Nikki Matheny is a graduate of St. Wendelin High School in Fostoria and considers herself born and raised in the Findlay area. After graduating from Kenyon College and spending time in California, she returned to Findlay where she is making an impact on local families. Matheny is a mom of two and a member of Handbags That Help (or HTH), a women’s giving circle that funds grants to local projects and organizations.
Creating a lasting legacy
Over the course of the past ten years, HTH has donated almost half a million dollars which has strengthened our community. Matheny’s involvement with Handbags began six years ago. “A friend of mine invited me to the group meeting and I was just so impressed by what they did. They made an impact that wasn’t just a one-time thing, but it created a lasting legacy in our community,” she explains.
One example of a project that received its initial funding through Handbags That Help is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. This program sends each child in Hancock County a free book each month until they turn five years old. “The most impressive aspect of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library was the stats that came behind it. It’s a global program with results to show that they have been able to improve local kindergarten readiness scores,” says Matheny. Studies show the long-term importance of this readiness score as those who are ready for school achieve higher levels of academic and career success.
Addressing the needs of families and children
Other grants awarded by HTH provided intervention services for children, back-to-school shoe vouchers, toothbrushes and other basic needs as assessed by the group.
“Handbags that Help is important to me because it reaches families and children.” Matheny stated, adding, “That’s something close to my heart being a mother and having a family of my own. Seeing the struggles that families in our community have to deal with on a daily basis with things I take for granted like books, shoes and toothbrushes make it important to me.”
In addition to her involvement with HTH, Matheny is a member of Findlay MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), which she enjoys because of fun playdate activities and empathy and understanding among fellow moms. As a big fan of downtown Findlay, Matheny and her family also enjoy spending time at the Findlay Family YMCA taking a variety of classes. With a passion for Findlay and her heart for local families, Matheny is a wonderful asset to our community.
Interested women are welcome to check out Handbags that Help by contacting the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation at 419-425-1100
Q&A with Nikki Matheny
Your favorite summer activity as a family: Going to the pool at Findlay Country Club or going up to Lake Erie.
Your favorite ice cream spot: Dietsch Brothers.
How many years have you lived in the Findlay area? I was mostly born and raised in the area since my family lived in Fostoria when I was a kid. But after college and moving away I have been back in Findlay for ten years.
Are there any new businesses in town that you’re excited to check out? Yes, JK Juices is opening a downtown location on Crawford Street, which is close to my house. Also Vivir Modern Mexican is opening downtown soon as well.
Favorite restaurant with or without kids: We put the kids in the stroller and take them everywhere. That’s why we live downtown. I prefer Wine Merchant for lunch and Stix for dinner. Kimchi fried rice from Stix is my favorite!
Favorite place to shop (for you!) in Findlay: The Dressing Room Boutique.