The decision was not a hard one for Charles Dater.
Philanthropic commitment to community had been a core value of the Dater family since the mid-1800s when the resources of immigrant Adam Dater, Charles's great grandfather, improved to the point that he could begin sharing his wealth with those less fortunate than him. Adam's son Gilbert continued the tradition, and a Cincinnati Public Schools high school is named in his honor. The life of Charles's father, Charles Henry Dater, ended prematurely, but he instilled in Charles the concept of sharing one's good fortune and wealth with others.
Hard work, keen investing, astute financial management, and a spiraling economy enabled Charles to grow his assets over the years. Charles established the Charles H. Dater Foundation in 1985, eight years before his death.
The mission of the foundation is to make grants to non-profit organizations in the Greater Cincinnati area to carry out projects that benefit children in the areas of arts/culture, education, healthcare, social services and other community needs. Many Greater Cincinnati institutions and charities benefited from his generosity through the years, both before and after the establishment of the Foundation; but Charles insisted that his gifts be anonymous and unrecognized.
Charles's initial contribution to the Foundation was small, and grants totaled less than $10,000 in each of the first two years. His subsequent contributions and successful asset management by the Board of Directors/Officers grew the asset base to its present level of about $50 million, making it one of the largest private foundations in Ohio. Some 125 grants totaling $1,960,642 were made in fiscal year 2016-17.
When making grants, Foundation directors ask the question, "How many children will feel the impact our grant, and how deep will the impact be?" Directors review more than 300 grant applications annually and make about 100-plus grants. While some large grants and on-going grants have been made, the Foundation's median grant was $10,000 and average grant was about $15,000 in fiscal year 2016-17. The Foundation has awarded more than 2,900 grants totaling over $45 million to some 400 different organizations since its inception in 1985.
While acknowledging Charles Dater's desire for anonymity, directors of the Dater Foundation are also mindful that making others aware of Charles' generosity and continuing work of the Foundation that he established can encourage the growth of philanthropy in the community. The Dater Foundation has no full-time staff. Officers and directors take an active role in the work of the Foundation. They perform the work of staff, including reviewing grant requests, making site visits, monitoring grant awards, and exercising fiduciary responsibility. Board members/officers have a wide range of business, financial and community involvement experience. The Board meets monthly.
The Foundation is eager to consider grants, but encourages potential grant applicants to carefully review the Grants section of this web site to determine if their grant request fits the established criteria.