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THE MAUREEN DEMERS MEMORIAL FUND FOR THE NEEDY:
Donor’s Last Wish Benefits Those in Need
Maureen Demers didn't stay in one place very long. As the wife of a U.S. Army soldier, she lived in 18 different communities throughout the United States and Europe from 1956 to 1978. But she managed to leave an impact wherever she went.
"No matter where we were stationed, she always found a way to locate and serve those in need of a helping hand," said Gerald Demers, Maureen Demers’s husband. "This served as a training ground for a life dedicated to helping and serving others." It’s also what inspired her to create a fund through The Dayton Foundation shortly before she passed away in 2004.
Following Gerald Demers’s retirement, the Demers planted roots in Petersberg, VA, where Maureen Demers became very active in their church’s social ministry and community outreach programs. Whether she was tending to the sick or lending a listening ear, Maureen Demers poured herself into identifying clients' needs and finding the resources to meet them.
"Maureen had a great gift for relating to and connecting with people. Clients always felt at ease in her hands," Gerald Demers said. "She spent numerous hours planning fundraisers to bring in new resources for her beloved outreach program."
In 2000 the Demers moved again, this time to Tipp City to be closer to their children and grandchildren. Within the first week, they started volunteering for the Needy Basket of Southern Miami County. Soon after, she was volunteering for Tipp-Monroe Community Services' Community Relief Program, The Clothesline and several arts organizations.
"Every week Maureen Demers would come to the office to volunteer, sitting patiently while people would tell her their struggles," said Kathy Taylor, executive director of Tipp-Monroe Community Services. "She never judged. She just wanted to help individuals and families get back on their feet."
Sadly, her service to the Dayton community would be cut short after being diagnosed in 2002 with incurable pancreatic cancer. Despite her grim prognosis, her giving spirit prevailed. In the weeks before her passing, Maureen Demers asked her husband to establish an endowment fund with The Dayton Foundation using funds she had in an IRA account. She designated The Tipp-Monroe Community Services' Community Relief Program and St. Joseph Catholic Church Social Ministry’s Community Outreach Program in Virginia to share the fund’s income. More than $17,000 has been awarded to date from The Maureen Demers Memorial Fund for the Needy.
"Maureen inspired so many with her positive attitude, courage, spiritual strength and determination to persevere in the face of a terminal disease," Gerald Demers said. "Even in the last months of her life, she would show up at The Clothesline, if for only one hour. She had come to serve, and she served until the very end."
"What I found fascinating was that when she became ill and knew she would not make it, she still thought of other people. She instructed her husband to set up a fund to help after she was gone," Kathy Taylor said. "If we had more people like Maureen Demers, the world would be a better place."
Are you interested in honoring or remembering a loved one by creating an endowed charitable fund? Contact Michelle Lovely, vice president, Development, at (937) 222-0410 or toll free at 1-877-222-0410.
For recent news and updates about The Dayton Foundation, read our press releases online.
IN HIS WORDS
“You get a good feeling giving to the community through The Dayton Foundation and knowing that you're inspiring future generations.”
– Charles Simms, CEO of Simms Management Corporation and Dayton Foundation Endowment fund donor