Pages Menu

Our Foundation History

Following Miriam Rosenthal’s death in 1965, a group of Dayton’s most prominent citizens, under the leadership of Robert S. Oelman (NCR), David Rike (Rike’s) and Eugene Kettering, organized a memorial trust fund to honor her and to perpetuate her interest in the cultural life of the community.

Major contributors to the creation of the Fund were: Frank G. Anger, Edward Breen, Simon Burick, Dayton Clearinghouse Association, James M. Cox Foundation, Dayton Malleable Foundation, Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library Staff Association, Dayton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra Parents Association, Dayton Power and Light Company, Max Frankel, Good Samaritan Hospital, The Kettering Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Kohnle, The Kuntz Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas E. Maher, Mead Corporation, Mrs. George Mead, Metropolitan Company, Mr. and Mrs. I.E. Migliaccio, Monarch Marking, NCR Foundation, Price Brothers Foundation, Rike Family Foundation, Rike-Kumler Company Foundation, Sol Rosenthal, Sherman-Standard Register Foundation, Dr. and Mrs. Irwin Siegel, Mrs. H.R. Simonds, Frank M. Tait Foundation, Joseph Thal Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Thompson, and WAVI Broadcasting Corporation.

Once the initial trust documents were finalized, a Trust Committee (now Foundation Board) was formed to oversee the operations of the Trust and to make charitable contributions to cultural organizations. Serving on the initial Trust Committee were: Frank G. Anger (Secretary), Simon Burick, Anthony Haswell, Eugene W. Kettering (Vice-Chairman), John D. O’Brien, Robert S. Oelman (Chairman), David L. Rike, Sol Rosenthal, James M. Stuart, and Joseph Thal.

In its developing years (1965-1975) the Trust Committee concentrated on building principal while maintaining the Fund’s initial objective of assisting the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and the Dayton Civic Ballet (now Dayton Ballet) in balancing their annual operating budgets. It took a few years for memorial pledges fully to be collected. The Trust Committee members took an active role during these years in selecting those investment vehicles that would allow for growth of the corpus as well as income to meeting the Trust’s funding objectives. Support for the Dayton Opera’s annual operating budget was added in the mid-1970s.

The Grant Program

Since its inception, the intent of the Foundation has been to honor Miriam Rosenthal through continuing support of the community’s cultural life. That support has taken many forms: general operating grants to performing arts organizations; one-time debt-reduction grants; seed money for new programs and organizational enhancements; and underwriting for special projects. With these varying options, the Board has made a concerted effort to impact the maintenance and growth of Dayton’s major cultural organizations while also encouraging projects that enrich the community’s cultural offerings.

Assessing The Need

As the cultural life of the Dayton community prospered in both quantity and quality throughout the 1980s, the Foundation began looking more closely at both the area’s artistic requirements and its own ability to meet those needs. An outgrowth of the 1970s was the creation of a united arts fund that brought about wider public awareness of the unique annual operating requirements of cultural organizations. The Foundation responded to this new momentum by continuing its unrestricted general operating support while strengthening its efforts to underwrite select projects that would help make even more cultural activities available to the community.

A Special Source of Support

By the 1990s, the Foundation’s support went almost exclusively to special projects. Then, as now, the Board looked for projects that would not simply have significant impact on the community, but for projects that might happen only if a special source of funding were secured. Today, the Miriam Rosenthal Foundation for the Arts Board continues Miriam Rosenthal’s original vision of supporting artists and arts experiences to truly define Dayton as a cultural community. The needs of the cultural community as well as the response options of the Foundation are reviewed continually.

Grant Application Process

Grant requests are reviewed twice yearly. All grant applications must be submitted in a timely fashion using this form. Applicants are encouraged to plan somewhat long-range, as funding for approved grants is available six months or later from the date of application. Only not-for-profit, incorporated organizations whose primary purpose is that of presenting and/or producing cultural programming are eligible for funding. Grant reporting requirements, including financial and project accounting, are strict. Other funding restrictions and opportunities may be found in the grant application package.