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$500K gift to create vocational school in city

OC Foundation donates to center

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    The Cherry Street Mission is building a large-scale kitchen facility in its Life Revitalization Center thanks to an earlier $100,000 Owens Corning Foundation donation. Now with another $500,000 a vocational school will join it.

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The Owens Corning Foundation announced Thursday a $500,000 donation to create a new adult vocational school at Toledo’s Life Revitalization Center.

Officials from the foundation and Cherry Street Mission Ministries unveiled the sizable gift during a news conference at the center, housed in the former Macomber High School on Monroe Street. This collaboration will implement the Owens Corning School for Building Trades.

Owens Community College will operate a satellite location there and teach construction, plumbing, electrical, and rough carpentry skills. It is expected to be 4,000 square feet and open in the third quarter of this year.

Dan Rogers, president and chief executive of Cherry Street, said he is grateful to Owens Corning for its deep investment.

“We believe that poverty can reverse. Why not? And we believe, not just aspirationally, but we believe spirituality, conscionably, that homelessness can and must come to an end,” Mr. Rogers said.

Max Lambdin, vice president of mission advancement at Cherry Street Mission Ministries, said a number of financial options are available to those who want to enroll in the trade school this fall. He recommended those interested call Susan Graalman at the recruitment office, 419-214-3419, for more information.

The Life Revitalization Center hosts schools that train for jobs in need. Industry leaders say they require more workers qualified to build and rehabilitate homes, he said.

The money donated by Owens Corning will go toward infrastructure and equipment in the building, Mr. Rogers said.

“As a matter of fact, the half a million dollars of investment covers what we need to get this school operational,” Mr. Rogers said.

The Owens Corning Foundation previously donated $100,000 in December, 2015 toward a state-of-the art commercial kitchen. The new facility, which will educate workers and serve those in need, is under construction.

This donation for building trades marks a way to help people locally, said Don Rettig, president of the Owens Corning Foundation.

“We’ve called Toledo home for more than 75 years. We’ve got a thousand employees who come to our building every day. We’re part of this community,” Mr. Rettig said.

Funds will not only assist lessons in building trades, but support Cherry Street, a group that carries a tremendously successful track record, he said.

“Ideally, the more people that we have working, the better off for our community,” Mr. Rettig said.

Mr. Rettig spoke about important recent progress in the revitalization of downtown Toledo — the ProMedica headquarters, Hensville, and new restaurants and hotels — but said this center helps revitalize lives as well.

Contact Ryan Dunn at:, 419-724-6095, or on Twitter @rdunnblade.

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