The Salem Community Foundation began in January 1966 with $2,000 and a hope for the future growth of the Salem community. The plan was for the Salem Community Foundation to act as a reservoir in which many small and large contributions and memorials would be pooled and invested. The income from these would be distributed to aid local religious, charitable, scientific, literary, educational and public health, safety and welfare purposes.
The Salem Community Foundation, Inc. was organized in Salem, Ohio at the instigation of Walter F. Deming. The organizers who were also the original contributors were: Walter F. Deming, Attorney Alfred L. Fitch, Harry Krohne, Robert S. McCulloch, Dr. Gail A. Roose, James H. Wilson, Eugene Young, and Attorney George H. Bowman.
The planners thought it would take a few years to get started before they could disburse any grants. However, after the first six months, the Foundation had $17,000 and was able to make its first small allotment. The Salem Public Library received $200 for the purchase of "cultural books".
At a later board meeting Walter F. Deming was elected president; George H. Bowman, vice president; and Harry Krohne, secretary and treasurer. In 1967 after the first year, the Salem Community Foundation's assets stood around $17,000 and it was during that year the originators decided to establish a Book of Memory to be kept in the Salem Public Library. Memorials made to the Foundation over the years would be written in the book and a record would be preserved for future generations.
In the second year trustees saw funds grow to $21,000 which allowed expenditures of approximately $1,450 for the year. The original goal of $100,000 set by the early board was achieved during 1974. When Krohne resigned in 1975 he recommended the board adopt a goal of $250,000 in net assets by the end of 1977, and $500,000 by the end of 1980.
The McKeown bequest in 1977 took Salem Community Foundation's fund balances $100,000 over the first goal, and the $500,000 goal was met during 1980. In 1984 the $1,000,000 mark was exceeded.
The Salem Community Foundation’s annual report shows the growth since the story began. It is fair to say our city would look and be very different had there been no Salem Community Foundation the past 47 years. We have the founders of this public charitable trust to thank, as well as, the literally thousands of people who have generously donated from twenty-five to hundreds of thousands of dollars to be used to better the lives of their fellow area residents.
The mission of the Community Foundation is also to assess and meet changing community needs and interests through financial awards, and to assist donors to build and preserve enduring assets for charitable purposes.
The Salem Community Foundation Logo
was taken from the Old Town Hall.
The Old Town Hall, built in the late 1840's, stood for 100 years of Salem's history on the site of the present municipal parking lot on the corner of State and Ellsworth streets. The Foundation ties the concepts of community service of yesteryears to those of today's Foundation desires to make a positive difference in the quality of life in the Salem area. The Old Town Hall featured above was painted by local artist, Lois Mountz.