Dayton Foundation giving surpasses $1B

Credit: The Dayton Foundation

Credit: The Dayton Foundation

Centennial celebration begins with ‘historic milestone.’

The Dayton Foundation has surpassed $1 billion in charitable grants since the foundation was formed in 1921, the organization announced Thursday while kicking off its centennial celebration.

“This is an historic milestone in The Dayton Foundation’s history, with each grant telling a story in strengthening our vibrant community,” said Marva Cosby, chair of The Dayton Foundation’s Governing Board. “When the Foundation was established in 1921 by Dr. D. Frank Garland, John H. Patterson and the Patterson family, they envisioned creating a permanent financial resource to benefit our community in perpetuity.”

The $1 billion threshold for grant awards was crossed earlier this year as the Foundation continues to manage nearly 4,000 charitable funds with assets totaling $653 million as of June 30, 2020.

Dayton Foundation President Michael M. Parks joined Cosby in the video announcement Thursday.

“Much good has been accomplished in our community, thanks to individuals, families and organizations that have established funds for the betterment of Greater Dayton,” he said.

The early vision for the foundation also included that it play a critical role in community development and leadership, which has involved convening others in initiatives focused on education, equity and diversity, downtown development and more, Cosby said.

“We’re honored to continue their legacy by having a resource the community can use in times of need and opportunity,” she said.

The Dayton Foundation launched its year-long centennial celebration, 100 Years of Helping You Help Others, with a livestreamed event, Celebrating 100 Years Together from Afar!, on the foundation’s Facebook page and website at

The event began with a spoken word performance by Shawn Gardner, a Stivers High School graduate now attending Ohio State University.

“These chapters were written for everyone, by everyone from those of rags to those of riches, for receivers to givers,” he said in a video that moved poetically across Dayton-area landmarks.

The foundation also received video congratulations from Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

“During natural disasters, violent tragedies, even the current COVID-19 pandemic, you are there. The Dayton Foundation is a gift to the region. Fran, I wish you the very best in the next hundred years,” DeWine said.

Viewers also heard from honored donors and grateful recipients.

David James, a diabetic who relies on a service dog himself, set up a fund through the foundation to raise money for 4 Paws for Ability, which trains service dogs in Xenia.

“They’ve made it very easy for me to make sure that the money that I have gets gifted to 4 Paws so wonderful dogs ... get that chance to really make a difference in this world,” he said.

Eliza Straughter-Cummings, a graduate of Northern Illinois University, received the Pearl A. Dale and Audrey Parker scholarship that propelled her into becoming a senior systems engineer.

“After being told no so many times, or that I wasn’t cut out for the goals I had in mind, this scholarship was the type of reminder that someone told me yes. Sometimes, all we need is one ‘yes’ to continue to push through until you reach the finish line.”

Cosby and Parks also announced a new giving campaign called 100 Gifts to the Community that will stretch over the next 10 months. Foundation fund holders will be making special gifts to charities of their choice ranging from $1,000 to over $100,000 that will support the homeless, fight hunger and support education and the arts among others, Cosby said.

Among over 800 community foundations in the nation, The Dayton Foundation consistently ranks among the top 45 for new gifts, grants awarded and market value, according to the foundation.

“Also noteworthy is that the Foundation is second among the nation’s community foundations for the number of charitable funds under management, more than community foundations in some of our nation’s largest cities,” Parks said. “This disproportionate giving from a community our size says so much about the generosity of our region’s people.”

The foundation offers a range of charitable fund options for individuals at every giving level, including a free charitable checking account and a first-in-the-nation private foundation alternative. Additionally, the Foundation provides comprehensive financial management and administration of all funds with quarterly statements, tax reporting, online fund access and third-party investment oversight.

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