The Ely Chapman Education Foundation: Our History and Our Progress

Our Story

Investing in the Mid-Ohio Valley’s Future since 1999

The Ely Chapman Education Foundation focused on enriching lives and mentoring the youth of the Mid-Ohio Valley, has worked for over 15 years to help our region prosper by preparing its students for success.

We’re proud of the progess and growth, we’ve seen in our organization, and the students and educators we’ve reached, since our founding in 1999.

  • 1999

    In February of 1999, Ely Chapman Education Foundation Inc. was founded for the purpose of providing enrichment and reinforcement activities for the youth of the Mid-Ohio Valley. In June, the S.U.N.S.H.I.N.E. Learning Station (SLS), an after school program for students from grades 1 through 5, was adopted from St. Luke's Lutheran Church. ECEF purchased the Ely Chapman education Center in July of 1999.

  • 2000

    In June 2000, ECEF received a two year OAC Youth Reach Grant to create a Mural time line of world history, a topically correct model of the Muskingum River from Coshochten to Marietta, and an Aquarium with 2 two-hundred gallon tanks, a touch pond and a waterfall – all constructed of wood, plastic (for the touch pond), Styrofoam, plaster and concrete by 14 – 18 year old students.

    The River Education Program began with the purchase of a pontoon boat and in September Mr. Eric Wagner brought his All-Star Karate program into the building.

    By December he had decided to pursue other interests so ECEF purchased the Dojo from him and the SUCCESS and HONOR  Karate program began in January 2001.

  • 2001

    In April 2001, thanks to a grant from Marietta Community Foundation, and the purchase of restaurant supplies from a business in St. Mary’s, the ECEF installed a new commercial kitchen, renovated the café  and by June The Living Rivers Café was serving meals to the public, delivering meals for take-out business and doing catering.

    That same month ECEF becomes Marietta’s first open site for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).  The café served supper to the students of the SLS program and by Spring of 2002 this supper was reimbursed by the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

    Since then, the SLS students, Middle School students, the Wild World 4-H participants and the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club have all benefited from this program and received either a good nutritious supper or a healthy after school snack.​

  • 2003

    2003 was a year of expansion for ECEF. In January, the Performing Arts Program began with a free children’s choir. They put on two performances a year, one at Christmas and one in the spring.  On July 3rd of that year, Henry Burke moved his large collection of West African Art & Artifacts into the building so they could be displayed for the public. This became the West African Art and Artifacts and Underground Museum.

    In November the Middle School Program (MSP) began, thanks to a Juvenile Justice Grant. MSP offered academic enrichment and reinforcement after school programming for gr. 6 – 8, and boasts a 1:10 teacher: student ratio. Run similar to the SLS, students are picked up at Marietta Middle School, given a good nutritious snack, have an hour of academic time and then time in the gym or being on the computer with supervision.

  • 2004

    In April 2004 ECEF became the chartering organization forBoy Scout Troop 231 Boy Scout Troop 231, largest and most active troop in the Allohak Council. The troop averages anywhere from 40 – 60 boys a year and does field trips or camping activities every month.  In August the Marietta Dance Academy (MDA) moved into the building, renting 2 rooms and the gym for all forms of dance. In September, the children’s choir became the Performing Arts Youth Theatre Program (YTP), still free to all participants.​

  • 2005

    In June 2005, ECEF partnered with Marietta College and the Marietta Family YMCA to run a National Youth Sports Program for participants from all of Washington County. Over 115 disadvantaged youth participated and ECEF provided the educational activities and the free lunch under the SFSP.  Students were transported to the area from as far away as New Matamoras and Waterford. 

    In December, thanks to a grant from the local Woodmen of the World group and the Marietta Community Foundation, the Performing Arts received good quality sound equipment with a semi-professional sound controller, stage lights and a real stage curtain.

  • 2006

    ECEF again partnered with the Marietta Family YMCA to hold a Summer Adventure Camp. This 10 week 10 hour a day camp served approx 159 students ages 7 – 14. Again ECEF offered the educational component, allowing participants the opportunity to try such subjects as digital photography, model rocketry, Lego robotics and ribbon dancing. The camp continued to have an educational component, one hour during which participants could receive tutoring, help with basic subjects, read or work on math skills. Theatre became an important aspect of this camp.

  • 2007

    During 2007 ECEF worked on expanding the enrollment on all the current programs. The YTP added a Theatre Tech class where students learned about all the back stage aspects of theatre: set design and creation, costume design and creation from current supplies, make-up, lighting, sound system and curtain control, and publicity.  In June,Sensational Summer Camp (SSC) Sensational Summer Camp (SSC) began with 20 – 30 enrolled participants who chose which weeks to attend. Each week had a different theme and many different activities were offered to the students.

    Thanks to a grant from the Ohio Arts Council, the camp included a two week theatre session during which the participants did everything involved with putting on a short play except the actual writing. A participant drew a picture that became the play poster, other participants came up with short scenes, character development, built scenery, painted scenery, and even made the tickets and the program.

    Participants handled the sound and lighting equipment. All the participants enjoyed helping with the production of The Escape to Freedom, a play about the Underground Railroad written by the director, Andrew Clovis. In September the Marietta Dance Academy moved out as that program had expanded beyond the space available. This allowed ECEF to expand the SLS program and the MSP moved into larger quarters.

  • 2008

    The SLS program moved its Kindergarten and First Grade into their own room, thereby allowing these students a little more latitude as to noise level and work time. Since these students rarely have enough homework to last more than 20 minutes, they needed more space for good educational games and activities that tend to disturb other students.  In March the ECEF library opened.

    This library is available for all students and participants of the ECEF.  It has a section of teacher manuals, a reference section for teachers offering anything from books about Aspergers, Autism, ADHD, or learning problems to books with enrichment activities in the arts, science, health, math, and creative fields. Students can select books that they can read. This is particularly important to students with lower than grade level reading abilities. They no longer have to go into the lower classroom to get books to read. This helps improve a student’s self-esteem, self-confidence and hopefully encourages them to read more.​

  • 2009

    February: ECEF celebrated its 10th Anniversary with a Dance for all past students, a Business After Hours event and a wonderful cocktail Saturday evening event.

    In Fall ECEF tried to start a Talented and Gifted Program (TAG) for local TAG students but the program went into hiatus until August of 2013 when the teacher left to pursue a full time job.

  • 2012

    March Pontoon boat sold and Environmental program incorporated into SSC due to cost of insurance and maintenance/fuel for the boat and lack of outside interest.

    West African Museum closed because of the death of Henry Burke – room converted to classroom, thanks to donations from Marietta College’s Parson Hall demolition.

  • 2013

    TAG program restarted in January and continued through September 2015 when some of the elementary schools incorporated the program into their daily schedules.

    April First annual Taste 4 Fine Art Fundraiser dinner opened with about 100 frames artwork by SLS and MSP students, along with Art from local artists and other items to raffle off. The spaghetti dinner was cooked and served by the Boy Scouts from The ECEF Troop 231

  • 2014

    Second Taste 4 Fine Arts was catered by Cissy Henry, with cupcakes and a cake made by Jeanne Sloter to celebrate the ECEF’s 15th Anniversary. All academic programs and  SSC showed good growth in attendance during this year.

    Fall’s Performing Arts Youth Theatre was directed by Carmen Thorne but she had to drop out due to knee surgery.

  • 2015

    The spring session was directed by Conner Busby. Both directors did an excellent job with the few students who attended.

    Third Annual Taste 4 Fine Arts was catered by our own in-house cook, Denise Sheppard and again served by the Troop 231 Boy Scouts and other youth. Two youth helped the auctioneer show off the items available for live auction and bidding was heavy.


    In the Fall, the Performing Arts Program was incorporated into the S.L.S. program, taking up about 6 Fridays. All the students participated in writing different plots to 3 familiar Christmas songs. The acting, costumes, props, backdrop were all made by students and a great performance was put on for the parents/guardians.


    Also in the Fall the TAG program was incorporated into the S.L.S. program and the few students who were available made Origami Christmas Ornaments for the ECEF Christmas Tree that was put in the Putnam Commons and auctioned off to the highest bidder. SLS students also participated in the Marietta Christmas Parade, passing out light sticks despite the cold rainy weather.

  • 2016

    The Fourth Annual Taste 4 Fine Arts will take place on April 24th and the big news is that The E.P.I.C. (Educational Preparation with an Individualized Curriculum) Preschoo lparation with an Individualized Curriculum) Preschool will open with Sensational Summer Camp on May 22nd. This preschool will be for students ages 3 – 5, and will ensure that they are ready for Kindergarten.

    Throughout the past 10 or so years, the ECEF has had 2 major fund-raiser/Book GiveAways. The Fall Festival, usually the first Saturday in November includes the Fall Book GiveAway, a Second Time Around Sale and plenty of excellent food, featuring Loretta’s Famous Chicken and Noodles. The Spring Fling is held in Mid March (date depends on Easter) and includes another wonderful Book GiveAway,  the Kid’s Carnival – of which there is a different theme each year and which includes children creates and children centered games and fun for all ages. For adults the Spring Fling has a Silent Auction, and for all – again plenty of good food with lots of baked goodies available.