The Strimbu Memorial Fund gave away $143,500 in grants this year. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the amount was more than $50,000 less than last year.
The drop in money available to give was due to the fact that the fund could not hold its biggest annual fundraiser this year, the Strimbu Memorial Fund BBQ. The fund’s board typically takes 5 or 6 percent of the fund’s endowment and adds that to half of what it makes at the barbecue in determining how much money to give away, said board member Bill Strimbu.

Bill Strimbu

Bill Strimbu

Luckily for the fund, the stock market rebounded and the endowment has more than made up for the losses it suffered when the pandemic first shut down the economy in March, he said.
With less money available to give, the fund, which was created in 1980 to honor the legacy of Nick Strimbu Jr., adjusted its philosophy of awarding grants, said Strimbu, the son of the fund’s namesake. The board gave more money to some agencies, less to others, and decided not to fund any requests for capital campaigns, which it usually supports, to free up money for other agencies.
“We increased our donations to Trumbull Mobile Meals and Shenango Valley (Meals on Wheels) because they’re doing more meals out to elderly now because of the COVID situation,” Strimbu said. “There might be one or two more on there (list of agencies that received grants) that were impacted significantly that we tried to get money to.”
One of those agencies was the St. Vincent DePaul Society, which wants to buy a box truck for meal deliveries in Trumbull County.
Strimbu added that some agencies that typically submit grant requests did not do so this year.
“The (federal) CARES Act put some money in some of these agencies’ hands,” said fund board member Bill Strimbu, the son of Nick Strimbu Jr. “We probably had one-third of the people that ask us for money year after year had no grant request this year. That’s very honorable that an agency would do that.”
The awards were announced by press release on Dec. 23 instead of with an in-person event in which recipient representatives talked about their agencies and how they will spend the money. Strimbu always says that the in-person presentation is one of his favorite events of the year, and missing out on it was “anti-climactic.”
promo“It was not as gratifying, but the main thing is the money got where it needs to go to really help some of these agencies and people,” he said. “They’re having a really difficult time right now.”
The board plans to proceed with both of its fundraisers, a wild game dinner on Feb. 14 at Tiffany’s Event Center, Brookfield, and the barbecue May 5 at Yankee Lake Ballroom, but might shift them to virtual events if “for some government reason we can’t have them or we can’t sell enough tickets because people are still afraid,” Strimbu said. “In talking with other people that have had these virtual events, if they’re done right, they’re successful.”
Look for an announcement in January on the wild game dinner, he said.
The board has discussed moving the fundraisers to later in the year, after more people have had an opportunity to get a COVID vaccine, but that probably won’t happen, Strimbu said.
“We’ve been doing these events, now, for 30 years, and there’s a lot of other fundraising that happens with other foundations in our communities at different times of the year, and we never wanted to step on somebody else’s toes,” he said. “Paul (O’Brien) has his (O’Brien Children Memorial Fund) clam bake in October; we don’t wanna have a big sale of tickets going on in September right before he hits everybody for his event. We try to keep it spread out.”


Strimbu Memorial Fund on Dec. 23 announced that these charitable and economic development agencies and indiviuals had received grants:

  • American Red Cross Greater Akron and the Mahoning Valley Chapter for services for military families.

  • Building of Hope, which provides furniture and household items to people who have fallen on hard times.

  • COVID-19 grant to Trumbull County.

  • Freedom Warrior Charitable Fund.

  • Hope Center for Arts and Technology, Sharon, for its phlebotomy program.

  • Inspiring Minds of Youngstown for youth programming.

  • Joshua’s Haven, a homeless shelter in Sharon.

  • Leadership scholarships.

  • Shenango Valley Meals on Wheels.

  • Trumbull Mobile Meals.

  • Mercer County Coalition for Drug Awareness.

  • Mercer County Mentoring.

  • PA/OH Gives, a matching funds campaign of the Community Foundation of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio.

  • Penn-Northwest Development Corp.

  • RAW Boxing and Fitness Community Center, Farrell, for an afterschool program.

  • St. Vincent dePaul Society, Trumbull County, for the purchase of a box truck for food deliveries.

  • Salvation Army of Sharon for its holiday and food programs.

  • A single mother with cancer.

  • United Way of Mercer County for its early learning program.

  • Vinework Initiatives, which funds Eagle’s Nest, which serves young, unwed mothers.