The Bexley Community Foundation annually awards their Cornerstone Award for Philanthropy and Service at its Annual Fall Gathering. The award is given each year to honor current or former Bexley residents who inspire and challenge us by their examples of exceptional service and giving to Bexley and the great community.
This year’s recipients are Susie and Charlie Rath. Susie, a 1958 Bexley High School graduate, and Charlie met in 1963 at Wentz’s Pharmacy, now Graeter’s on the corner of Drexel and Main Streets. Susie worked the soda fountain and Charlie – a sales representative for The Upjohn Company, a Kalamazoo based pharmaceutical manufacturer – called on Roy Wentz, Jr. to assure that his store’s inventory of Medicinals was adequately stocked. Susie and Charlie were married in 1964 and after the arrival of their three children – Anne, Kate and Charlie (all BHS graduates) – the family moved to their home on Brentwood in 1970. “Raising our family in Bexley has been a wonderful experience,“ says Susie. “And still today – we love the experience.”
Susie and Charlie have always been involved in our Bexley community. At the Foundation, they have opened the Susie and Charlie Rath Creative Arts Fund in memory of Leland S. McClelland and Susie has served on the Bexley Beautification Fund Board of Trustees. Charlie has written, directed and helped produce videos each year for the Foundation as well. Last week, the first grant from the Susie and Charlie Rath Creative Arts Fund was awarded. BexArts, whose mission is to enhance the vitality of Bexley by inspiring, enlivening and engaging the Bexley community, its residents and visitors through meaningful experiences in the arts, will receive a grant to help with expenses for its inaugural season. BexArts is planning four major projects including three large scale murals on empty walls in Bexley featuring Bexley artists of all ages, a community theater production with musical interludes, “Bexley Kindness Rocks” which participates in the national Kindness Rocks Project and finally, a summer 2018 Community Art Exhibition “stepping Stones” at the Bexley Public Library.
Over 200 donors, volunteers, grantees and friends gathered on Wednesday, September 27 at The Wells Barn at Franklin Park Conservatory to celebrate Susie and Charlie. The evening focused on community projects and programs funded by the Foundation, a presentation on the new 1908 Society and an announcement of the Jeffrey Mansion Project. Councilman Steve Keyes concluded the program with an original song.