The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation & Regional Affiliates has received a $15 million gift according to its Executive Director, Judy Sjostedt Ritchie.

“It’s been said, ‘Some people leave footprints on our hearts and we are never, ever the same,’” Sjostedt said. “Mary M. “Mickey” Welch (pictured right) left her footprints on the hearts of many people throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley and elsewhere. A successful owner of numerous businesses who was steadfast in supporting her community, Mickey had a boundless concern for others, always patiently listening when someone approached her with a need or an idea. She often gave support, quietly helping thousands of different individuals and organizations over the years.”

Sjostedt continued, “When she passed away in August 2019, her family and friends were devastated. But Mickey had one more gift waiting for us. Like the trailblazer she was in life—the first woman in West Virginia to drill an oil well—and with the compassionate spirit that was her hallmark, she once again stepped up to care for others. This time, Mickey set a new record, blazing a trail for future generations with the single largest gift ever made to the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation & Regional Affiliates (PACF) in its 57-year history.”

Her $15 million bequest endows the Mary M. Welch Advised Fund of PACF, a permanent charitable fund to forever benefit the Mid-Ohio Valley region. Her daughter, Mary Anne Ketelsen, Fund Adviser to PACF said, “My mother loved her community; it was part of her family. She cared about improving life here for those most vulnerable—children, youth, special needs individuals, and animals. She liked helping organizations that help people to help themselves and enable families to build a better life. My mother gave to so many different worthy causes. She placed her major legacy gift with the PACF because in working with the Foundation for many years, she saw that they, too, worked with a variety of groups, and did so fairly and impartially. PACF is at the forefront of so many good things here. She trusted them to manage the gift she planned to leave for our community’s benefit; she knew that they would help seek out the best and most appropriate ways to use her gift far into the future.”

Mickey’s long-time business advisor, Robin Baylous, CPA, said, “Mickey was a great friend, a deeply caring and generous person. She was also a very savvy businesswoman. She saw the PACF as forward thinking and well-managed; she liked the fact that needs and times change but the PACF will still be here.”

The Little Kanawha Area Community Foundation (LKACF) is a Regional Affiliate of PACF. LKACF’s Advisory Board has been working since 2004 to grow permanent charitable funds for the betterment of Calhoun, Gilmer, and Wirt counties. As a PACF affiliate, LKACF receives the benefit of being part of a well-established, successful regional operation that is nationally accredited. With LKACF’s administrative and management services delivered via the PACF affiliation, its local leaders can focus on grant-making and fund development for LKACF.

LKACF Board Chair, Martha Haymaker, said, “This gift has truly brightened my day; I am sure that everyone is elated! I hope that this gift can encourage others to consider PACF and our regional affiliate LKACF in the future, and know that their money will be well-managed professionally. I am a member of the regional grants review committee through PACF. To see how small and large donors can be a part of shaping the future for our area is truly magnificent. Mrs. Welch’s gift offers inspiration for all of us.”

Judy Sjostedt Ritchie, the PACF’s Executive Director since 1999, said, “A gift like this is transformational for our whole organization. Amidst a difficult year for so many people, Mickey’s incredible gift brings us cause for hope across our eleven counties for a brighter tomorrow. We are proud to serve as her steward and very thankful for this remarkable gift.”

Sjostedt Ritchie added, “It’s important for those seeking resources to know that requests will be managed though the Foundation’s existing grants processes. Twice each year, our Community Action Grants program accepts requests; annually local Humane Societies may apply through the Hornbrook Grants program; and time-sensitive mini-grants can be requested any time using the Foundation’s SUN grants process.” She invites organizations to review the opportunities online at or contact PACF’s Associate Director for Community Leadership, Marian Clowes at 304.428.4438 or

About the Little Kanawha Area Community Foundation: Since 2004, the Little Kanawha Area Community Foundation (LKACF) has worked with charitable individuals to make a positive and permanent commitment for the future of Calhoun, Gilmer and Wirt Counties in West Virginia. LKACF is an affiliate of the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF). The PACF is a single 501(c)(3) public charity that manages a philanthropic endowment of more than 375 funds amounting to more than $65 million in assets, each representing a unique giving partnership with an individual, a family, or a business, civic or nonprofit organization. The PACF works in partnership with local level organizations (affiliates) to provide leadership and develop philanthropic resources to meet the needs of our 11-county service district. Since 2004, 1KACF has helped local citizens support the causes that are most important to them and touch every aspect of life in our communities in a wide variety of significant and lasting ways. For more information about the PACF and its affiliate, LKACF, or to learn more about creating your own charitable fund, visit or call   304-428-4438.