Yellow Springs residents Mary and Trent Fisher knew that someday they wanted to leave a charitable legacy for future generations. When Trent merged his longtime automation and robotics tooling company with another company in 2017, they came to The Dayton Foundation to make their dreams a reality.
“I always thought leaving a legacy would happen when we were much older,” said Mary Fisher, associate professor for the University of Dayton and physical therapist for Premier Health. “I dreamed that one day we could have a lasting impact. With resources and support from The Dayton Foundation, we can.”
They established a Family Foundation PlusSM fund through the Foundation with some of the proceeds from the company merger. The fund allows the Fishers to name their children as successor advisors and continue their charitable legacy through the generations.
“It’s nice because we can see the benefits of our charitable giving during our lifetimes,” said Trent Fisher, professional engineer and business owner. “Our hope is that our children and future descendants will contribute to the fund and continue our family’s charitable legacy, making it their own.”
Inspiring the next generation of givers is a priority for the Fishers, who encourage their three children to pay forward their blessings at Thanksgiving by giving them each $100 to donate to charity. They also have allotted a portion of their fund’s assets for students at the University of Dayton Davis Center for Portfolio Management to invest. This Dayton Foundation/UD partnership gives students real-world experience, both in managing assets and philanthropy, by reducing its management fee and using those dollars for students to direct grants to charity.
“We are hoping it lights a spark in the students to get involved in giving back,” Trent said.
“Philanthropy is not just Bill Gates. It cuts across all backgrounds and ages,” Mary added. “Teaching philanthropy is hard. We want to inspire the next generation.”
To the Fishers, giving means more than just writing a check. Mary helps raise funds for Living with Lymphedema and educates women about breast cancer. Trent volunteers for their church and coaches youth basketball. He also counsels new start-ups at the Dayton Entrepreneurial Center as an executive-in-residence to help them “avoid some of the pitfalls I ran into when trying to start my business.”
The Fishers want their family to leave a lasting legacy for the community they have called home for more than 30 years.
“It’s comforting to be in a community that unites during rough times. We are proud to be a part of it,” Mary said. “Our kids helped clear tornado debris, even though we were spared that evening. Our neighbors and friends rallied to help those impacted by the Oregon District tragedy, even though they did not know anyone personally.”
“It speaks volumes that complete strangers have reached out to lift others up,” Trent said. “This is what community means, and we are part of one of the best.”