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


Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley | CSSMV Choice Food Pantry Expansion and Improvement

$4,200,000 Project Budget | $75,000 Granted

In Ohio, one in seven people and one in five children struggle with hunger. Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley provides a spectrum of services to address the ongoing crisis of poverty and hunger in the Dayton community. CSSMV’s Choice Food Pantry is working to meet the region’s emergency food needs. Funds will be used to help construct a 6,000-square-foot pantry with a loading dock that will enable daily food deliveries to be made safely and directly indoors and out of the elements. It also will improve accessibility by adding an elevator for case management clients, staff and guests, as well as add inventory storage space, new refrigeration, a ground-floor welcome center and community room.

Laura J. Roesch, CEO, (937) 223-7217


The Conscious Connect Community Development Corporation | The Delaware Commons Park Project

$311,000 Project Budget | $75,000 Granted

The organization’s mission is to reimagine and redevelop underused spaces for the purpose of education, culture, health and peace so that zip codes do not define the success of children, youth and families. Funds will help revitalize the current park located on Delaware Avenue to promote the long-term health, well-being, social cohesion and neighborhood of more than 3,000 residents. Working at the intersections of equitable neighborhood investments, passive and active amenities and public health, the Delaware Commons Park project will include upgrades to all park amenities, including tables, benches and the park shelter, as well as the removal of blight and the addition of playscapes. This work will help transform the abandoned community space into a vibrant neighborhood asset.


Crayons to Classroooms | Warehouse Expansion

$240,500 Project Budget | $60,000 Granted

Crayons to Classrooms secures and distributes school supplies at no cost to teachers of students in need. In 2022, C2C distributed more than $2.8 million worth of supplies to 119 schools and seven childcare centers in Montgomery, Greene, Clark, Preble and Warren counties. Funding will be used to secure a 10,000-square-foot warehouse space for the organization to securely store educational items including craft supplies, pencils and disinfectant wipes, as well as stock special items such as socks, underwear, menstrual hygiene products, social-emotional learning tools and financial literacy learning aids.

Steve Rubenstein, Executive Director, (937) 528-6400


4 Paws for Ability, Inc. | Service Dog Exercise Yard Improvements

$60,000 Project Budget | $15,000 Granted

4 Paws for Ability enriches the lives of people with disabilities by matching them with life-changing service dogs. The organization breeds, raises and trains service dogs to prepare them to assist with specific tasks and skills that mitigate the impact of their partners' disabilities. Funds will assist 4 Paws for Ability in expanding the number of dog runs, adding new play yards and increasing their size to create functional space for dogs when they are outside.

Jennifer Lutes, Executive Director, (937) 374-0385


Homefull | Homefull Healthy Living in West Dayton

$18,556,735 Project Budget | $75,000 Granted

Homefull believes that adequate access to food is a fundamental right for everyone. The organization works to eliminate food apartheid areas in the community by bringing groceries and choice to neighborhoods where there are concentrations of low-income and senior households with limited resources and barriers to accessing food. To address this issue, Homefull is building a 48,000-square-foot Health, Food and Jobs Center at Gettysburg Avenue. Funds will be used to support the project, which is under construction and will offer a full-service grocery store, regional food hub, entrepreneurial farmers market, primary care physician offices, pharmacy and community education center.

Tina M. Patterson, CEO, (937) 293-1945


Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region | Equipment and Facility Updates for Staff Training Center

$366,000 Project Budget | $75,000 Granted

Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region's mission is to provide access to high-quality healthcare and education that empower people to make informed private decisions about their reproductive lives and sexual health. The organization is piloting a centralized staff training center within the Dayton Health Center to create a professional environment for employees to practice new skills and gain hands-on experience with real patients. The project is expected to cut training time by more than half and reduce organizational costs and health center wait times without sacrificing quality or slowing patient flow. Funds will be used for facility updates.

Suzanne Bertuleit, President and CEO, (513) 833-4981


Ronald McDonald House Charities Dayton | Keeping More Families Close

$29,000,000 Project Budget | $75,000 Granted

Since 1980, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Dayton has been providing community, comfort and hope to families of seriously ill children so they can focus on what matters most, their children. Funds will be used to support the construction of a 38,000-square-foot facility that will deliver wraparound services to address the social determinants of health that pose barriers for caretakers to participate in pediatric healthcare.

Rita Cyr, CEO, (937) 224-0047


Sunlight Village | The Healthy Family Market

$1,375,932 Project Budget | $75,000 Granted

West Dayton’s primarily Black neighborhoods, most notably zip codes 45417 and 45402, suffer from a lack of opportunity, including access to affordable and healthy food. Approximately 70 percent of households in these zip codes are led by single women, and 46 percent of households have children under the age of six. Food insecurity rates in these neighborhoods are more than 30 percent above the national average. The scarcity of healthy food perpetuates poor health outcomes, most notably higher than average infant mortality rates, in these low-income Black communities. New and expectant mothers often lack access to nutritional food needed to support positive health outcomes. To address these challenges, the organization is seeking funds to create the Healthy Family Market. The Market will provide the West Dayton community, specifically low-income women and young children, with convenient access to nutritious, affordable, fresh and high-quality food products that support health and wellness.

Robbie Brandon, Executive Director, (937) 518-3522


United Church Homes | The Longfellow Commons Community

$50,000,000 Project Budget | $75,000 Granted

United Church Homes is among the largest, multi-site nonprofit senior living organizations in the United States, serving more than 5,500 residents in 14 states and two Native American nations. Through its inclusive initiatives, UCH seeks to transform aging for older adults in its independent, assisted and affordable housing communities. UCH has four locations in Miami Valley and is launching its fifth at the historic Longfellow School on Salem Avenue. Funds will help develop a 126-unit, age 55+ residential community that will be welcoming and enriching for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies.

Gloria T. Hurwitz, CFRE, Vice President of Advancement, (740)751-8702


Victory Project | Victory Project Boys Campus

$700,000 Project Budget | $75,000 Granted

Victory Project empowers youth to discover the life God intended by mastering self-awareness, self-sufficiency and selfless service while tearing down the pillars of poverty. The organization offers afterschool mentoring programming to disengaged young men in grades 8 through 12 in Dayton so they no longer depend on a criminal or social system that can enable their destructive lifestyles. Finding freedom and independence by obtaining marketable skills allows the young men to compete in the workforce. Funds will aid Victory Project in renovating a facility in West Dayton to launch a Victory Project Boys Campus.

Monnie Bush, CEO, (937) 224-0880


Wild Hearts African Farm | Education Center

$900,000 Project Budget | $75,000 Granted

Wild Hearts African Farm is a unique farm where visitors learn about animals from all over the world while taking a guided hiking tour to feed, touch and watch animals during their training and feeding times. Funds will support a new, 27-acre Education Center, including an EcoDome (a greenhouse-like structure for animals and plants), 16 acres of pastures, a STEM barn, livestock buildings and five acres of cropland. The Center will serve as a museum, cultural center, zoo, farm and, most importantly, a hub for education and learning. By focusing on holistic conservation activities, the Center will move beyond traditional farm and zoo experiences by including discussions on water quality, sustainable agriculture and endangered animals to draw clear connections between the dynamic parts of global ecosystems.

Amanda Badger, Executive Director, (937) 416-5520

Greenlight GrantsSM


Brukner Nature Center | River's Edge Wildlife Preserve Informational Kiosk

$1,087 Project Budget | $1,087 Granted

Brukner Nature Center is known for its vision of wildlife conservation through environmental education that provides unforgettable wildlife encounters to educate, inspire and encourage outdoor exploration. In 2010, Brukner Nature Center purchased the nearby 70-acre River's Edge Wildlife Preserve to magnify the impact of the original 165-acre nature preserve along the Stillwater River. This north-south corridor provides a rare canopy nesting habitat for birds and other wildlife in a predominantly agricultural region. Many visitors are unaware that River's Edge is part of BNC, and that it includes a beautiful waterfall and views of limestone bluffs. Funds will be used to add an information kiosk to help raise awareness and display hours, hiking trails and various community engagement opportunities.

Debra K. Oexmann, Executive Director, (937) 698-6493


Family Violence Prevention Center | Seal the Leak - Brick Flashing Project

$2,735 Project Budget | $2,500 Granted

Family Violence Prevention Center works to end family, domestic and sexual violence and its impact in Greene County through prevention, intervention, collaborative community programs and safe housing. Funding will help repair the Safe Housing program building to create a safe and healthy living environment.

Deborah Matheson, CEO, (937) 376-8526


Good Neighbor House | Food Pantry Capacity Expansion

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

Good Neighbor House provided access to quality, comprehensive and respectful care to Greater Dayton through medical and dental clinics and its food pantry. In 2022, the food pantry served over 32,500 clients, distributing 593,000 food items. A recent increase in food pantry services has posed a few challenges, as refrigerators and freezers cannot hold the full volume of food being received. Additionally, GNH does not have the equipment to accurately weigh or calculate the food items it receives at the pantry. To address these issues, the organization is seeking funds to purchase two, reach-in freezer and refrigerator units and a pallet scale.

Ryan Todd, Development Specialist, (937) 224-3442


Good Samaritan Foundation-Dayton | Screening Database

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

Samaritan Behavioral Health's SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment) program serves more than 5,000 students annually throughout five local school districts and screens them for hearing or vision problems, depression, and drug and alcohol issues. Funds will be used to build a new cloud-based database that will increase the efficiency of data entry, improve the user experience, enable staff to access data more efficiently and increase the security of data storage.

Beth Hutter, Vice President, (937) 208-2700


Hatch Architects Design Center | Design-Build Workshop in Northwest Dayton

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

Hatch Architects Design Center’s mission is to enhance the community by sharing knowledge and design skills with students while also improving our built environment. The organization focuses on increasing diversity in architecture by growing awareness and engaging in activities during childhood. Since 2021, Hatch has led several K-12 workshops centered on architecture and design and brought hands-on activities to four summer programs, introducing architecture to most of the students for the first time. In the summer of 2022, the organization offered programming at eight locations, reaching 255 students, nearly 75 percent of whom identify as Black. Funding will be used to offer a six-week program for Omega CDC’s Camp HOPE Freedom School students at Fairview Elementary to design and build an architectural element for the community.

Alexandra Bohler, Board Chair, (937) 802-8720


Humane Society of Greater Dayton | Animal Trailer

$19,000 Project Budget | $7,500 Granted

Humane Society of Greater Dayton’s humane agents are the only licensed agents in Montgomery County responsible for investigating reports of animal cruelty, neglect and abandonment. In 2023, HSGD’s humane agents responded to 4,628 calls from concerned citizens, investigated 521 cases and seized 324 farm or domesticated animals. Often, these humane cases involved large farm animals, such as horses, pigs, sheep, etc. Transporting these sometimes sick or injured animals takes specialized care. Funds were used to purchase an animal trailer to transport farm animals for needed care and rehabilitation before adoption. The trailer also will be used in the rescue of large hoarding cases of domesticated animals and during community disasters to help ensure displaced or injured pets are reunited with their families.

Brian Weltge, Executive Director, (937) 268-7387


Little Art Theatre Association | Technology Enhancements

$15,295 Project Budget | $5,000 Granted

Little Art Theatre Association is a key anchor organization in Yellow Springs, Ohio, providing experiences that entertain, inform and inspire audiences through independent, first-run, classic, documentary and foreign films, and local events. Its iconic Aztec murals and historic marquee make a unique venue for student films, filmmaker screenings, weddings, memorials and other special events. Funding will help upgrade, replace, and add technology equipment and software, as well as expand the types of programming, to increase services and create greater work efficiency.

Katherine L. Eckstrand, Executive Director, (937) 767-7671


Miami Valley Nonprofit Cooperative | Technology Upgrades

$2,656 Project Budget | $2,656 Granted

The Miami Valley Nonprofit Collaborative’s mission is to communicate, convene and create resources that build the capacity of nonprofit agencies and the effectiveness of those who work in them. MVNC serves other nonprofits through high-quality, affordable and accessible professional training, leadership development and networking events. Serving those who serve since 2015, MVNC has provided more than 5,100 training experiences to nonprofit staff, volunteers and board members representing over 500 area nonprofits. Funds will be used to incorporate technology, such as an email marketing platform, a donor management system and an e-learning library platform that will enable MVNC to grow and effectively serve the nonprofit community.

Jenny Warner, Executive Director, (937) 477-2438


The National Conference for Community & Justice of Greater Dayton | Strategic Plan Development

$8,500 Project Budget | $7,500 Granted

The National Conference for Community & Justice’s mission is to build a community dedicated to eliminating bias, bigotry and all forms of discrimination through youth leadership development, workplace professional development, and community advocacy and action. In the past three years, NCCJ has grown from 1.5 to 8 full-time employees. Funds will be used to create a new, three-year strategic plan to help guide the growing organization in a meaningful and sustainable direction. The strategic plan includes identifying future revenue sources, program opportunities, grant directions and potential new development positions within the organization.

Adriane H. Miller, Executive Director, (937) 222-6225


Single Parents Rock | Transportation Vehicle

$7,600 Project Budget | $6,357 Granted

Single Parents Rock provides emergency services, such as housing assistance and transportation to and from court-related matters, for victims of domestic violence. In 2022, Single Parents Rock provided emergency services for 242 victims by placing them in a more stable transitional location or providing necessary advice and information. SPR also has created a support group for victims and provides financial literacy classes to assist victims with budgeting and credit building. Funds will be used to buy a vehicle to transport victims of domestic violence, especially African-American females with children.

Denise Henton, Executive Director, (937) 469-8007