Community Foundation Lights up the Anthony Wayne Trail

Brianne Whelton, Abby Alrich, Joanne Olnhausen of Greater Toledo Community Foundation, Zak Vassar of TAPA and Keith Burwell of Greater Toledo Community Foundation

By Tricia Hall
The Truth Reporter

The Greater Toledo Community Foundation concluded the organization’s 50th anniversary celebration by gifting the City of Toledo with tree lights to welcome residents and guests into the downtown area. The Foundation displayed the lights during a November 16 event. In addition to the donation, the Foundation launched a local giving initiative to support Toledo-area nonprofits.

“We’re excited to be here today, and to present this gift to our community. Today is our last event. The lights represent and will support Giving Tuesday and this Giving Tree, people can go online and support these nonprofits,” said Keith Burwell, Greater Toledo Community Foundation President. “The Greater Toledo Community Foundation is giving the City of Toledo these lights, so as you travel down the trail, you will see these lights each year around this time. These lights are just one way that we want to say thank you to the community.”

The community announcement also featured an ensemble from The Valentine Theatre promoting the December 1 and December 3 performances of ‘A Christmas Carol,’ hot refreshments and sweet treats from Jera’s Heavenly Sweets, and remarks from the following local leaders: Rev. John C. Jones, president of HOPE Toledo; Ally Effler, Chief Philanthropic Officer of Metorparks Toledo; Zak Vassar, president of TAPA; Judy Leb, director of Lucas County CASA; and City of Toledo Deputy Mayor Karen Poore.

“I’m glad to be here to support the Greater Toledo Community Foundation. It takes vision and leadership to do this work and we’re here today because the Greater Toledo Community Foundation supported us and our collaborative partners, the YWCA and Toledo Early Learning Coalition through a shared service grant,” said Rev. John Jones. “HOPE Toledo and the Greater Toledo Community Foundation know that a strong start leads to a great future. As we light these lights, I see a brighter day for the city.”

A series of trees are now visible as drivers enter the downtown area from the Anthony Wayne Trail before Lafayette Street and are expected to launch a new tradition as the lights were donated by the Foundation.

The 50th anniversary of the Greater Toledo Community Foundation called “Fifty Years of Funding Futures,” celebrates five decades of service. The Foundation has distributed more than $310 million in grants to Toledo nonprofits and beyond. The Foundation now holds 950 funds and approximately $435 million in assets with the goal of creating a better community for generations to come. The Greater Toledo Community Foundation is the largest philanthropic organization serving the Toledo region, including northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan with a particular emphasis on the greater Toledo area.

Since 1973, the Foundation has worked with individuals, families and businesses, assisting them in making effective choices that match their philanthropic interest and needs while creating a better community. The Foundation is also the home of scholarships for high school students and The Center for Nonprofit Resources for nonprofit support.

The foundation distributed more than $600,000 to local nonprofits during the year-long celebration, by organizing community oriented events including: TARTA free ride partnership where $50,000 was donated to provide 2,000 passes for youth during the summer months, Metroparks Toledo sculpture donation, Black Swamp Conservancy volunteer day, nonprofit days at the Toledo Mud Hens and Toledo Walleye where jerseys were raffled to support local youth programs, volunteer day in collaboration with Historic South and Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity, unveiling of a 50th anniversary book and panel discussion by local nonprofit experts at the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library and supporting several local concerts.

For more information about Greater Toledo Community Foundation, visit For more information about the celebration visit and for information about the Toledo Giving Tree visit