Wednesday, July 29, 2015

In The Spotlight: Middletown Community Foundation

Middletown Community Foundation Executive Director T. Duane Gordon presents Addie Kiser with a book in appreciation of her donation of her first communion gifts to the Middletown Community Foundation.

Guest blogger: Duane Gordon

Sometimes the significance of a gift isn’t measured in its size or the size of the giver. Sometimes small gifts touch the heart more than a big check, and sometimes these small gestures generate positive coverage that your program otherwise wouldn’t have received.

One of our best stories at the Middletown Community Foundation affiliate of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Middletown, Ohio, came from a compassionate young man who became our youngest-ever donor and has begun a legacy of giving back.

Logan Kiser’s parents, John and Avinne, tried to instill in their children a sense of responsibility to help others, but they didn’t really understand the impact they had made in this area until their 8-year-old son asked to give away the money he received as a gift in honor of his first communion. He attends a Catholic elementary school and initially wanted to help kids who had trouble affording meals in the cafeteria, but he soon found the school already had a donor taking care of that need. Then his attention turned to the books his little brother received every month.

“My brother Grant is always so excited when he gets those books,” Logan said of the monthly gift that Dolly and the Middletown Community Foundation made possible for their family. “I thought it would be really neat to help other kids get them, too.”

So he took the $50 he collected in first communion gifts, his parents matched it with another $50, and a family friend matched the entire contribution with another $100, resulting in a total gift of $200 to buy 100 books for local children last year.

Asked why he didn’t want to use the money to buy something for himself, he said simply: “I’ve already got enough stuff.”

We wanted to recognize his enthusiasm and selflessness, so we contacted the mayor, who issued a proclamation making it Logan Kiser Day, and the local daily newspaper published a wonderfully heartwarming story that drew welcome attention to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and the Community Foundation. 

Middletown, Ohio, Mayor Larry Mulligan presents a proclamation to Logan Kiser declaring it Logan Kiser Day in appreciation of his donation of his first communion gifts to the Middletown Community Foundation affiliate of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

But the story didn’t end there. A year later, his little sister, Addie, chose to make a donation through the Community Foundation to a local summer camp for underprivileged youth with the money collected from her first communion gifts, which allowed us to celebrate a mayoral proclamation of Addie Kiser Day and another story in the newspaper.

Logan also joined his sister on her day to repeat his initial $50 gift to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which his parents again matched and the family friend again matched to total another $200 to buy another 100 books for local kids this year.

We can’t wait to see what their little brother, Grant, chooses to do in another couple of years!

About the Foundation: The Middletown Community Foundation serves approximately 110,000 residents of northeast Butler County and northwest Warren County within the greater Cincinnati metropolitan area in Ohio. Founded in 1976, it currently has more than $30 million in charitable assets and provides more than $2 million per year in support to the local community in the form of grants and scholarships. More than $1 million per year in funding assists students with furthering their college education, about $500,000 is granted to local charities through a competitive application process for local projects, and more than $500,000 is distributed from restricted funds where the donor has directed how the funds are to be spent. The Middletown-area affiliate of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has been operated by the Middletown Community Foundation for six and a half years, in that time distributing more than 130,000 books to over 6,000 local children. Its current enrollment of about 3,000 children makes it a close second to Greene County as the largest affiliate of Dolly’s Library in Ohio. Since inception, entering kindergarten literacy scores have been monitored with the area’s largest school district, indicating that children who receive Imagination Library books in Middletown score on average 8 percent higher on these assessments than those whose parents do not enroll their families for the books.