MARTINSBURG — Eastern Panhandle organizations with programs focusing on the arts and nature will soon benefit from a newly established donor-advised fund at the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation. The new Detlev and Mary Ellen Preissler Fund for the Arts, Music, Design, and Nature will award up to fifteen grants of approximately $10,000 each this year. Eastern Panhandle schools and nonprofit organizations that inspire and educate children through art, music, design, and nature seeking general operating support or funding for a specific program are invited to apply for a grant from this new fund. This year’s deadline to apply is April 28th.
The Detlev and Mary Ellen Preissler Fund for the Arts, Music, Design, and Nature was established by Mary Ellen in honor of her late husband Detlev, a German-born architectural designer who called Harpers Ferry his home for nearly 50 years. The two met on a blind date in late 1991 and Detlev proposed two weeks later on New Year’s Eve. They were married on February 15, 1992, and remained together until his death in 2017.
Detlev and Mary Ellen traveled wide and far throughout their lives. Detlev drove more miles than anyone else she had ever known, Mary Ellen said, but he always considered himself a “little country boy from West Virginia.” Mary Ellen, a New York native who had previously worked as a realtor, joined Detlev’s firm Helikon Design Corp when she moved to Harpers Ferry. Detlev was a renowned designer, first working at various prestigious DC design firms and then creating round Helix Structure homes at his own firm.
Detlev was a visionary, Mary Ellen says. He wrote philosophical poetry and maintained friendships that spanned nearly his entire lifetime. Mary Ellen speaks of his good sense of humor and said he would command a whole room if he knew the occupants. Now, by creating this fund, Mary Ellen has ensured that both Detlev’s brilliant mind and her own generosity and love for him will live on forever.
Through this new fund, the arts in Jefferson, Berkeley, and Morgan Counties will continue to grow and thrive. Programs that help children expand their knowledge and practice of art, music, and design, especially those that incorporate nature and the natural world into the curriculum, should visit www.EWVCF.org to learn more and apply for a grant from the Detlev and Mary Ellen Preissler Fund for the Arts, Music, Design, and Nature today!
The Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation (EWVCF) was established in 1995 to help donors create permanent endowments to provide grants and scholarships throughout the region. Since its inception, EWVCF has awarded $13.7 million, including $1 million in 2021 alone. The Community Foundation now holds more than 260 endowed funds with assets of just over $38 million and it is the leading steward of philanthropic giving in the region. EWVCF works with a wide range of nonprofit organizations providing funding for projects from human welfare and scholarships to affordable housing and natural resources conservation; youth and education, animal welfare and historic preservation, and much more. To apply visit https://www.ewvcf.org/detlev-and-mary-ellen-preissler-fund-for-the-arts-music-design-and-nature-request-for-proposal/or contact EWVCF Executive Director Michael Whalton at firstname.lastname@example.org, 304-264-0353.