2020-2021 Year in Review

2020-21 was The Charles H. Dater Foundation’s 36th year of grantmaking, awarding 165 grants totaling $5,270,000 to 142 nonprofit organizations.

Click here for a One-Page Annual Report At A Glance


Since 1985-86, the Foundation has made over 3,300 grants totaling more than $61 million to over 450 organizations.  In the fiscal/grant year (September to August) of 2020-21, grants ranged from $10,000 to $500,000.  The average grant was $31,939 and the median grant was $25,000.

Grantmaking increased ...

$300,000 (6.0%) in 2020-21, completing the phase-in of the impact on the required distribution from a large 2017-18 contribution from a trust of Charles Dater,  and (2) due to additional contributions made in response to increased community need as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

ICovid challenges continued ....

to dominant life for nonprofit organizations that struggled in trying to deliver programming and services to their stakeholders.  Disruption was the norm for virtually every grant recipient.  Some closed or reduced programming temporarily.  Revenue streams were disrupted … especially for those that relied on admissions, fees, and events like golf outings and galas.  The arts were especially hard hit.  Alternate methods of programming were adopted when in-person contact with stakeholders was not possible.  Many shifted to “virtual” programming with varying degrees of success.  Some found successful new ways to deliver their programs and indicated they will use alternative methods in the future.  Others struggled with reduced participation due to crowd avoidance, distancing, staffing shortages or changes.  Some programs were canceled altogether.

The Foundation’s focus …

remained on supporting many long-time grant recipients.  A second round of Covid Relief Special Grants were made …  twenty-plus grants of $25,000 to previously-funded Dater grant recipients working on the front lines providing life-sustaining and relief services.  Grantees were given discretion and latitude to use grant awards to continue traditional programming or make revisions to accommodate Covid restrictions.

A major capital grant of $500,000 was made to the Freestore Foodbank for its $30 million Growing Beyond Hungar campaign.  A new facility will significantly expand the organization's capacity to serve community members experiencing food insecurity.

Freestore Foodbank and Starfire joined nine other nonprofits which have received more than $1 million in support from the Foundation.  The others are Greater Cincinnati Foundation (mini-grants programs Learning Links and Summertime Kids), Cincinnati Public Radio (programming on WGUC and WVXU), Cincinnati Zoo (capital projects), Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation (scholarships to Gilbert Dater High School graduates), Taft Museum of Art (youth education), Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (research), CISE (Catholic Inner-city Schools Education Fund), Children’s Theatre (school performances), and Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati.

Assets were at $135 million at fiscal year end (August 31, 2021).  Grantmaking is funded solely by the contributions of the late Charles Dater and the investment growth of assets.  The Foundation does not generate revenues through programs or contributions.  In general, the Foundation’s grantmaking is slightly above the required distribution level in keeping with its long-term goal of protecting and growing the asset base in order to exist in perpetuity.  This also serves to preserve the philanthropic commitment and the memory of Charles Dater and four generations of the Dater family.

Promoting its grant recipients …

and the work that they do remained a priority for the Foundation.  Foundation grants to Cincinnati Public Radio (WGUC & WVXU) and CET Public Media Connect (WCET-TV) provided the opportunity to use broadcast announcements to salute grant recipients, thereby helping increase their visibility and attract additional support.  The Foundation’s web site continued to feature success stories and photos of grant recipients, helping to further spread the word about these nonprofit organizations.  News releases announcing new grants were posted regularly.  The annual report section on the web site allowed for descriptions of the grant recipients and the programs or projects funded by the Foundation. 
Grant applicants continued to give high marks to the Foundation’s web-based, online grant application process.  The user-friendly system is designed to reduce time spent by applicants in preparing and submitting requests and evaluation reports.  The process also allows Foundation directors to be more thorough and effective in reviewing applications, evaluations and other documents, which applicants may attach to their submissions.  The Foundation’s web site features detailed information about its grantmaking process.

Enriching Young Lives …

is what the Foundation is all about.  The mission: to make grants to nonprofit organizations in the Greater Cincinnati area to carry out projects and programs that benefit children, teens and young adults, focusing in the areas of arts/culture, education, healthcare, social services and other community needs.

Charles H. Dater (1912 to 1993) …

businessman, philanthropist a fourth generation Cincinnatian, established the Foundation in 1985 to ensure that funding for worthwhile community programs would continue after his death.  The Foundation honors the memory and preserves the philanthropic commitment of Charles and his ancestors, whose hard work and business acumen over 150 years provided them with the opportunity to share their success with their community.
Directors and officers play an active role in the work of the Foundation, which has no full-time staff members.  Besides typical board oversight duties, they perform the work of staff, which includes: reviewing hundreds of grant requests each year, making site visits to current and potential grant recipients, monitoring how grant dollars are spent, seeking new grant applicants whose goals coincide with those of the Foundation, and overseeing the management, growth and preservation of the Foundation’s assets.

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