Miriam Rosenthal died in 1965 but her love of the arts in Dayton, thankfully, didn’t. Her torch was picked up and carried on by a group of Dayton’s most prominent citizens, under the leadership of Robert S. Oelman (NCR), David Rike (Rike’s) and Eugene Kettering. They organized a memorial trust to honor her and foster her interest in the cultural life of the Dayton community.
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.
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. The Trust Committee members took an active role during these years in selecting those investment vehicles that would allow for growth of the fund as well as income to meet the Trust’s funding objectives.
Support for the Dayton Opera’s annual operating budget was added in the mid-1970s.
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. As the cultural life of the Dayton community prospered throughout the 1980s, the Foundation began looking more closely at the area’s artistic requirements and its own ability to meet those needs.
The Foundation responded to this new momentum by continuing its unrestricted general operating support and strengthening its efforts to underwrite select projects that would help make even more cultural activities available to the Dayton community.
By the 1990s, the Foundation’s support went almost exclusively to special projects through grants and underwriting. Then, as now, the Board looked for projects that would have significant impact on the community and might not happen if a special source of funding wasn’t secured.
Today, the Foundation Board continues to support opportunities to truly define Dayton as a cultural community and to help preserve and perpetuate a Dayton treasure—the Arts.