September 9, 2010

One of Greater Dayton’s Largest Charitable Gifts Passes to The Dayton Foundation at Over $26 Million

Virginia B. ToulminThe Dayton Foundation announced today the receipt of the largest single gift in the Foundation’s 89-year history-the legacy gift of Virginia Bernthal Toulmin. The gift of more than $26 million is over 30 percent higher than originally anticipated. This is among the very largest gifts made in recent decades to any charitable organization in the Greater Dayton Region and is expected to be among the largest philanthropic gifts nationally in 2010.

The gift endows the Harry A. Toulmin, Jr., and Virginia B. Toulmin Fund of The Dayton Foundation, an unrestricted fund to be utilized by the Foundation where community need or opportunity is greatest in the Greater Dayton Region today and in perpetuity.

"A true philanthropist in every respect, Virginia Toulmin selflessly shared her many gifts with others in need throughout her lifetime. This remarkable gift to our community will perpetuate her lifelong passion for helping others and make possible the increasing of The Dayton Foundation’s unrestricted grantmaking by roughly $1 million a year to our region’s nonprofit organizations and leadership initiatives important to our region’s vitality and future," said Dayton Foundation President Michael M. Parks.

"Grants from the Toulmin fund will carry their name for generations to come and will have a profound impact on our community," he said. "We couldn't be more appreciative of Virginia and her future-thinking and very generous nature. She never sought recognition-she only wanted to do good. We are so thankful to her for this extraordinary gift."

According to Virginia Toulmin’s longtime financial advisor, Kevin L. McDonald, Vice President and Trust Officer for KeyBank, "Virginia and Harry lived happily in Dayton for many years. She wanted to give something back to the community that gave so much to her and her husband. Harry was an international patent attorney and son of the famed attorney who secured and defended the Wright Brothers' patent for their flying machine. Virginia was trained as a nurse and became an amazing businesswoman after Harry passed away. Her success in business and investments made it possible to leave this incredible gift for the benefit of Greater Dayton. She also clearly had great trust in The Dayton Foundation, its stewardship and ability to carry out her charitable wishes."

According to Mike Parks, what makes the Toulmin gift even more special is that it was left without restrictions, enabling The Dayton Foundation wide latitude to act on opportunities that can generate the greatest community impact. "Nonprofit organizations wanting to apply for a grant that will come from the Toulmin fund should simply use The Dayton Foundation’s existing discretionary grantmaking application process." This begins by checking out the grantmaking guidelines and application process on the Foundation’s website, at

Mrs. Toulmin believed in unrestricted giving, saying once, "Giving unrestricted funds is a wonderful idea that everyone should consider. Harry always said that one shouldn't try to dictate from the grave. If an organization’s management is good and strong, give them an unrestricted gift. They can decide how best to use it long after you have passed away."

"Virginia was a truly kind person who took real pleasure in simply helping others," Mike Parks concluded. "Now The Dayton Foundation is honored to help her and her husband to continue helping others for decades to come. They will be long remembered."

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File date: 9.15.14


Caryl Philips

“I like the idea my fund will be here long afer I'm gone, that Foundation people who care about the community will take care of them in perpetuity. I like that we're doing what people before us did, passing on something for the community’s future.” – Caryl Philips, Emeritus Governing Board Member and Foundation donor since 2001

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