Our Work in Dayton

To national audiences, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute is known as an influential education-policy think tank with a two-decades-long commitment to reforming elementary and secondary schools, particularly through the combination of higher standards and greater parental choice.

In Dayton, Ohio, however, our roots go deeper. Here, local leaders may know that Thomas B. Fordham was a prominent industrialist in the 1930s and 40s—the onetime head of GM’s Frigidaire division and a successful supplier of essential wartime materiel. They may also know that the Fordham Foundation—created by Fordham’s widow, Thelma Fordham Pruett, in 1959—made grants to support good works in Dayton and vicinity for almost four decades, until her passing in 1996.

In 1997, the trustees of the Fordham Foundation re-launched the organization with a focus on school reform, both nationally and in Dayton. Over the past seventeen years, our work in the Gem City has centered on expanding education options for disadvantaged children. We played a central role in launching Parents Advancing Choice in Education (PACE), which spearheaded private-school choice for Dayton families and we have made many grants to education-related organizations. In 2005, we became a charter-school sponsor (aka “authorizer”). Our sponsorship operation, based in Dayton, today serves over 3,200 students in eleven schools statewide, including DECA Prep and Dayton Leadership Academies.

Our work in Dayton focuses on three areas: sponsoring charter schools, standards reviews for high poverty schools, and philanthropy.

Opening a Charter School in Dayton
We know from our own analyses of state reported student outcomes that there are too many underperforming schools serving high poverty students in Dayton. One of our priorities is to recruit high performing charter schools and networks to the city. As a sponsor, we have been ranked “Exemplary”, the state’s highest rating, for our sponsorship work. This status may enable us to offer incentives to high performers interested in establishing schools in the city. Our 2016 charter school application cycle is currently underway. Schools and/or networks interested in opening in Dayton under Fordham’s sponsorship can view our sponsorship application here, and should contact Kathryn Mullen Upton at 937-227-3368 to learn more.

Free Curriculum Reviews for High-Poverty Elementary Schools in Montgomery County
The common denominator of the work of Foundation’s Dayton office is to support significant improvements in educational outcomes for children in Montgomery County’s high poverty schools.

As part of our efforts in the Dayton area, the Foundation is offering to provide free English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum reviews for a select number of high-poverty elementary schools in Montgomery County. We believe this work is especially important given Ohio’s transition to its new Learning Standards (i.e., the Common Core), as well as its new Third Grade Reading Guarantee. Detailed information on this initiative is available here.

Philanthropy
Since 1959, we have supported educational institutions and education-related work in the Dayton area. Please see below for a list of recent grant recipients. Organizations wishing to inquires about funding may contact our Dayton office at (937) 227-3368.

2011

Alliance Community Schools

Dayton Foundation

National U.S. Air Force Museum Foundation

Omega Community Development Corporation

Seedling Foundation


2012

Business Alliance for Education

Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School

Dayton Public Schools

First Baptist Church of Dayton

Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges

Omega Community Development Corporation

Teach for America

University of Dayton

University of Dayton - Learn to Earn Dayton


2013

Air Camp

Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School

Dayton Foundation - Learn to Earn Dayton

Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges

Seedling Foundation

Teach for America

University of Dayton - Learn to Earn Dayton

 

2014

Air Camp

Alliance Community Schools

Dayton Foundation - Dr. David Ponitz Completion Scholarship at Sinclair Community College

Montgomery County College Promise

Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges

University of Dayton - Ready Set Soar

Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio

 

2015

Air Camp

Dayton Public Schools

East End Community Services

Teach for America