DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Dayton Foundation is celebrating its centennial; for 100 years, it’s supported the community, making sure agencies are getting the resources they need through the establishment of charitable funds.

“Our mission is to help those who want to help others in our community,” states Mike Parks, President of The Dayton Foundation.

To mark the centennial, the Dayton Foundation will be pumping donations into local causes and organizations.

“As we celebrate our anniversary, we have invited 100 of the individuals that have set up funds at The Foundation to make gifts back to the community, to charities of their choice in honor of the Foundation’s 100,” describes Parks.

The Dayton Foundation started with John Patterson and his family as the initial donors in 1921. Since it’s early beginnings, it’s grown to nearly 4,000 organizations and groups of people who’ve set up charitable funds.

“It’s a matter of knowing what’s going on and where our resources will do the most good,” says Jeanne Holihan, The Dayton Foundation’s Vice President of Operations. “We’re a grant making organization. We issue grants to nonprofits in our community.”

In the last century, it’s surpassed one billion dollars in grants to nonprofits. While grant work is ongoing, some of its most significant work came in the last 18 months.

“If there’s any silver lining, throughout the last year, we’ve learned how to pivot and really focus on the needs of the community,” states Holihan.

It started with tornado relief efforts , working collaboratively with nonprofits to help people recover. The Dayton Foundation was there again after tragedy struck the Oregon District and a mass shooting claimed nine innocent lives. It was there again for the community when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

“As a perpetual organization, it’s all about being nimble and being flexible and to respond to whatever the needs are in the community. Unfortunately, over the last 18 months, Dayton has been challenged. We had tornadoes We had the shootings. We’ve now got COVID,” states Parks. “The Foundation is honored to play a small part in helping our community recover. Those are just examples of the flexibility that’s required as we respond to needs in our community.”

The work is far from finished, as it’s ready to continue serving the community for the next 100 years.

“We’re looking toward racial equity and supporting that effort, continuing to support agencies through the COVID pandemic, and really working on what is important to the community,” says Holihan. “Dayton is a small but mighty community, and we’re here to support that community and hopefully find what makes us best in the years to come.”