Donor Stories from the The Dayton Foundation’s 2010-2011 Annual Report

Scott E. Behnken: Involving Family in Giving

Gladys Turner Finney: A Lifelong Commitment to Advocacy

Kay A. George: Giving to Remember Loved Ones

Ellen S. & D. Jeffrey Ireland: A Passion for Giving

Scott E. Behnken: Involving Family in Giving

Scott Behnken and familySimilar to his great-grandfather, who built bridges to make traveling easier, Scott E. Behnken, president of Behnken Financial Services (founded by his father), helps his clients connect their financial goals to strengthen their security for the future. This often includes establishing charitable funds through The Dayton Foundation.

“Showing clients how they can be creative with their financial plans by including charitable gifts through the Foundation helps them give to causes they care about, reduce estate taxes and can even increase the value of their estates,” said Scott, who resides in Brookville and has offices in north and south Dayton. “It makes me feel that I am of value to my clients and reinforces my belief that it’s important to give to charity.”

“With all the uncertainty in our's good to know The Dayton Foundation is here for good,“ said Scott Behnken, a Dayton Foundation donor and 2011-2012 “I Believe!” Partner. Scott Behnken is pictured above on the right, with his son, Jason Freeman, and grandsons, Colin (top) and Gavin Freeman.

Giving to help others is second nature to Scott, who credits his parents with instilling this value in him as a young boy. “Every Sunday, dad would put something in the church collection plate,” Scott recalled. “It might have been only a few dollars, but it showed me that you can give what you’re comfortable with giving.”

As a financial planner, he has assisted dozens of clients in establishing charitable funds at The Dayton Foundation. His mother and father also established a deferred Foundation fund in their names that one day will be advised by Scott and his three brothers. It is no surprise that Scott chose to establish funds at the Foundation himself to perpetuate his family’s tradition of giving. In addition to having a Charitable Checking AccountSM and a deferred, designated fund through the Foundation, he has made plans to establish three deferred, endowed funds at the Foundation. One day each of his three children will advise one of these three funds.

“Mom and Dad both encouraged us to share our blessings with others,” Scott said. “How my kids choose to award grants from the funds will be up to them. This is an important experience that I hope they will continue by involving their children sometime in the future.”

As for utilizing The Dayton Foundation to fulfill his and his clients’ charitable goals, Scott is an enthusiastic supporter. “The Foundation makes giving so simple,” he said. “I also like the consistency of the Foundation. With all the uncertainty in our community and with longtime businesses closing, it’s good to know that The Dayton Foundation is here for good. It was established by the community for the community. They’re strong, and they do a good job.”

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Gladys Turner Finney: A Lifelong Commitment to Advocacy

Leona and Jane DunwoodieBorn in Arkansas, Gladys Turner Finney’s parents raised her as a Baptist, but enrolled her in Catholic school to give her a religious education. “The nuns always made us feel we were worthy children of God, which my parents also told me,” she said. “But in the context then of the South’s caste system, hearing this from people of another race had a great impact on my early aspirations.”

Her father had just a fourth-grade education, and her mother, a seventh, but they made sure Gladys had the best possible education. Eventually she made her way to Dayton for her first job after graduate school in social work. “I thought I was just passing through, but I fell in love with Dayton and stayed.“

When she recalls her life, it’s evident that everything revolves around her lifelong advocacy of people, especially those in need and those to whom an injustice has been done.

“Coming out of the Jim Crow South,” she said, “I came to believe that people I knew needed an advocate to speak up for them, which is how I chose social work. It focuses on the dignity and worth of all people and advocates on their behalf to help them change their conditions and their lives.”

“You can start small, and as your blessings and means increase, you can grow your giving,” said Gladys Turner Finney, a Dayton Foundation donor and 2011-2012 “I Believe!” Partner.

A retired social worker, her long career included serving as director of Social Work for then-Children’s Medical Center. Her belief in the power of education and social work brought her in 1998 to establish at The Dayton Foundation a scholarship fund that already has assisted 11 promising Wright State University social work students. “I hope to inspire them to go on for master’s degrees and to help prepare the next generation of social workers to be advocates for people.“

“I always wanted to leave a legacy of faith out of gratitude for the blessings I’ve received from God, my parents and others,” she said. In 2002 she established the Willis and Mary Bluford Turner Memorial Fund to honor the values her parents taught her around peace and justice.

“They gave me the great gifts of love and education,” she said. “I can’t repay that debt, but I can encourage others to support love, peace and justice in the world.”

“The Dayton Foundation and its African-American Community Fund are showing the community the inclusiveness of philanthropy, that it is not just for rich people, but for all of us at every level,” she said. “They’re teaching us that we all can give and collectively make a difference. Giving is symbolic of love. You can start small, and as your blessings and means increase, you can grow your giving. Start where you are. For so many people, all they need is a little help, a little encouragement. With that help, they can go on to do remarkable things.“

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Kay A. George: Giving to Remember Loved Ones

Kay GeorgeBehind every gift there is a story. For Centerville resident Kay A. George, grants awarded from her mother’s named endowment fund at The Dayton Foundation help her to tell the story of her mother, Theresa Teyber George.

“My mother was a loving and peaceful person,” said Kay George, a retired elementary teacher in the Dayton Catholic School system. “Both of my parents treated everyone with respect, kindness and generosity.”

Born in 1902 and raised in Dayton, Theresa George’s strong Catholic faith led her to do whatever was in her power to help someone in need. “When I was young, I remember her making bandages for soldiers during World War II or preparing meals for friends or family who were ill,” Kay said. “She was the go-to person when someone needed something. She was always happy to help.”

“It's wonderful to have such a respectable organization as The Dayton Foundation helping me to fulfill mom's charitable legacy,” said Kay George, a Dayton Foundation donor and 2011-2012 “I Believe!” Partner.

Before Theresa passed away in 2003 at the age of 100, she had made plans for a Dayton Foundation endowment fund that would continue her charitable gifts long after her lifetime. Now advised by her daughter, the fund has maintained its original value, while distributing grants totaling thousands of dollars to charitable causes.

Through these grants, Kay has found meaningful ways to honor both of her parents, while continuing to support the organizations her mother most cared about during her lifetime. These have included providing support for a college scholarship through the Dayton Catholic Women’s Club, where Theresa was a longtime member, and for the athletic department at the University of Dayton, Kay and her father’s alma mater.

Kay also funded art glass windows in the Reflection Room at the Dayton Heart & Vascular Hospital at Good Samaritan Hospital, one of Theresa’s favorite charities. “For years to come people with loved ones in the hospital will find peace in the room, thanks to those windows,” Kay said.

Kay believes deeply in following the example set by her parents and in her religious upbringing. “Catholicism teaches us to live not just for ourselves,” said Kay, who also has her own Charitable Checking AccountSM through the Foundation. “If you are in a position to help, it’s your responsibility. It’s wonderful to have such a respectable organization as The Dayton Foundation helping me to fulfill mom’s charitable legacy. She would have been very proud to know that her gifts were doing so much for her community.”

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Ellen S. & D. Jeffrey Ireland: A Passion for Giving

John E. Moore, Sr.Ellen and Jeff Ireland have deep roots in the Dayton community. They were friends at Oakwood High School, ventured away to different colleges, and eventually reconnected and were married. As young professionals, the importance of giving back to your community was solidified - a value they had learned while growing up.

“As we were establishing ourselves in the community and starting our family, we did not want to wait until ‘the time was right,’” Ellen explained. “Later, we wanted our daughters to understand why they should volunteer and help others.”

“It’s hard for me to imagine not giving,” Ellen said. “When I was in public accounting, I had clients who were very generous. They gave for the good of the community, not just for tax reasons. I still reflect on these people and appreciate the mark they made on my life.”

Jeff, a former Oakwood mayor, an attorney and founding partner of the law firm Faruki, Ireland & Cox, respects people who care deeply about the community - people like Clay Mathile and Fred Smith. “They are role models to those of us who want to do our part to make this a better place for others.“

“It's hard for me to imagine not giving. It's what we're here to do,” said Ellen Ireland, a Governing Board Member of The Dayton Foundation, endowment fund donor and 2011-2012 “I Believe!” Partner.

Jeff and Ellen are active leaders and volunteers with numerous organizations, especially in the areas of social services and education. Jeff has been a Salvation Army advisory board member for nearly 20 years. Ellen also is a member of The Dayton Foundation’s Governing Board.

Ellen reflected, “We chose to live in Dayton because of our families. The added benefit is that people here are warm, caring, approachable and show passion for community issues.” “The area has so much going for it,” Jeff said, “and it’s a great place to raise a family.”

Their Dayton Foundation charitable funds help them to serve their community philanthropically. They include Jeff’s parents’ fund, for which he is a fund advisor, Jeff and Ellen’s Charitable Checking AccountSM and their legacy fund, which includes an unrestricted portion.

“It is important to us that our small fund is part of the greater whole,” Ellen said. “Being among 3,000 Dayton Foundation fund holders, who over 90 years have helped award more than a half-billion dollars to charity, is wonderful. To have the chance to be part of the Foundation’s support for large community efforts through the unrestricted portion of our legacy fund - is really special.”

“Giving blesses you in many ways,” Ellen said. “It creates in you the capacity to think differently.” Jeff concurred, “It’s important, because it makes you a better person. I strongly believe that.”

Read more about The Dayton Foundation in our 2010-2011 Annual Report to the Community.

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

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File date: 10.14.14


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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