Construction on The Power Project To Begin Soon

Piqua Compassion Network Leading The Charge With $50,000 Grant

PIQUA — (July 13, 2022) Piqua Compassion Network is moving forward on The Power Project, three months after winning the $50,000 at The Piqua Community Foundation’s Pitch Piqua charitable grant pitch competition on March 3.

Piqua Compassion Network, represented by Executive Director Rebecca Sousek and volunteers Chloe Clark and Caleb Patton, won the top prize for The Power Project at the Pitch Piqua community event March 3 at Fort Piqua Plaza Banquet Center. In addition, supporters donated more than $5,100 in pass-through donations to the organization.

The Power Project will create a safe and inviting center for all teens at the Mote Park community building through a partnership with the City of Piqua and private partners. The center will provide teens access to basic needs resources and use fitness and education to give teens power over their physical, mental and social health. 

The Power Project team has created a public-private partnership with the City of Piqua, which owns the Mote Park facility, and SouthTown Sports and Recreation, a local business that will lead construction efforts and donate staff time to preparing the space for programming. 

The team is currently obtaining quotes and estimates for planned structural building renovations, to begin this autumn. The team will also be preparing room-by-room renderings to be shared with the public. 

“I am so pleased to see The Power Project team progressing with its proposal that earned so much support through the Pitch Piqua process,” said Michelle Perry, executive director of The Piqua Community Foundation. “The way the team has secured partners and is moving from plan to fruition is inspiring, and I can’t wait to celebrate the opening of this center for our community.”

The team hopes to open the doors to youth in the spring of 2023. While the Pitch Piqua funds and in-kind support will prepare the space for use, the team is seeking additional donations and business partners to assist with ongoing operational expenses. 

“Chloe and Caleb are working on program and service details, and I am focusing on the administrative tasks,” Sousek said. “Our whole team is working to put to best use the generous outpouring of offerings of donations of goods and services that have already been offered by our enthusiastic community.”

The team hopes to kickoff the renovation work and celebrate Piqua Compassion Network’s 15th anniversary with a community event at the Mote Park building in September.

“This will be a perfect opportunity to officially ‘break ground’ on this new chapter of one of Piqua’s most beloved and treasured parks,” Sousek commented. “Stay tuned for further details on this exciting event!”

To learn more about Piqua Compassion Network and The Power Project, visit

The other two 2021-2022 Pitch Piqua finalist organizations, Piqua City Schools and Child Care Choices, Inc., were each awarded a $5,000 unrestricted award in addition to pass-through donations from community members. Pitch Piqua grant funding is supplied by The French Oil Mill Machinery Company Fund, The Richard Donnelly Personal Gifting Account, The G. William Hartzell Charitable Fund and unrestricted funds of The Piqua Community Foundation.

Applications — simple narratives describing the project idea and the community need it meets — for the 2022-2023 Pitch Piqua cycle are being accepted through July 28. To learn more about and to apply for Pitch Piqua’s next cycle, visit

A rendering showcases the repurposing of the Mote Park community building as The Power Project teen center. Piqua Compassion Network’s proposal won $50,000 from The Piqua Community Foundation in the 2021-2022 Pitch Piqua charitable grant pitch competition and is moving forward with construction.

Pitch Piqua awards $50,000 grant

Piqua Compassion Network wins the pitch; Pitch Piqua awards $50,000 grant

PIQUA – The Piqua Community Foundation hosted their first ever Pitch Piqua event on Thursday at the Fort Piqua Plaza, where three non-profit organizations presented their projects to the community to try and win a $50,000 grant to make their projects come to life. The grand prize winner was ultimately the Piqua Compassion Network.

The other two organizations that competed for the prize — and still received other grants and donations through the Piqua Community Foundation and community members on Thursday evening — included the Child Care Choices, Inc. and Piqua City Schools.

There was much work put into their final project reveals. In July of 2021, non-profits submitted narrative applications to be considered. In August, the non-profits went through semi-finalist interviews with the finalists being announced in September. From October to the project reveal on Thursday, the three organizations worked to “perfect their concepts and pitches” through multiple meetings and working closely with professionals with project and presenting experience.

Each group had five minutes to present their projects, including what need their project will help in the community, how it will help, the cost breakdown, and how they will measure their project’s success. Then, each group had five minutes to answer questions from the panel of judges.

The judges included Amanda Brown, Jim Sever, Timothy Risner, and Kathy Sherman. The judges based their votes on a variety of criteria, which included the impact on Piqua residents, evidence of the community’s need for their project, readiness to launch, sustainability of their projects, and the overall quality of their presentations. The audience also had the opportunity to vote for their favorite project by donating $10 or more for the organization.

The first group to present was Child Care Choices, Inc., which was represented by Co-Directors Jenny Fox and Renee Matsunami. Their project aimed to address the child care crisis and provide a solution for the workforce in Piqua.

“The mission of Child Care Choices is to spark positive change and growth in the child care capacity in Miami County by partnering with providers, businesses, area governments, and families,” the Child Care Choices mission statement.

The evidence the organization collected via a survey of Piqua businesses is that 68% of businesses said employees struggle to find quality child care, 48% are unable to hire/retain employees, and 80% indicated employee productivity is negatively impacted from lack of adequate child care. In Piqua, there are four child care centers and six preschools with 38 open staff positions, which leaves about 306 child care spots unfilled.

Child Care Choices, Inc.’s solution to address this need has three steps, recruitment and retention, trainings, and credentialing. If they fill the 38 open positions, they estimate that 912 parents/caregivers can enter the workforce. The judges asked a variety of questions including the sustainability of the project, where Fox and Matsunami informed the audience that they plan to grow this project to outside of Piqua to include the rest of Miami County.

The next group to present was Piqua City Schools, which was represented by the Directors of Curriculum Teresa Anderson and Scott Bloom. Their project, Bookmobile, aims to bring books to young children throughout Piqua to increase literacy.

“The mission of the Piqua City Schools is to work in partnership with students, parents, and our community to help each student create a successful path to graduation and to be prepared for success after graduation from Piqua City Schools,” the Piqua City Schools mission statement. According to Anderson and Bloom, there are 3,300 children in the Piqua City School system. Anderson stated, “Exposure to written words at an early age leads to better literacy, better outcomes, and a better well-being.”

They stated two-thirds of the children entering kindergarten in Piqua are without the “readiness” skills, and students that aren’t reading at a third grade level by that grade are four times less likely to graduate. With 36% of Piqua third graders not hitting the reading level, it means there are fewer graduates that are prepared for the future.

The Bookmobile project would deliver books to young children through a new cargo van with space to organize and display the books with a space to include STEM materials to foster learning. The Bookmobile would also partner with the Piqua Public Library to deliver library materials to local senior citizens who cannot get out. The judges asked about the long-term costs of the Bookmobile, which Scott and Anderson responded Piqua City Schools would cover the long-term costs of gas, maintenance, and insurance.

The final group to present was the Piqua Compassion Network, which was represented by volunteers Chloe Clark and Caleb Patton with support from the Executive Director Rebecca Sousek. Their project, Power Project, aims to bring a center and services to the teens and youth in Piqua.

“Piqua Compassion Network exists to transform lives by providing Christian hope, education, and basic needs assistance to Piqua area residents. We are committed to providing a hand up by empowering individuals to move forward from crisis and poverty,” the Piqua Compassion Network’s mission statement.

The Power Project is set to create a “safe and inviting center for all teens” to build up their physical, mental, and social health by providing access to resources. The center would empower the youth through “implementing programs that empower youth to stay in school and achieve success, connecting caring professionals to at-risk youth, providing community-based resources to help meet youth needs, and utilizing partnerships between schools and the private sector to provide assistance to our youth,” according to Patton and Clark.

The budget for project totals $75,000, which includes $56,000 in start-up costs. The judges asked about staffing for the building. Patton and Clark responded it would be a volunteer-based staffing similar to Piqua Compassion Network’s current staffing setup, which would allow the program to be free of charge for teens. They also talked about future expansion to include younger youth and seniors.

The grant was funded by the French Oil Mill Machinery Company Fund, the Richard Donnelly Personal Gifting Account, and the G. William Hartzell Charitable Fund. The 2022 Pitch Piqua Sponsors include Miami Valley Steel Services, Inc., Edison State Community College, Park National Bank, and Premier Health: Upper Valley Medical Center.

The grand prize winner was the Piqua Compassion Network with 138 community votes with $5,101.71 for a total amount received of $55,101.71.

The first runner-up was Piqua City School with 44 community votes with $1,598.13 for a total amount received of $6,598.13.

The second runner-up was Child Care Choices, Inc. with 47 community votes with $1,495.93 for a total amount received of $6,495.93.

Chloe Clark from the Piqua Compassion Network commented it was “awesome to win” and that she “is excited to move forward” with the project. Rebecca Sousek said that the organization is “honored to have won.” They wanted to thank the community for their support and the other organizations for their help and support along the way.

Kathy Sherman, president of the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce and a judge for Pitch Piqua, stated it was “extremely difficult” to make her vote for one of the organizations. She also stated that she’s “proud of the great work all of the non-profits do to help the Piqua community.”

“No matter which organization won, the real winner is Piqua and its residents,” Sherman commented.

According to Emily Shawler, president of the Board of Directors and Resource Committee Chair for the Piqua Community Foundation, stated that there were “over 300 people in attendance.”

Cathy Drake and her mother, Ruth White, from Troy, were among the audience members and commented, “It’s a great event with very inspiring and uplifting projects especially with all the bad things going on around the world.”

Michelle Perry, executive director of the Piqua Community Foundation, stated that, overall, “[the event] was a massive success that exceeded all of our dreams! We cannot thank the community enough for their support!”

Piqua Compassion Network wins the pitch; Pitch Piqua awards $50,000 grant

PCN Selected As Pitch Piqua Finalist

Piqua Compassion Network selected as a Pitch Piqua finalist
Piqua Community Foundation’s grant competition features $50,000 top prize

PIQUA — September 28, 2021 –  Piqua Compassion Network is proud to announce that it has been named a finalist in The Piqua Community Foundation’s Pitch Piqua charitable grant pitch competition. The initiative features a $50,000 top prize for nonprofit organizations with a project benefiting Piqua, decided at a public event on March 3, 2022.

Three finalists were selected by a committee of Foundation board members and donors through a written application and semi-finalist interview process. The finalists will work alongside The Foundation’s staff and board in the months leading up to the public event on project scope, budgeting, capacity-building and storytelling presentation skills.

The three finalists will publicly unveil their concepts at a community event on March 3, 2022, to a panel of judges who will decide the same day which organization wins the $50,000 award for its presented project. The other two finalist organizations will each be awarded a $5,000 unrestricted award. The funding for the grant awards is supplied by the fundholders of The Foundation. All finalists will also be eligible for pass-through designated donations made by community members.

“Pitch Piqua is an ultra-local grant competition that promotes local philanthropy and supports our community’s nonprofit sector,” said Emily Shawler, Foundation vice president and Resource Committee chairwoman. “We are ecstatic to offer this new, fun initiative to serve the Piqua community. We wish our three finalists the best of luck!”

The project concepts are evaluated on their impact on Piqua residents, evidence of a demonstrated community need, readiness for launch, sustainability of the project and quality of the presentation.

To learn more about Piqua Compassion Network, visit To learn more about Pitch Piqua, visit

Piqua Compassion Network Awarded Hartzell Grant

Piqua Compassion Network, September 14, 2021 – The Piqua Community Foundation awarded G. William Hartzell Community Grants totaling $53,500 to 15 organizations that serve Piqua residents.  PCN was one of the 15 to be awarded.

The grants were made from the charitable fund established by the late G. William “Bill” Hartzell with a bequest from his estate.  The grant awards are unique in the simplicity of the application process and the unrestricted nature of the funds to be spent however best serves the organization’s needs.

Celebrate Recovery Piqua

Celebrate Recovery Finds New Home

By Blythe Alspaugh, Piqua Daily News, August 8, 2021 – As the Piqua Compassion Network continues to grow, one of its programs has found a new home with the Piqua Christian Church.

“We were needing more space for our groups, more parking, and we really needed a facility where we could do more of the outdoor gatherings, have fellowship, and this afforded us more room to be able to do that,” Rebecca Sousek, executive director for the Piqua Compassion Network, said.

Celebrate Recovery Piqua, a program within the Piqua Compassion Network, is a Christ-centered 12-step recovery program that helps people overcome pains, struggles and persistent problems with things such as alcoholism, depression, anxiety, drug addiction, grief, sexual addiction, trauma, co-dependency, sexual abuse, food addiction and compulsive behaviors.  The program began January 11, 2018, and has grown to the point, Sousek said, that it needed a new location in order to continue to serve people in recovery in the Miami County community and beyond.  Piqua Christian Church has partnered with the Piqua Compassion Network for the last decade, and as of June, has offered their facilities to the program.

“From a pastor standpoint, my favorite thing about Celebrate Recovery is that everyone who walks through that door isn’t wearing a mask.  They know they’re broken and they know they need help, and they’re not embarrassed about it.  It’s a really authentic, powerful experience,” Jeff Ratliff, executive pastor at Piqua Christian Church, said.  “When people can come and get out from under the burden of shame, they have the opportunity to grow into people who lead others to that same place, and we have our eye on that always.  The people that come and benefit from the Celebrate Recovery community can go out to their community and bring that same hope, that same atmosphere of being open and honest and allowing other people the opportunity to get real and see change in their lives,” Jerilyn Lowe, lead facilitator for Piqua Compassion Network, said.  According to Sousek, the program has helped hundreds of people through recovery and continues that mission today.  With the move to the Piqua Christian Church, the program is able to offer the same services as before, as well as a little extra.  There is space for those seeking recovery to meet in large groups, and space for smaller, specialized groups to break off and discuss topics specific to a type of addiction or trauma, while still having the sense of privacy that recovery groups provide.  Sousek echoed that the new space allows the program to maintain its family atmosphere and safe space status as it continues to grow.  “We are a Celebrate Recovery family – we help each other, much like the model in our own families.  Many of the folks we’ve seen have been alienated from their families, and they don’t have anybody but us.  Building that trust and having that safe place to come is really a hallmark of our program,” Sousek said.  Of the many positives that have come with moving to the Piqua Christian Church is that the Celebrate Recovery program is able to hold larger events, the first of which is a freedom ride beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Agu. 12.  The ride will start at Bears Mill in Greenville and go to Piqua Christian Church in Piqua, Harvest Baptist Church in Wapakoneta, United Methodist Church in St. Marys, and end with the final stop at True Life Church in Greenville.  Cost to participate is free, with donations accepted at select locations.  “We’re just delighted about having this ability to grow even further.  This has just proven to be an excellent facility to work with,” Sousek said.

Celebrate Recovery Piqua holds meetings from 6:45 to 9 p.m. every Thursday at Piqua Christian Church, 3969 W. State Route 185, Piqua.  The Piqua Compassion Network is located at 531 W. Ash St., Piqua.