June 15, 2010

The Dayton Foundation Mourns the Passing of Our Largest Donor to Date, Virginia Bernthal Toulmin

The Dayton Foundation is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Virginia B. Toulmin, a longtime resident and friend of our community and The Dayton Foundation, an exceptional businesswoman and widow of international patent attorney Harry Aubrey Toulmin, Jr. "She was a truly remarkable woman and philanthropist, with an exceptionally kind and generous nature," said Michael M. Parks, president of The Dayton Foundation.

"She leaves behind for the benefit of Greater Dayton, where she happily lived for 41 years," he said, "the largest philanthropic legacy and ultimately unrestricted gift ever received by The Dayton Foundation to use for the good of others in perpetuity. Characteristic of Virginia was her modest nature that shunned the spotlight and naming opportunities. She just wanted to do good, and we will make sure that her Foundation fund serves the good that marked the way she lived her life, a fitting and lasting tribute to her.

For a person whose formal education and experience was in nursing, not business, it was completely remarkable how she took over a $l million pharmaceutical company her husband owned when he died in 1965 and grew it into a corporation that when it was sold in 1995, was reported to be worth $178 million. Then she used this wealth to grow so much good for others.

Virginia told us some time back what Dayton meant to her and her husband. She said, 'Harry and I had a very happy life together in Dayton. He grew up in the region and made a very successful living here. We owe Dayton something in return. I'm so glad to be doing this for the community that was so good to Harry and me.' She was a true philanthropist in the deepest meaning of the word. She recognized that not everyone could give what she was able to give, but she always would say that everyone can do something. 'Even if you can't afford to give money,' she said, 'you can give love.' Virginia gave both. She will be missed very much."

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File date: 9.17.14


Fred Setzer

“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. The Dayton Region might look very different were it not for the Foundation and its nearly 3,000 donors and their charitable funds.” – Fred Setzer, Jr., donor and former Governing Board chair

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