Donor Stories from the The Dayton Foundation’s 2007-2008 Annual Report

Dr. Soma and Veni Avva: Changing Lives Through Philanthropy and Service

Karen and Kevin Crotty: Sharing One's Blessings with Others

Shaun and Susan Nicholson: Giving Others a Chance

Jane and Fred C. Setzer, Jr.: A Passion for Strengthening Community

Diane Staub: Everyone Can Be a Philanthropist


Dr. Soma and Veni Avva: Changing Lives Through Philanthropy and Service

Dr. Soma and Veni AvvaIt’s a long way from Kurnool, India, to Dayton, but the Avvas made a journey 34 years ago that led Soma Avva, M.D., to establish his reconstructive/ plastic surgery practice in this community.

In Harrison Twp. they have raised a family and established roots in their chosen country and community. Their strong sense of community commitment led them to be among the very early Charitable Checking AccountSM donors of The Dayton Foundation and more recently, endowment fund donors to aid the Foundation in supporting health issues in the Dayton region.

The Dayton Foundation has helped them by making it “so easy for us to give,” Soma Avva said, from assisting United Way, the Samaritan Health Foundation and The Dayton Foundation’s community work, among others, to helping to build the Hindu Temple, the first Hindu temple in a three-state area.

Philanthropy is a natural part of the Indian culture, according to Veni Avva, who also grew up in Kurnool. “Soma’s father would bring people in and feed them, even when his resources were very meager,” she said. “My older brother also put poor children through grade school and college and used his retirement funds to build an old-age home,” Soma Avva added. “The Hindu religion says that the best way to serve God is to serve humankind.”

“The Hindu religion says that the best way to serve God is to serve humankind,” said Soma Avva, M.D., a Dayton Foundation donor and 2008-2009 “I Believe!” Partner.

Soma Avva has practiced this as much as possible, not only through his and his wife’s philanthropy, but also as a volunteer surgeon. He has made six, volunteer mercy missions to date, to Honduras and southern India to do reconstructive surgery on children and adults with cleft lips and palates, burns and other deformities.

“It changes a life,” he said. “Children with these deformities are hidden away and ridiculed when they go out. Many underprivileged in developing countries have no access to care as they would in this country. You can see the happiness in the children’s and parents’ eyes when the surgery is done – they tell you from their heart. I hope to do more of these missions, now that I’m retired. It is a small thing I can do.”

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Karen and Kevin Crotty: Sharing One's Blessings with Others

Karen and Kevin CrottyBlessed with a loving and supportive family, Springboro residents Karen S. and Kevin M. Crotty see their charitable giving as a family affair.

“Sharing with our adult children our love of giving, particularly to organizations that help families in need, is very meaningful,” Karen Crotty said. “Strengthening families – it’s what we’re most passionate about.”

Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley is one such organization that has benefited from the Crotty’s generosity. Kevin Crotty, a longtime trustee, admires the organization’s work to aid individuals locally and worldwide through adoption programs, refugee assistance and food pantries.

“It's important to keep the community moving forward.... This means helping our neighbors in need,” said Kevin Crotty, Dayton Foundation donor and 2008-2009 “I Believe!” Partner.

“People are struggling to survive, including many in our own backyard,” he said. “Catholic Social Services helps give them a fresh start in life. I’m glad to help them in their mission.”

Born and raised in the Greater Dayton Region, Kevin Crotty believes Dayton is a good place, with hard working, generous people.

“It’s important to keep the community moving forward, especially now as Dayton works to find a new identity,” he said. “This means helping our neighbors in need. Our Dayton Foundation funds help us to do this.”

Karen Crotty agrees. “Giving back is a way of recognizing our good fortune and sharing it with the community that helped us along the way,” she said. “What better place to give than in our own community.”

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Shaun and Susan Nicholson: Giving Others a Chance

Shaun and Susan NicholsonBeavercreek residents Susan and Shaun P. Nicholson are passionate about three things – family, community and church. They have combined their love for each through charitable giving and by volunteering through their church for Interfaith Hospitality Network, which responds to the needs of homeless families.

“There are so many families, particularly mothers with young children, who are uncomfortable going to a shelter,” said Shaun Nicholson, senior vice president-investments for UBS Financial Services, Inc. “By providing a temporary home, food and support, we’re helping them get back on their feet.”

Helping individuals and organizations who desperately need their help is part of the Nicholsons’ philosophy of giving and why they include their daughters in their volunteer efforts. “It puts their lives into perspective,” Susan Nicholson said. “Knowing that a few minutes of your time or a few dollars has changed a life is very gratifying.”

“Knowing that a few minutes of your time or a few dollars has changed a life is very gratifying,” said Susan Nicholson, Dayton Foundation donor and 2008-2009 “I Believe!” Partner.

“It’s also what makes a community strong, which is why we chose to use our Dayton Foundation Charitable Checking AccountSM to help us organize our giving, whether it’s to our church or other charities,” Shaun Nicholson added.

“The Foundation has a pulse on our region’s needs and offers options for anyone who gives to charity.”

A community is only as strong as its weakest link, according to the Nicholsons. “It’s easy to sit back and let others do the work,” Susan Nicholson said, “but it’s so much more rewarding to take the plunge yourself.”

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Jane and Fred C. Setzer, Jr.: A Passion for Strengthening Community

Jane and Fred Setzer, Jr.For Kettering residents Jane and Fred C. Setzer, Jr., giving is something you simply do. “It’s what being a part of a community means,” Jane Setzer said.

A native Daytonian, Fred Setzer evolved Setzer Corporation from his family’s business. In 2002 he and his wife Jane established a Dayton Foundation charitable fund. He joined the Foundation’s Governing Board in 2001 and served as chair from 2006 to 2008.

“Few people understand The Dayton Foundation’s central role in numerous community efforts, including education, The Job Center, the Schuster Center and RiverScape, to name a few,” he said. “The Dayton region might look very different were it not for the Foundation and its nearly 3,000 donors and their charitable funds.

“The Dayton region might look very different were it not for The Dayton Foundation and its nearly 3,000 donors and their charitable funds,” said Fred C. Setzer, Jr., Dayton Foundation donor and Governing Board member and former chair. The Setzers also are 2008-2009 “I Believe!” Partners.

“The Foundation has a unique perspective as a community problem-solver and an ability to bring organizations together to tackle complex regional issues. In many ways, it is the eye of the community. But, because of its tradition of modesty, few understand its impact on Greater Dayton. I truly believe that the stronger The Dayton Foundation grows, the stronger our community will be.”

Through volunteerism, Fred Setzer learned the power of participation and giving back. For Jane Setzer, it was part of her South Carolina upbringing by her church and her parents. They instilled in her the importance of neighbors taking care of one another.

Fred Setzer’s greatest satisfaction has been through his volunteering on community boards and campaigns and through philanthropy. His leadership helped to bring the YMCA of Greater Dayton back from near-bankruptcy to a strong organization helping children and families – and the Setzers’ charitable fund has given him another way to contribute.

“To see the faces of inner-city children, who through scholarships were able to go to camps like the YMCA’s Camp Kern for the first time and experience nature…that makes me happy. My greatest wish is to make this region better for our grandchildren and others’ grandchildren. The Dayton Foundation helps us to do this.”

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Diane Staub: Everyone Can Be a Philanthropist

Diane StaubAfter graduating from college in 1950, Centerville resident Diane Staub wanted to try something different.

“At that time, women felt pressured into staying home and raising a family,” she said. “Thanks to various cherished teachers, I developed a love of writing, which led me to an interesting and satisfying career in journalism. I worked first for the Dayton Daily News and later in Illinois with the National Council of Teachers in English.”

Now retired, Diane Staub is enjoying her favorite hobbies, which include a passion for the arts – and for supporting them. She credits her elementary school music teacher for instilling in her a love of music at an early age.

“I’m not what others would call a donor with a capital ‘D’....That’s why I like The Dayton Foundation. They are not just for the elite,” said Centerville resident Diane Staub.

Diane, a former choral singer for the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and two orchestras in Illinois, as well as a longtime Dayton Contemporary Dance Company volunteer, believes that the arts make life “exciting and provide relief from daily stress. We’re fortunate to have so many outstanding arts organizations in Dayton. They desperately need our help. Supporting the arts through my Dayton Foundation Charitable Checking Account just makes sense.

“I’m not what others would call a donor with a capital “D” – people like Virginia Kettering, for example,” Diane continued. “That’s why I like The Dayton Foundation. They are not just for the elite. They can help anyone who wants to help their community. Giving makes me feel good. Unless you give back to your community, you’re really not part of your community. You’re just hanging around.”

For recent news and updates about The Dayton Foundation, read our press releases online.

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File date: 10.14.14

IN HER WORDS

Helen Jones-Kelley

“It’s important to me that my children understand just how much their actions can help others, and why they must give back some part of themselves to the community.”
– Helen Jones-Kelley, Governing Board member and donor, on the Helen and Tom Kelley Family Fund.

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