Mary & Dick Glennon: An Abiding Faith in Dayton

Reprinted from The Dayton Foundation’s 2006-07 Report to the Community

In 1947 when Richard F. Glennon, Sr., came from Toledo to attend the University of Dayton, his experience was different from what he anticipated. “I found a clean, friendly city. People would stop on the street to help me find the right bus to UD.”

“Dayton has a unique heartbeat epitomized by the tool-anddie industry. It creates a spirit you don’t see in most other communities,” he said. “This industry spawned a risk-taking mentality, a courage and creativity that have been passed down from generation to generation.”

This culture provides a fertile environment for the scientific innovation coming out of Wright- Patterson Air Force Base, he believes. “Wright-Patt is a creative and continuously flowing resource for new technologies in many areas, such as polymer chemistry, computer-aided optics and digital technologies. These technologies have led to life-enhancing applications for Dayton-area businesses and educational research institutions.” Dick Glennon has seen firsthand the merger of the toolmaker and the Wright-Patt cultures that have created vital, new businesses. As president of Riverain Group Inc., which develops cutting-edge concepts in the field of medical devices, he has fused these two dynamics to create a number of successful start-up companies.

What makes him confident about Dayton’s future? “It’s that rare combination of the innovative technologies and the toolmaker culture with its willingness to risk failure,” he said. “What will make Dayton grow again is to have the toolmaker’s confidence in a different industry, such as a software development environment spurred by new Wright-Patt technologies. Where the future of our community resides is in utilizing those two sources of intellectual wealth.”

Dayton is a networking town, Mary Glennon added, and an accepting environment for people who want to get involved. “In Dayton, people help one another,” she said. “It’s built into us to give back – ingrained from our families, our church. It’s what we do.”

Dick Glennon added, “Everyone needs to put something back in the pot. When a community creates opportunities for success, business people must find ways to give back some of what they’ve taken out.”

A special philanthropic interest of the Glennons is education. “Education gives us our shot in life,” he said. “We can solve the problems of education now, or live with the results.” Another charitable focus for the family is social support for people through specific organizations like St. Mary Development Corporation – and broader community support through The Dayton Foundation.

Dick Glennon was a Dayton Foundation Governing Board member for many years. He said that of the community efforts he has engaged in through the Foundation, the one he’s proudest to have been a part of has been the growth of the Foundation from a small, unknown organization to a large, highly respected one that has impact. “I am convinced that the Foundation is the major resource in our community for those who want to leave something behind... it is a qualifying point for a variety of current needs and proposed solutions to those needs. It has the staff and the know-how to research what is going on and what is possible.”

Ultimately it’s all about “people reaching out to help each other,” as Mary Glennon put it. “It’s what makes Dayton a community.”

Dick Glennon said it another way, recalling the challenge his mentor made to him years ago, “What are you going to do with your life after you make your money?”

“My grandchildren may not be living here in 50 years, but somebody’s grandchildren will,” he concluded. “I believe those of us who have done well in this city have a responsibility to those kids. The Dayton Foundation is our way to insure the quality of life for the next generations.”

Dick Glennon was an Emeritus Governing Board member of The Dayton Foundation until his passing in 2023. The Glennons utilized Foundation services for their charitable giving throughout their lifetimes, including establishing Charitable Checking Accounts,℠ an endowed Donor-Advised Fund, a Field-of-Interest Fund and a supporting organization. Their Dayton Foundation funds will ensure the charitable legacy they created during their lives is carried out in perpetuity.