boys — $1,800

• City of Sandusky, for child identification and safety kids at police department — $3,335

• City of Sandusky, for greenhouse — $1,000

• City of Sandusky, for Sandusky Bay Pavilion repairs — $10,000

• City of Sandusky, for summer playground program — $3,000

• Easter Seals Northern Ohio, for program aiming to promote safe travel in Erie County — $2,132

• Erie County Casa Program, for staff and volunteer training program — $3,000 

• Erie County Community Foundation, for Sandusky Library literacy program — $2,000

• Erie County Community Foundation, for Edison Birthplace Museum tree removal — $500

• Erie County Health Department, for Healthy Smiles for Kids program — $4,343

• Erie County Senior Center and Erie Metropolitan Housing Authority, for program aiming to help senior citizens cross digital divide — $2,100

• Erie Metropolitan Housing Authority, for 20 air conditioners at Bayshore Towers — $5,380

• Firelands Habitat for Humanity Inc., for background checks — $932

• Firelands Symphony Orchestra, for African music and dance program for area schools — $1,950

• Goodwill Industries of Erie, Huron, Ottawa and Sandusky Counties, for employee wellness program, lunchroom renovations and operations — $5,580

• Grace’s Kitchen, for small appliances — $1,812

• Hancock Elementary School, for math work stations — $3,065

• Hancock Elementary School, for parent organization — $2,137

• Heartbeat of Sandusky Inc. — $1,600

• Margaretta high School, for boys basketball program — $800

• Maritime Museum of Sandusky, for expansion project — $10,000

• Museum of Carousel Art and History, for ups and downs exhibit — $5,000

• New Day Family Resource Center, for basement windows — $4,000

• Perkins Athletic Booster Club, for football stadium renovation project — $5,000

• Sandusky Area Maritime Association, for children’s event and Sandusky Maritime Museum — $3,000

• Sandusky Area YMCA, for family and special needs locker room tile — $9,265

• Sandusky High School, for intramural basketball program — $2,900

• Sandusky Imagination Library, for books — $9,000

• Sandusky Library, for new preschool students and parents project — $1,000

• Sandusky Lions Club and the Erie County Sheriff’s Department, for Project Lifesaver — $9,000

• Sandusky Lions Club Fund, for the blind of Erie County — $2,500

• Sandusky Middle School, for Gentleman’s Club — $3,000

• Sandusky Schools, for blended learning initiative — $1,500

• Sandusky Schools, for high school football unity camp — $4,200

• Sandusky Schools, for projector replacement — $3,796

• Sandusky State Theatre, for “Fancy Nancy” program — $5,000

• St. Mary’s School in Vermilion, for school bell and security system — $3,000

• Stein Hospice Services Inc., for children’s bereavement program — $5,000

• Victory Kitchen, for capacity building project — $5,276

• Volunteer Center of Erie County, for Kids Care Club — $1,000

• Volunteer Center of Erie County, for youth involvement program — $2,500

Annual grants

• Boys and Girls Club — $1,000

• Erie County Community Foundation Internship Program — $2,500

• Erie County Community Foundation Rise Program — $2,500

• Firelands Positive People — $1,000

• Sandusky Blue Streak Booster Club — $25,000

• Sandusky Relay for Life — $1,000

• Sandusky State Theatre — $15,000

• Wightman Wieber Foundation Kids Fest — $5,000

Want to apply for a grant?

The Wightman Wieber Foundation is accepting 2014 grant applications. Deadline for the first round of funding is March 1. For more information or to apply, call 419-625-8424, email or visit 100 E. Water St., Sandusky. Grant applications and guidelines are also available at