MARION, OH – The MarionMade! community pride initiative is six months old and, with such widespread and ever-increasing community support, the staff at Marion Community Foundation is expanding with this growing program.
“The enthusiasm for MarionMade! is amazing,” said Dean Jacob, President and CEO of Marion Community Foundation, the organizational home of MarionMade! “MarionMade! is about the community taking pride in all the positive things that make up the Marion, Ohio, area – its history, its landmarks, its business and industry, and its people, past, present, and future.”
To address staffing needs, Marion Community Foundation has hired a part-time program manager for MarionMade!, Vicky Branson, and created an official committee for the program under the umbrella of the Foundation.
Branson’s career includes an extensive background in event management, 25+ years with the Ohio Historical Society in the roles of community & support services coordinator, associate marketing manager, and training coordinator, and membership on statewide boards and organizations, including the Ohio Travel Association, Ohio Scenic Byways Association and Ohio Division of Travel and Tourism. Here in Marion, she is a past president of BookMarks at the Marion Public Library and coordinated their recent Author Gala. She and her husband, Gary, live in the Marion area. Gary is the executive director of the Marion Public Library.
The MarionMade! committee at the Foundation includes, in addition to Branson, Jeremy Dunn, Kate Fisher, Dean Jacob, Jacque Laipply, Diane Glassmeyer, Scot Gray, Pam Hall, Clarissa Myers, Mayor Scott Schertzer, Lori S. Stevenson, Commissioner Ken Stiverson, Nissa Stump, and Valerie Wigton. Nicole Workman, Director of Communications at the Marion County Board of Developmental Disabilities is serving as committee chair; vice chair is Ellen Messenger, Director of Communications for Tri-Rivers Career Center. The chairs will serve a 2-year term and be responsible for setting priorities for MarionMade!. The committee is tasked with directing the MarionMade! effort and organizing events and outreach for the initiative such as the Celebrate Marion Gala. The Gala, held in early June, was hugely successful and honored 30 people, places, products, and programs that have contributed to the success of Marion, Ohio, as well as featuring some MarionMade! musical talent.
“The feeling of optimism and positivity around town following the Celebrate Marion event was palpable,” said Jacob. “That’s exactly the emotion we want to spread by the MarionMade! program.”
Branson has already begun visiting area businesses and organizations to encourage participation in MarionMade!
“We have MarionMade! banners available to loan out for community events,” said Branson, “and our very own MarionMade! mascot — created and donated by ProMo Costumes here in Marion — which can be scheduled for appearances and photos.”
In its first six months, MarionMade! has pursued an aggressive social media campaign with new stories posted daily for its more than 3,000 Facebook, 200 Twitter, and 1,000 Instagram followers. The website – marionmade.org — welcomed more than 5,000 page views in its first month alone.
The stories shared by MarionMade! focus on the positive people, places, programs, and products of Marion and can be submitted via email to WeAre@MarionMade.org.
“Story ideas from Marion residents are welcome and encouraged,” said Branson. “If you want to share some positive news, nominate someone, or just send in a story idea, we welcome it. We are looking to get the word out on the positive things happening in Marion County.”