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. 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 5,000 students in eleven schools statewide, including The Dayton Early College Academy (DECA) and Dayton Leadership Academies.

Thomas B. Fordham Foundation Philanthropy


The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation has been involved in philanthropic work since 1959, through our support of educational institutions and education-related work. We believe our great nation needs, and deserves, great schools for all its children. We are committed to promoting educational excellence for every child in America through producing quality research, analysis, advocacy, and charter school authorizing in Ohio. We further hope to support education-based work and organizations in the Dayton area by providing grant opportunities.

This page provides information for interested grant applicants. If you are seeking funding from The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation please see the documents and information below that provide additional detail. Please feel free to contact our Dayton office at (937) 227-3368 with any questions you may have.  

The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation’s grant application must be completed via our online application management system, EpiCenter. We will not accept hardcopy and/or email applications. To obtain a login code for your application, please contact Marwa Berri at [email protected].

Guidelines and Eligibility

To be eligible for funding, your organization must meet the following criteria:

  1. The organization provides educational programs.
  2. The organization is recognized as a tax-exempt 501 (c)(3) non-profit.
  3. The organization is located in the Dayton-city area; and/or
  4. The organization is located in Ohio, United States.

Grant funding will be awarded to those non-profit organizations and/or programs that are involved in education-based work, and promote educational excellence for children in the area. Organizations/programs that are eligible for grant funding will involve innovative, creative, high-quality programming, and those seeking to narrow the achievement gap.  The grant award process will be completed in two cycles. Interested applicants will have two deadlines to submit applications. If you miss the first application deadline, you will have another opportunity to submit a grant application.

If you are interested in submitting a grant application, please email Marwa Berri at [email protected]. You will then be provided a login code, for your application, to be completed via EpiCenter (online application management system). Further instructions will be made available upon login.

Example Grant Application

  1. Grant Application Instructions
  2. Cover Application for Grant
  3. Full Proposal Narrative Grant
  4. Budget and Finances Grant

Grant Making Schedule




Cycle 1 Application Open


Cycle 1 Application Closed

(Deadline 1 to Submit Grant application)


Cycle 1 Awards will be notified/made


Cycle 2 Application Open


Cycle 2 Application Closed

(Deadline 2 to Submit Grant application)


Cycle 2 Awards will be notified/made

*These are tentative dates. They are subject to change.

Contact Information

Marwa Berri
[email protected]
15 West Fourth Street
Suite 430
Dayton, Ohio 45402

Recent Grant Recipients








  • 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