Spring 2017

From the President: Growing Together for a Stronger Community

Michael M. Parks

It seems appropriate to report in our newsletter, aptly titled Good News, that The Dayton Foundation has achieved a new milestone.

For the first time, the Foundation has surpassed $500 million in current assets - $505 million to be exact - placing us among the top 5 percent of our nation’s community foundations in total assets under management. This impressive growth means that donors’ charitable gifts through the Foundation will continue to grow and improve the quality of life in our region.

Our success is thanks to all of you - our donors, financial and estate-planning partners, and nonprofit organizations - and your collective support of the region we proudly call our home. Your philanthropic spirit truly is inspiring and reflects the generosity we see every day at The Dayton Foundation.

Like you, we believe in supporting the charities and strategic initiatives that are hard at work enhancing Greater Dayton today and positioning it for a stronger tomorrow. Included in this is our commitment to the downtown district.

Without a strong downtown community, the rest of Greater Dayton falls behind.

You may wonder, however, why someone, who lives and works in the suburbs, should care about downtown when there are other developed areas of the region. Our answer for that is simple: without a strong downtown community, the rest of Greater Dayton falls behind. What happens in the core creates a ripple effect, impacting the region’s overall health and economic growth. As we’ve seen in other parts of the country, regions that take urban revitalization seriously have greater opportunities for attracting high-value jobs, young professionals and the businesses and institutions that want to employ them.

I am impressed by the progress being made in downtown Dayton. Cranes and construction crews dot the landscape, and there is a renewed vibe felt on the streets. People recognize and appreciate the development underway through new housing and businesses, expanded services, recreational opportunities and entertainment offerings. Downtown has become more, not less, important as a place where people live, learn, work and play.

In recent years, the Foundation has invested more than $1.4 million in Board-approved discretionary grants toward bold plans that are redeveloping our city center. The Foundation’s grant for the new Levitt Pavilion Dayton, featured on the cover of this newsletter, is one example. The excellent work of Ellen and Jeff Ireland and the Friends of Levitt Pavilion Dayton board has brought together public and private partners to not only transform Dave Hall Plaza, but also to increase access to free performing arts for individuals and families.

The drive to provide opportunities for individuals and families to share and grow together in an urban environment has been part of the impetus behind so much of downtown’s development.

For the first time, the Foundation has surpassed $500 million in current assets, placing us among the top 5 percent of our nation’s community foundations in total assets.

RiverScape, which the Foundation supported in 1999 with a $300,000 grant, was at the time the Foundation’s largest single grant. We joined with other partners in RiverScape, because we understood such an exciting project would improve the attractiveness of the area, as well as be a catalyst in downtown’s long-sought rejuvenation.

By 2010, the Downtown Dayton Partnership had a new vision for the city center - the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan - that recognizes the immense potential of downtown as the engine for Dayton’s regional economy. The Dayton Foundation provided grant support for the Plan, as well as for several projects outlined in the Plan that have since come to fruition. Among these was a two-year, $150,000 grant to help relocate Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley’s headquarters to South Main Street and increase its capacity to serve individuals with disabilities. River Run, which opens this spring thanks in part to a $200,000 Foundation discretionary grant, was another key piece of the Partnership’s Plan that will draw individuals to our river’s edge.

More recently, Foundation grants have been helping to preserve a historic downtown landmark through the Victoria Theatre Association’s Next Stage campaign; encouraging new artistic opportunities at the Association’s Second Street creative space; and enhancing children’s learning opportunities through the new Dayton Metro Library main location’s Imagine! portal.

I feel proud and privileged that through the support of our donors, The Dayton Foundation is able to be a part of these and so many other projects that are creating a welcoming and exciting regional destination. More than that, these efforts further confirm the ever-increasing role of public and private partnerships in shaping our city’s revitalization efforts and building a more vibrant Greater Dayton. Clearly, when we join together, our community grows stronger.

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To help support Levitt Pavillion Dayton, please consider a gift to to the Friends of Levitt Pavilion Fund of The Dayton Foundation.

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File date: 3.20.17
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