Our Foundation

The Rotary Club of Toledo, established in May 1912, created a charitable fund by 1915 when it began funding medical and educational services directed to crippled children in the Toledo area.  The charitable activities of the members of the Rotary Club of Toledo have a 100-year history!

The Toledo Rotary Club Foundation funds two types of grants: Traditional and Transformational. 

Since our 2012 Centennial, the Toledo Rotary Club Foundation has funded 110 non-profit groups for a total of $886,022.  Last year alone the Foundation funded 24 grants totaling $193,439!

Ongoing funding for the Toledo Rotary Club Foundation comes from Rotarians and community members. These dollars go directly to the charitable gifts the Foundation awards throughout the year. Over $200,000 is awarded annually through grants.

To donate to the Toledo Rotary Club Foundation, click here.

Traditional Grants

Traditional grants are the most common grants funded, and typically each year the Toledo Rotary Club Foundation funds approximately $200,000 in grants.  The Toledo Rotary Club Foundation funds grants exclusively to nonprofit, 501(c)3 tax-exempt organizations.

Transformational Project Grants

A Transformational Project is one that:

  • Affects abroad sector of the community (local, regional or global)
  • Has the overwhelming support of the Rotary Club of Toledo and has been designated and approved by the Club Board and Foundation Trustees,
  • Is likely to be a multi-year commitment and
  • Has a sustainable goal of making a significant, long-term, positive impact.

Transformational Projects 2022-2023


The City of Toledo is currently in the process of formalizing an opportunity for students in our region to receive universal access to pre-kindergarten education. The profound need for such an action is based on the data below:

65% of kindergarteners enter Toledo Public Schools testing developmentally behind on the Ohio Kindergarten Readiness Assessment.  Many never catch up, and the K-12 system must invest expensive resources in intervention, rather than education.

High-quality early childhood education programs have been shown to impact kindergarten readiness, elementary school reading levels, and overall life outcomes.

In recent years, efforts have been undertaken around the country to dramatically expand access to quality early childhood education (for example, Dayton, Denver, Washington, D.C., Cincinnati, Oklahoma).  There are 8,884 children ages 0-5 under the federal poverty line in the City of Toledo and 13,992 in Lucas County. Only a small percentage of these children are able to access high-quality early childhood education (defined as, programs ranking three to five stars in Ohio Step Up to Quality system). (2016 Lucas County Head Start Community Needs Assessment).

The City of Toledo has undertaken an initiative to explore the implementation of Universal Pre-K in Toledo along with major community partners, including United Way of Greater Toledo, Toledo Public Schools, ProMedica, and Toledo Community Foundation, among many others. To facilitate a thorough planning process, several partners sought a scope of work from a qualified consulting team with experience in Universal Pre-K planning and implementation. Linda Dunphy and Dr. Andrew Brodsky presented a scope of work that includes several elements: (1) Local needs assessment to refine an understanding of the service delivery gap (2) Research on successful Universal Pre-K models from other communities, with a focus on evidence-based approaches only; (3) Scenario modeling, including structure & program design elements for 3 to 5 potential models for Toledo; (4) Cost modeling; and (5) Refinement and selection of the local model.

The Rotary Club of Toledo, through its members, will work with local government, businesses, and organizations to advocate for universal pre-kindergarten education in our community.

Toledo Rotary will find additional partners to fund and participate in the exploration of the most effective ways to implement universal pre-K and help to organize the effort to make universal pre-k a reality in the Toledo area.

Toledo Rotary will commit up to $100,000 to promote and support universal pre-K and $10,000 will be immediately invested in the initial research study to evaluate the implementation of universal pre-k that has been commissioned by the Toledo Community Foundation and ProMedica, with the cooperation of other area supporters.  Based on the results of this research, Toledo Rotary will evaluate the best way to expend the additional $90,000.


Situation: Lead Poisoning has been recognized as one of the greatest environmental health risks facing children today. Those most at risk are children under four. Their brains are still developing and are easily damaged. They absorb 50% of the lead that they take into their bodies compared to adults who only absorb 10%. In older homes typically found in urban areas as many as 50% of the children have excessive lead in their bodies.  Pregnant women and those of childbearing age are at greater risk of passing on the effects of lead poisoning to their unborn children. In men, lead affects libido, fertility, and blood pressure. Unfortunately, there are few observable symptoms with lead poisoning and this contributes to it being a highly undiagnosed condition in both children and adults. It has been estimated that 90% of the prison population has had high exposure to lead. Lead poisoning is believed to cause lower IQ and brain damage in children.

The goal of the Project: Reduce lead exposure through encapsulation and abatement in homes in our community that were built before 1978. The project will concentrate on homes known to have lead paint and water pipes that have been identified as contributing to lead exposure to children. The good news is that the number of homes is finite since lead has not been used in paint since 1978. The goal is for Toledo homes to be lead-free by 2023. This can be achieved through a community effort of paid and volunteer workers who assist in identifying and correcting lead poisoning through encapsulation and education. Once the homes and individuals with high amounts of lead are identified the targeted remedies can be applied. At risk, individuals will be tested for lead levels. Once identified, then a corrective action plan will be initiated.

How the Toledo Rotary can be involved

Toledo Rotary will do the following:

  • Educate the community about lead poisoning prevention.
  • Promote the lead-free agenda of testing, identification, and action.
  • Collaborate with health, governmental and educational institutions to promote cost-effective ways of reducing lead poisoning in children.
  • Partner with other area service organizations on the Lead-Free by 2023 agenda.

The Rotary Club of Toledo, through its members, will work with local government, businesses, and organizations to form a coalition to advocate for the remediation and elimination of harmful lead exposure in homes and apartments in Toledo.  To this end, Toledo Rotary will help organize efforts to identify buildings with high levels of lead and individuals who may have been exposed.  Toledo Rotary will assist in coordinating a community effort of paid and volunteer workers and solicit in-kind contributions to remediate lead exposure through encapsulation, removal, or other cost-effective methods.  In addition, Toledo Rotary will collaborate with other organizations and individuals to educate the community about lead poisoning prevention and promote identification, testing, and possible treatment to homes identified as containing lead paint.


The Community’s Need

  • In 2014, a toxic algae bloom left 500,000 people without drinking water. In the last four years, the issue has been controlled, but the prominence of algae blooms has increased
  • Toledo Rotary’s involvement with the Northwest Ohio regional Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) water issue has moved through the initial steps of education through two regional water conferences
  • Toledo Rotary has participated in tours to the Blanchard River Watershed Demonstrations Farms, the Ohio State Stone Lab on Gibraltar Island
  • Toledo Rotary participated in wetlands reconstruction with the Black Swamp Conservancy

The Rotary Club of Toledo will continue its commitment to clean water through coordinated advocacy with other Rotary clubs in our district.  Specifically, Toledo Rotary will make a three-year commitment of $2,000 per year for assistance with transportation and the development of water advocacy talking points and training to enable Rotarians to influence the Ohio legislature and executive branch to implement legislation and regulations that assure the health of our state’s water systems.

Rotary’s involvement with the Northwest Ohio regional Harmful Algal Bloom water issue has so far moved through the initial steps of education (2 regional Water conferences) and outreach, tours to the Blanchard River Watershed Demonstration Farms and The Ohio State Stone Lab on Gibraltar Island and participation in wetlands reconstruction with the Black Swamp Conservancy.

The next step is to participate in using the power of Rotary to “influence” through advocacy with the Ohio state legislators and executive branch members who develop and implement the programs governing the health of our state waters. We have contacted Representative Theresa Gavarone of Wood County. She has expressed an interest in taking up the campaign to develop legislation for healthy water funding.

We anticipate that our Rotary Water Advocacy work will need to be sustained over several years until legislation is completed which ensures the reduction in nutrient loading committed to under Ohio’s agreement with Michigan and Ontario. That agreement commits to 20% nutrient reductions by 2020 and 40% reductions by 2025. The Rotary Water Advocacy concept has already been vetted with D6600 leadership and discussed at the District Advisory Committee quarterly meetings.   District Governor Maris Brenner is willing to help us engage member advocates from other clubs in the District to represent a broad cross-section of rural to urban clubs.