The Greater Dayton area is blessed with many exceptional and celebrated amenities, including a rich and diverse landscape. Abundant waterways, lush vegetation, varied wildlife and extensive farmlands make the region an attractive place to live, add economic value and sustain the lives of millions of residents.
To help support conservation initiatives and programs, Bob Jurick and several other community leaders and environmentalists, through the support of The Dayton Foundation, established The Greater Dayton Conservation Fund in 2006. Bob is a trustee and former executive director of the B-W Greenway Community Land Trust Fund and a member of the fund’s steering committee.
Q. Bob, tell us about The Greater Dayton Conservation Fund.
A. The fund is a permanent endowment to support environmental preservation in the region for today and for future generations. A group of local citizens noticed that The Dayton Foundation, at that time, had many funds under management to protect specific natural areas in our community. However, this was the first environmental fund with the flexibility to support new and emerging conservation and preservation activities across the region. This fund is so important because it will guarantee a certain amount of charitable gifts will go to support environmental efforts in our area. It’s a statement that the community foundation cares about preserving our natural treasures.
Q. We are blessed with tremendous natural resources in this region. What are some of the current threats to preserving these resources for the future?
A. Besides ongoing threats such as pollution and climate change, there is a lack of understanding of the economic and cultural values of our natural resources when land use decisions are made. For example, prime farmland and wetlands are long-term assets that too often are sacrificed for short-term economic gains. Without proper land management, we will lose significant agricultural resources and wildlife habitats, while adding to our communities’ cost for infrastructures and creating competition for water resources.
Q. Why is environmental preservation so important at this time?
A. There is never a time when environmental preservation is not important. We have been noticing that our younger citizens have an appreciation for our natural resources. Our natural areas are diminishing rapidly, and once they’re gone you seldom can reclaim them. It’s much more expensive to tear down structures and remove concrete than it is to preserve existing natural areas.
Q. How much has been awarded to date through the fund and what kinds of projects have been funded?
A. We have awarded more than $80,000 to support 23 projects here in the region. This year’s awards went to Learning Tree Farm for a field restoration and observation deck project for educational programs related to field succession; Little Miami River Kleeners for a watershed conservation project to educate children and the community about the importance of the watershed and what they can do to help protect the quality of life in and near the Little Miami River; and Lights Out Miami Valley for a project to reduce night lighting that influences wildlife patterns.
Q. How can someone get involved or support your efforts?
A. Anyone interested in contributing to our efforts can make a monetary gift to the fund, either by sending a check payable to The Dayton Foundation with a note in the memo line that it’s for The Greater Dayton Conservation Fund, or by going online to the Foundation’s website and making a gift with a credit card. Such contributions make possible grants and other actions to preserve and protect our environment. If someone would like to volunteer by participating on the fund’s advisory committee, contact me, Bob Jurick, at email@example.com.
Q. You and your wife, Beverly, also have established funds through The Dayton Foundation to support your personal charitable giving.
A. Yes, we have a Charitable Checking Account and an endowed fund. The Foundation helps Beverly and me give to our church and other causes important to us, as well as encourages us to consider causes we may not be aware of. Our funds make giving very easy and provide us with tax advantages.
Q. What advice can you share about giving to help our community?
A. Choose the organizations and causes that inspire you and that have a long-range perspective.
Q. How would you complete this sentence, “Our giving makes us feel____”?
A. Grateful to be able to share our blessings with others and God’s environment.
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The Dayton Foundation has been helping people help others since 1921 by managing charitable funds, awarding grants to nonprofits and launching community initiatives. Contact the Foundation at (937) 222-0410 or visit www.daytonfoundation.org.