Connections provides information about Foundation initiatives and new programs and continuing needs of local charities. Listed within this issue are those organizations that received a discretionary grant during the last several discretionary and Greenlight GrantSM cycles.

All of these organizations have been researched by our Community Engagement Department, and a summary of their grant proposals is included. 

As you may see, for many of these requests, we were able to fund only to a certain level. The organizations may still have needs associated with their specified programs. Or, in some cases, the projects may be complete but the organizations may have more needs that require funding. If you would like additional information about these programs or to support other important work, please feel free to contact the charities directly.

Discretionary Grants


Culture Works | Grants for Arts Projects Subgranting Match

$300,000 Project Budget | $50,000 Granted

Culture Works is the funding, advocacy and service organization that inspires, supports and sustains arts and culture in the Dayton Region. Culture Works seeks funding as a required match for a National Endowment for the Arts grant that provides funds for subgranting to its constituent arts organizations. Funds will grow the creative sector through investment in our arts community.

 Lisa Hanson, CEO, (937) 222-2787


Dayton Contemporary Dance Company | Strategic Capacity Building for a Sustainable Future Initiative

$264,000 Project Budget | $64,000 Granted

Rooted in the African-American experience and celebrating 55 years of artistic excellence, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC) is a culturally diverse dance company committed to reaching the broadest audience through exceptional performance and arts-integrated education. Funds will be used for organizational capacity building and strategic planning to expand revenue-generating opportunities, rebuild Dayton audiences and address lingering post-pandemic impacts. Additional funds will help underwrite consultant fees for organization-wide assessments, strategic planning, and board and staff training.

Debbie Blunden-Diggs, Artistic Director, (937) 228-3232


Dayton Live | Spotlight on the Future

$25,000,000 Project Budget | $75,000 Granted

Dayton Live’s mission is to strengthen community engagement in the arts through inspiring performances, educational opportunities and world-class venues. Funds will be used for a capital campaign to address facility and structural needs for Dayton’s performing arts venues, including the Arts Garage, Metropolitan Arts Center, Schuster Performing Arts Center and Victoria Theatre. Without necessary capital updates, critical structures, such as the roofs, chillers, lighting, elevators and flooring, are at risk of failure and could limit access to arts experiences in the Dayton Region.

Mike Rogers, Interim President and CEO, (937) 228-7591


Dayton Metro Library | New Bookmobile

$449,800 Project Budget | $75,000 Granted

Dayton Metro Library brings people of all ages and backgrounds together to discover new things about the world, themselves and each other. Its libraries are advocates for exploration, champions of literacy and active facilitators of empowerment, inclusion and positive change. Funds will be used to purchase a new Bookmobile to help enhance school-based and community engagement and enable more children ages 3 to 10 and their families to read more books. As a specialized mobile library service, the Bookmobile can be set up in lower-population rural areas and lower-opportunity urban communities where access to a physical library is limited.

Lauren Tappel, Director of Institutional Giving, (937) 496-8587


Fisher-Nightingale Houses, Inc. | Whole House Generator for the Dayton VA Medical Center Fisher House

$94,159 Project Budget | $25,000 Granted

Fisher-Nightingale Houses are compassionate care homes with a mission to support wounded, injured and ill military men and women and their families who receive inpatient or outpatient treatment at the Dayton VA Medical Center or the Wright-Patterson Medical Center. Funds will be used to install a whole-house generator to power the entire Dayton house in the event of a power outage, a critical need due to guests storing their medicines and other medical items in the refrigerators.

Kimberly Luse, Executive Director, (513) 544-9408


Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley | Adaptive Equipment Scholarship

$25,000 Project Budget | $24,911 Granted

Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley’s mission is to empower people with disabilities and other disadvantages so they may achieve independence and improve their quality of life. The nonprofit organization offers vision services for community members who are blind or facing visual impairment so they have what they need to adapt and, ultimately, remain independent and active in public life. Funds will be used to maintain and purchase diagnostic and assistive equipment.

Lance W. Detrick, CEO, (937) 461-4800


The Human Race Theater Company | Production/Access Equipment Updates

$800,000 Project Budget | $50,000 Granted

The Human Race Theatre Company is Dayton’s professional, regional theatre company, exploring the human experience and promoting enlightenment, inclusion and understanding, while startling us all into a renewed awareness of ourselves. Funds will be used to purchase new equipment and address long-term artistic needs that will allow artists to expand their creativity, as well as reduce production materials costs and limit environmentally unfriendly waste.

Kappy Kilburn, Executive Director, (937) 202-4661


North Star Community Association | North Star Community Park Renovation Project

$1,000,000 Project Budget | $50,000 Granted

The northern Darke County village of North Star, established in 1852, and its surrounding community are known for its community spirit, thriving businesses and robust agricultural operations. Funds will be used to expand and renovate the North Star Community Park to provide easy-to-maintain, accessible facilities, a larger space for community gatherings and safe access to all aspects of the park. The project will help the North Star community serve a wide variety of activities and sustain its needs for future growth and usage of the facility.

Carolyn Wilker, President, (937) 307-5196


Think TV | Brick by Brick Series

$360,000 Project Budget | $25,000 Granted

The mission of ThinkTV is to strengthen the communities we serve through programs and services that inspire and inform, educate and engage, fostering citizenship and culture, the joy of learning and the power of diverse perspectives. Funds will be used to support a new solutions-driven, community affairs program called Brick by Brick, which consists of six seasonal broadcast episodes, a bimonthly podcast, streaming and supplemental web content, and town hall events. The goal of this program is to use the established tenets of solutions journalism and the journalistic rigor of PBS NewsHour to engage in discussion around solutions to regional issues, such as affordable housing, and be a catalyst for a stronger Dayton through equitable and sustainable communities.

Dorothy "Kitty" Lensman, Executive Director, (937) 220-1660

Greenlight GrantsSM


Caesar’s Ford Theatre, Inc. | Photos for Website and Marketing Materials

$11,025 Project Budget | $4,000 Granted

Caesar’s Ford Theatre is dedicated to restoring historical outdoor drama in Ohio by working hand in hand with members of today’s communities to lift the standard of historical accuracy to a new height. CFT’s Shawnee Living History Tour, scheduled to take place in fall of 2024, is committed to hiring individuals of federally recognized tribes to portray the history of American Indian figures from the late 18th century and relay the story of intersections between the Shawnee and Virginians. Funds will be used to create promotional photos for the website and other marketing materials to accurately depict the historical figures, promote the tour and generate revenue.

Jason Jones, President, (937) 272-4725


Diabetes Dayton (LifeCare Alliance) | Translation Service for Clients

$3,600 Project Budget | $2,100 Granted

Diabetes Dayton’s mission is to provide support and assistance for anyone affected by diabetes, regardless of the ability to pay, to better manage his or her disease. The nonprofit organization has experienced an overall increase in clients needing its programs and services, specifically clients who are unable to speak or understand English. The ability to provide professional translation services to those living with a serious disease is critical to the overall health and wellness of clients and the community. Funds will be used to provide translation services for clients living with diabetes and experiencing language barriers.

Cris Peterson, Executive Director, (937) 220-6611


Emerge Recovery and Trade Initiative | The Greenhouse Project

$250,543 Project Budget | $5,000 Granted

The mission of Emerge Recovery and Trade Initiative is to empower people seeking recovery and former foster youth to rebuild their lives through transformational and vocational pathways. Experts in the areas of emancipation, substance use treatment and workforce development come together at the 45-acre Emerge campus to provide holistic care, substance use treatment, peer support services, recovery housing, life-skills education and vocational pathways to lead individuals to success in long-term recovery and good paying jobs. Funds will be used to construct a greenhouse to create a space for horticultural therapy, a proven method to help those battling addictions. The Greenhouse Project will expand current programming and introduce their residents to the process of growing and cultivating plants, expand their nutritional intake of fresh produce and use teamwork skills toward a common goal. In addition, the produce from the greenhouse will be served at the Arise Café, located at Emerge, which is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday.

Rachel Huffman, CEO, (937) 347-7871


For Love of Children | Expansion to Greene County

$38,500 Project Budget | $2,000 Granted

For Love of Children is a 100 percent volunteer agency, with the mission to serve more than 8,000 children in Greater Dayton who are neglected, abused, in foster care or under-resourced. FLOC helps supply Christmas gifts for children, including winter clothing, blankets, toys, games, books and stockings filled with snacks, toiletries and small gifts. Funds will assist in the nonprofit’s expansion into Greene County.

Elizabeth Mann, President, (937) 223-3562


House of Bread | New Furnace for Kitchen Area

$5,500 Project Budget | $4,000 Granted

House of Bread’s mission is to prevent hunger and serve as a bridge for beneficial community resources. In 2023, House of Bread prepared more than 160,000 meals, 22 percent of which were for children. Funds will be used to add a new furnace to the back receiving area and kitchen, which is critical to efficiently heat the entire area for the safety of the staff, as well as the families and children it serves.

Melodie Bennett, Executive Director, (937) 226-1520


K12 Gallery for Young People | Pug Mill for Ceramics Program

$10,000 Project Budget | $4,000 Granted

K12 Gallery for Young People aims to inspire people of all ages to imagine, learn and create art in a unique and encouraging environment. This mission was realized to fulfill a community need to increase art accessibility for all Miami Valley residents, regardless of age, ability or ability to pay. Funds will be used to purchase a pug mill for its ceramics studio, which will mix unusable, unfired clay with water to turn it into a new batch of clay. The addition of a pug mill will allow K12 Gallery to reclaim 100 percent of unusable, unfired clay, saving the nonprofit organization up to $8,500 per year.

Jerri Standard, Founder & CEO, (937) 461-5149


Learning Tree Farm | Storage Space and Closets in the Bank Barn

$7,100 Project Budget | $1,500 Granted

Learning Tree Farm’s environmental education model connects children from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds with nature to inspire environmental exploration, understanding and stewardship. Funds will be used to build a storage space and closets in its Bank Barn, providing a place for educators to organize their program supplies and for summer camp students, interns and volunteers to safely store their belongings.

Heather Ritter, Executive Director, (937) 866-8650,


Pink Ribbon Good | Implementation of Financial Software

$26,000 Project Budget | $7,000 Granted

Pink Ribbon Good exists to serve every person and family affected by breast and gynecological cancer. It provides free healthy meals, rides to treatment, house cleaning essentials and peer support so no one is alone in the fight. Funds will be used to assist in the transition from QuickBooks and Excel to using Sage Intacct, a financial software specifically designed for nonprofit financial reporting. This transition will allow for organizational infrastructure growth to support the increased demand for services by significantly lowering the staff’s current workload and preventing the need to hire an additional employee in the finance department, among other benefits.

Heather Salazar, CEO, (937) 387-1594


Preschool Promise | Grants Prospecting Identification

$10,000 Project Budget | $7,500 Granted

Preschool Promise equips preschools and families with exceptional support, coaching and education to prepare students for kindergarten, with more than 3,500 preschoolers attending its partner sites. Data indicates that children who attended these partner sites are better prepared for kindergarten than their peers, as measured by the State of Ohio’s Kindergarten Readiness Assessment. Funds will be used to hire ResourceFull Consulting to conduct a grants prospecting scan that will identify new philanthropic and government funding opportunities to leverage public investment.

Robyn Lightcap, Executive Director, (937) 329-2700


Preservation Dayton, Inc. | Historic Property Redevelopment Program

$28,000 Project Budget | $5,000 Granted

Many of Dayton’s historic neighborhoods have been challenged by decades of redlining, predatory lending and low property appraisals that restrict access to home maintenance loans and mortgages. As a result, there is a great need to rebuild and enhance many of these homes. Preservation Dayton works to revitalize Dayton’s historic neighborhoods to improve the quality of life for all residents. Funds will be used to establish a revolving fund to acquire and stabilize vacant properties to remediate blight, protect generational wealth, inspire investment and encourage home ownership in these areas. All profits are invested in a sustainable revolving fund to help renovate more blighted properties

Monica Snow, President, (937) 232-7904


Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Inc. | No Kid Sleeps on the Floor in Our Town!

$313,214 Project Budget | $2,884 Granted

Sleep in Heavenly Peace fully believes a bed is fundamental for providing the proper physical, emotional and mental support that a child needs. Thanks to the generous efforts of SHP chapters, volunteers and donors, twin beds are built and delivered fully furnished to children ages 3 to 17 who sleep on floors, couches and other inadequate accommodations. Because the need to serve children is far greater than initially anticipated by the OH-Montgomery County Chapter since its founding in 2023, funds will be used for the expansion of the chapter’s services in Northeast Dayton and East Dayton.

Jeff Mog, Co-President, (419) 250-5710


Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth of Ohio | Driving for Success Program

Project Budget: $10,000 | Granted: $4,500

Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth’s goal is to create thriving families and communities where every individual, regardless of background or circumstance, can reach their full potential. Funds will be used to enhance the Older Youth Services Bridges program, which focuses on empowering emancipated foster youth by facilitating access to driving education and licenses at the Dayton division. This will enable young adults to acquire a crucial life skill, enhance their mobility and improve their prospects for employment and self-sufficiency.

Amanda Donnelly, Senior Director of Strategic Development & Communications, (970) 305-7909


Think Tank, Inc. | Change Leader Training Academy

$75,000 Project Budget | $2,000 Granted

Think Tank exists to tell the human story of poverty, because all people have value and their stories matter. The nonprofit organization helps bring dignity and opportunity to those living under economic and social burden. Funds will be used to build the capacity of community members who have experience with poverty but lack power and resources, to serve on leadership teams and community boards through Think Tank’s Change Leader Alliance.

Marlo Fox, Executive Director, (937) 727-9119


Valor Therapeutics, Inc. | Capacity Building – Five-Year Strategic Plan

$7,000 Project Budget | $6,500 Granted

Valor Therapeutics supports active duty and retired veterans and first responders, as well as their family and caregivers, who have experienced trauma connected to their time defending the United States. Through free art therapy and music therapy programs, the nonprofit helps clients improve their health and wellbeing by creatively managing harmful memories and adverse effects of trauma. Funds will be used to develop a five-year strategic business plan to ensure Valor creates a sustainable pathway to achieve the organization’s mission of helping those who valiantly serve their community and country.

Ryan Garrison, President, (937) 938-0446