After 50 Years of Involvement, Chamberlain Stepping Away From Tipp City Foundation
Jesse Chamberlain saw the Tipp City Foundation grow from giving hundreds to thousands of dollars a year and expand its influence from primarily assisting the schools to touching nonprofit organizations across the community.
“The foundation has been a catalyst for the town,” said Chamberlain who joined the foundation as its secretary on Feb. 25, 1970, shortly after coming to town to work as a bank branch manager.
He will say goodbye to the foundation board service in March, marking 50 years of foundation involvement.
“Jess is a quiet man. He is also a student of the community around him. Don’t let his quiet demeanor bely his quick understanding of how the foundation’s impact has changed in those years,” said Heather Bailey of the foundation board.
Chamberlain’s foundation involvement began when he was asked by former foundation president Penny Finch to fill a vacancy in the foundation secretary position. As a newcomer to the community, he was looking for ways to meet people and develop the new bank branch.
“He said, ‘Would you like it?’ I said, ‘I have never been a secretary in my life. I don’t know how to start.’ He said, ‘We have one meeting a year,’” Chamberlain recalled.
He saw accepting the position as a way to meet people in the community.
The foundation at the time was “pretty small” with a few thousand dollars under its responsibility. “It was a real nice organization. It was kind of like a little family,” Chamberlain said.
“One of the nice things we did was we never had much money to delegate for grants so we would have a meeting one day and another day we would have a get together and take pictures of the check distributions,” he said.
The foundation primarily made grants to the schools for projects for several years. The scope of its involvement changed following the death of Helen Timmer, a foundation board member, who in 1987 left the foundation a check for $1 million. Miss Timmer directed that her money be used “to do the best for Tipp City and help its people,” according to meeting minutes prepared by Chamberlain.
“We became a different type of organization,” he said during a February interview. “Instead of hundreds, we could give thousands of dollars. We also diversified over the years where that money goes.”
The foundation board now meets quarterly to conduct the business of the foundation with about $6 million and a growing number of funds. Grants in 1970 totaled $1,500. This year, they will exceed $118,000.
The grants benefit nonprofits at work in Tipp City as well as Monroe and Bethel townships.
“I think we’ve made Tipp City a little more of a city because we did a lot of things for the school and we did a lot of things for community services and its work,” Chamberlain said. “It (the foundation) is one more thing that helps glue the town together.”
MAKE A DIFFERENCE
The Tipp City Foundation is a member fund of The Troy Foundation. You can make a difference with your dollars in our community by:
- Donating online here.
- Making your check payable to the Tipp City Foundation and mail to P.O. Box 626, Tipp City, OH 45371.
- Setting up a fund or legacy plan by contacting Heather Bailey at (937) 528-2482.
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