Marietta Community Foundation receives $5.5M donation

From local reports

The Marietta Community Foundation has received its largest donation in its 45-year history. Approximately $5.5 million has been bequeathed to the foundation from the estate of Adriaan “Arie” Janssens.

“As stewards for our community’s philanthropic endowments, we look forward to honoring Mr. Janssens’s intent throughout our community for many years to come,” said Heather Allender, Marietta Community Foundation CEO.

Through his donation, Janssens desired to impact the lives of young students and the communities in which they reside. Before his passing on May 20, Janssens took the necessary steps to ensure these desires would become a reality. Through his partnership with Marietta Community Foundation, Janssens created two funds: The Carol Christy Scholarship and the R. Neil and Doris Christy Community Fund.

The Carol Christy Scholarship was created in honor of Janssens’s late wife, Carol Christy. This scholarship will be available to graduating seniors attending a Washington County high schools who plan to obtain an undergraduate degree from a four-year institution. For eligible students, the Christy Scholarship can help offset up to 50 percent of overall tuition and fee costs for up to four years.

Janssens established the R. Neil and Doris Christy Community Fund in honor of Carol’s parents. This fund is an unrestricted fund and will be used to meet the needs of the community of Washington County.

Restricted funds, such as the Christy Scholarship, are funds dedicated for a specific group or purpose established by the donor. Unrestricted funds, such as the Christy Community Fund, are donations given to an organization to be used at its discretion as needs or emergencies arise in the community.

“It is always appreciated when we receive a donation of any kind,” said Bret Frye, chair of the foundation’s board of directors, “but it is always special when we receive a donation marked ‘Unrestricted.’ That means this donor trusts our integrity as individuals and as an organization. They trust we will put the community first. Their trust is not something we take lightly, it is of great value.”

Both Janssens and Christy valued educational advancement and hard work. Janssens, a native of the Netherlands, immigrated to the United States as a young adult. To pay for his own education, he worked multiple jobs while attending Kent State, where he would eventually complete a bachelors degree in geology. Janssens would then go on to complete masters and doctorate degrees in Earth Science at The Ohio State University. He later became an expert in the subsurface geology of Ohio and created his own consulting business.

Christy, a graduate of Marietta High School, spent 30 years teaching political science at Ohio University – Lancaster. She became a leading authority in women’s participation in politics.

“This generous scholarship is truly a gift to our community and our local students,” Allender said. “This gift is a beautiful way to carry on the legacy of Adrie and Carol’s passion for education. We are incredibly honored and sincerely grateful to receive such a substantial bequest from Mr. Janssens in memory of his wife and her family. Something truly incredible happens with you name a charity in your estate plan. In doing so, you create a legacy that tells future generations what mattered to you; inspiring future generations to make a difference in their own way.”