Spring 2020

Everyday Experiences Inspire Funds, Motivate Donors to Make a Difference

Peter Titlebaum (middle) and fellow riders Daniel Iroh
and Moshe Bar-gil rode 625 miles to raise awareness about
civil rights during the Ride 4 Freedom Legacy Tour.

Whether it’s to right an injustice or fulfill an innate desire to help our fellow man, the motivation to make a difference in others’ lives often is triggered by our personal experiences.

Educator Peter Titlebaum introduced this philosophy to his University of Dayton (UD) students when he created the exercise, “Legacy: Finding Your Emotional Trigger.” The project had a deep effect on him. It inspired a journey last June that took him, two friends and a support team from UD on a 625-mile, week-long bike ride from The National Underground Railroad Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, to The Freedom Rides Museum in Montgomery, Alabama.

“For me the bike ride, which I named the ‘Ride 4 Freedom Legacy Tour,’ was an extension of an exercise I was asking my students to do,” said Peter, a fellow for UD’s Institute of Applied Creativity for Transformation (IACT). “Part of the lesson was to make them vulnerable and uncomfortable while still moving forward and being willing to take a risk.”

“[The Dayton Foundation has] been around since 1921, so I knew I was in great hands and they would take good care of me.”
– Peter Titlebaum, Dayton Foundation donor

Peter established a Charitable Checking Account℠ (CCA) through The Dayton Foundation in 2018, because “they have been around since 1921, so I knew I was in great hands and they would take good care of me.” Last fall, $5,000 in grants were awarded from his CCA to support the museums they visited during the ride. While raising money and awareness for his cause was empowering, the biggest highlight for Peter was speaking to 250 youth about their own legacies.

“It’s life changing to help others not just financially, but also intellectually,” said Peter, who continues to raise funds to create an endowment for IACT that will allow students to travel and pitch their ideas about making a difference. “I want them to know they can affect people today and not just after college. Students are our world’s future.”

Terri Baldasare, founder of Living
with Lymphedema

Dayton Foundation donor Terri Baldasare’s trigger came about in 2011 while sitting in her physical therapist’s waiting room. The number of patients who had unusually large or disfigured legs surprised her. Having just been diagnosed with lymphedema, a condition that affects the movement of fluids throughout the body, following a successful bout with breast cancer, Terri knew they were suffering from the condition as well.

“I wear a compression sleeve and glove on my right arm so that my condition doesn’t worsen,” Terri said. “When I asked why they weren’t wearing compression garments, I was saddened to hear that they were too expensive and not covered under their insurance plans.”

Terri decided to do something. She established a CCA through The Dayton Foundation to help individuals who can’t afford compression garments, which can cost up to $500 for a six-month supply. She solicited the help of family and friends, including her husband, Joe Baldasare, chief development officer for The Dayton Foundation. Through events like an annual bocce tournament and other fundraising, she has raised nearly $200,000 for the Living with Lymphedema Fund.

“I often wondered what mark I will leave on the world to let people know I was here.... this is my lasting mark. The Dayton Foundation helps me do this!”
– Terri Baldasare, Dayton Foundation donor

“My CCA allows me to receive multiple charitable donations without having to establish my own 501(c)(3) organization,” Terri said.

Thanks to grants from her CCA and relationships she has developed with Premier Health Partners, Kettering Health Network, The Jewish Hospital – Mercy Health and local physical therapists and physicians, more than 250 individuals living with lymphedema have received treatment since 2010.

“This has brought meaning to my battle with cancer. I not only have fought and won the battle, but I am helping others – in a small way – to defeat this condition,” Terri said. “I often wondered what mark I will leave on the world to let people know I was here. Aside from my wonderful children and grandchildren, this is my lasting mark. The Dayton Foundation helps me do this!”

Femme Aid Collaborative founders (left to right)
Ryann Mescher, Zoe Waller and Dana Clark

The emotional trigger that inspired Femme Aid Collaborative happened during a routine errand. Ryann Mescher and her mother, April, were in line at the grocery store behind a woman who couldn’t afford to buy menstrual products. They purchased the items for her on the spot, and it moved them, along with Ryann’s Oakwood High School classmates, Dana Clark and Zoe Waller, to work to end period poverty in Greater Dayton.

“We had no idea this was an issue in our community. It was shocking to witness firsthand a person who had to choose between eating and purchasing menstrual hygiene products,” Ryann said. “We knew we had to do something about it.”

They opened a CCA through The Dayton Foundation to “give donors the confidence that we were an established entity, the money would be managed properly and they would receive a tax deduction,” April said. “One hundred percent of donations made through the CCA are used to purchase menstrual hygiene products monthly.”

Thanks to fundraising events like the Change the Cycle breakfast and car washes, Femme Aid has collected and distributed 500,000 period products to individuals in need since March 2019. They also have lobbied for change by supporting the passage of House Bill 19 to eliminate Ohio sales tax on feminine hygiene products and created an awareness that has inspired several area schools to stock these products free of charge in their restrooms. 

Their efforts have not gone unnoticed. Femme Aid cofounders Ryann, Dana and Zoe recently were honored with the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award and featured on WHIO-TV’s Making a Difference. But it isn’t accolades and awards that motivate these young women to continue their mission of helping to end period poverty.

“If you can give, you should. It doesn’t have to be monetary, it can be your time or even just your support. Anything helps when it comes to problems that affect the whole community,” Zoe said. “We all have to do our part in improving Greater Dayton.”

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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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File date: 03.20.20
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