Harry A. Toulmin, Jr., and Virginia B. Toulmin Fund: Foundation’s Largest Gift Is “Building a Better Dayton”
to support the arts, a passion that was near and dear to Virginia’s heart.
It’s been 10 years since former Dayton resident Virginia Bernthal Toulmin passed away, but her legacy, along with that of her husband, Col. Harry A. Toulmin, Jr., is alive and well in Greater Dayton. From supporting innovative arts programming to helping Dayton Children’s construct its state-of-the-art patient tower, the generous $26 million gift Virginia left upon her passing to the Harry A. Toulmin, Jr., and Virginia B. Toulmin Fund of The Dayton Foundation will enhance the community they so loved, today and in the future.
“Over the last decade, the Toulmin Fund has awarded more than $12 million in grants and is building a better Dayton,” said Michael M. Parks, president of The Dayton Foundation. “These grants have helped make possible community-transforming work that might not have otherwise happened without this support. What an amazing gift and a wonderful legacy for the community that meant so much to the Toulmins.”
Among the many efforts the Toulmin Fund has supported is the performing arts – an interest that Virginia developed a passion for as a child. “My love of music started when I was quite young,” she recalled in a 2008 Good News article. “I studied piano and worked as an usherette for the St. Louis Symphony. I heard every program – twice – and just ate it up.”
“I think the world of The Dayton Foundation, and I know that they will use these dollars wisely. I’m so glad to be doing this for the community that was so good to Harry and me.”
– Virginia B. Toulmin, Dayton Foundation donor
To continue enhancing arts, culture and humanities programming in Greater Dayton, her fund has distributed nearly $6.2 million in grants to date, including more than $3.5 million in grants to the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance (DPAA).
“The Harry A. Toulmin, Jr. and Virginia B. Toulmin Fund of The Dayton Foundation is one of the most continuous and substantial funding partners of the DPAA,” said Patricia McDonald, interim president and CEO of DPAA. “The fund has partnered with us on educational, opera, ballet, philharmonic and special projects by providing both funding and critical insights into the community. Without this generosity, we could not provide the level of world-class performing arts and education that we currently offer.”
The Toulmin Fund also has sup- ported efforts like Montgomery County Ohio College Promise, one of the region’s most impactful programs aiding youth in attending college. Since 2010, nearly 450 youth have been served by the program, which identifies promising underserved eighth grade students, pairs them with a mentor throughout their high school years and leads them to college at little or no cost to their families. While 226 students currently are completing their high school requirements, 224 students have continued their education at a higher educational institute, thanks to College Promise and support from grants like those from the Toulmin Fund.
“The grants awarded to College Promise supported the program’s original fundraising goal,” said Patrick Gill, executive director of Montgomery County Ohio College Promise.“Thanks to the Toulmin Fund’s generous gift, the program got underway and began doing the good work of providing poverty-impacted students with an opportunity to attend and graduate college, an effort that is still thriving today.”
“Thanks to this support, the Foundation can lift up the important work of our region’s nonprofits and effect real change in our region not just today, but for future generations.”
- Barbra Stonerock, vice president of Community Engagement for The Dayton Foundation.
Though she was born in St. Louis, Missouri, Virginia called Dayton home for 41 years after marrying international patent attorney Col. Harry Aubrey Toulmin, Jr., son of the Wright Brothers’ patent attorney, Harry A. Toulmin, Sr. Her husband passed away in 1965, leaving to Virginia a small pharmaceutical business he had saved from bankruptcy. With her keen sense of business and a nursing background, Virginia turned it into a hugely successful venture – with stock prices escalating from $67 per share in 1965 to $13,675 per share when she sold the business in 1995.
College Promise, which matches poverty-impacted high school students
with a mentor and gives them the opportunity to attend and graduate from
college at little or no cost to them or their families.
“When it paid off, I decided to give back. This is the basis of my philanthropy today,” said Virginia in 2008 upon estab- lishing her unrestricted legacy fund through the Foundation. “I think the world of The Dayton Foundation, and I know they will use these dollars wisely. I’m so glad to be doing this for the commun-ity that was so good to Harry and me.”
It was Virginia’s desire for her gift to be managed and invested for long-term growth that led her to the Foundation, thanks to the advice of her longtime trusted advisors at Key Private Bank. The decision paid off in dividends. Despite distributing more than $10 million in grants over the last decade, her original, invested gift of $26 million – the single largest gift in the Foundation’s history – now stands at more than $27 million. This ensures the Toulmins’ legacy will continue to enhance the community in perpetuity.
“Mrs. Toulmin’s gift has nearly doubled the Foundation’s ability to do responsive grantmaking and heightened our efforts to convene strategic initiatives that benefit Greater Dayton,” said Barbra Stonerock, vice president of Community Engagement for The Dayton Foundation. “Thanks to this support, the Foundation can lift up the important work of our region’s nonprofits and effect real change in our region not just today, but for future generations.”
Good News is made possible by five Dayton Foundation donors and families who have stepped forward to become the Foundation’s 2019-2020 “I Believe!” Partners. Click here to read their stories.
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