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Supporting Community Needs Through the Years: A History of Greater Toledo Community Foundation

Inspiring and Connecting Thoughtful Giving > Strength in Giving. Hope in Action.

Greater Toledo Community Foundation is the community foundation serving the Toledo region, including northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan with a particular emphasis on the greater Toledo area. Since 1973, Greater Toledo Community Foundation has worked with individuals, families and businesses, assisting them in making effective choices that match their philanthropic interests and needs while creating a better community for generations to come.

What, exactly, is a Community Foundation?

Waterville Community Foundation Scholarship awards

The Foundation provides a variety of arrangements through which citizens may donate gifts in any amount to meet the changing needs of the community. In general, only the investment earnings are used for grantmaking purposes, leaving the principal intact in perpetuity. In this way, we are building a permanent endowment to support community needs in areas such as social services, the arts, education, neighborhood and urban affairs, natural resources and physical and mental health.

In addition to that of responsive grantmaker, the Foundation plays a variety of other civic roles such as educator, catalyst or convener on key community issues and makes available the expertise of its professional staff to a wide range of community efforts.

The Foundation is governed by a 16-member Board of Trustees composed of community and business leaders, and managed by a staff recognized for its expertise in specific program areas.

In 1973, Greater Toledo Community Foundation came to life and began to grow. It was many years earlier, however, that the idea of a community foundation was introduced by local banks and a Toledo businessman who cared deeply about the future of our community.

In the late 1920’s, representatives of local banks worked together to complete all of the legal work necessary to form a community foundation. In doing so, these individuals envisioned an organization that would one day steward the charitable wishes of many different citizens and perpetually benefit the Toledo area.

Walter E. Terhune, who then owned the local lumber company of Clarke and Terhune, shared that vision and made provisions for the financing that would one day allow this organization (which existed only on paper) to become an active, vibrant part of the community. Through a trust created before he died, Mr. Terhune left his lumber fortune to support his daughter – Alice Crosby Terhune – during her lifetime. The trust provided that, upon Alice’s death, a portion of his estate was to go to Greater Toledo Community Foundation.

Toledo Day Nursery

Alice Crosby Terhune, who lived in Toledo all her life, passed away in the early 1970s. In 1973, $145,000 from her father’s trust – created 45 years earlier – established the Walter E. Terhune Fund, the first grantmaking endowment of Greater Toledo Community Foundation.

During that first year, $1,425 in grants were made to support local charitable projects. From this initial gift, your community foundation has grown and flourished to what it is today.

Since 1973, generous donors have created more than 1,000 funds, which today have a combined market value of approximately $412 million. Cumulative grants to support charitable projects over 48 years have totaled more than $269 million, with approximately $17 million granted in 2020 alone.

Our Mission

Toledo Community Foundation, Inc., dba Greater Toledo Community Foundation, is a public, charitable foundation which exists to improve the quality of life in the region by:

Providing a flexible, informed, effective means for donors to achieve their charitable goals in perpetuity;

Addressing the changing needs of the region through efficient, prudent, high impact grantmaking;

Serving as a source of information about and as a catalyst in shaping the region’s response to those needs; and

Facilitating the work of other grantmaking organizations in order to achieve effective and efficient grantmaking practices.

Our Core Values

At Greater Toledo Community Foundation we value innovation, integrity, excellence and teamwork

Embrace innovation

  • Address the changing needs of the region through efficient, high impact grantmaking
  • Serve as a source of information and as a catalyst in shaping the region’s response to those needs

Act with integrity

  • Strive to uphold high ethical standards
  • Dependable, trustworthy and honest
  • Remain sensitive and responsive to donor intent

Ensure quality and excellence

  • Provide professional services to donors and our community
  • Aspire to the highest level of excellence in our products and services

Build teamwork

  • Remain committed to achieving common goals through teamwork
  • Facilitate the work of other grantmaking organizations in order to achieve effective and efficient grantmaking practices
  • Foster collaborative relationships with mutual respect
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