S.D. Berry Family Fund

June 1, 2016

Steve Berry, PhD, is a Chicago native who moved his family to Oxford in 1979 from Southern California. In 1988, the family moved again, this time from Oxford to Hamilton.  As he moves into retirement, Steve has time to explore what Hamilton has to offer, and think about ways of giving back. That desire led he and his wife, Cathy, to begin the S.D. Berry Family Fund at the Hamilton Community Foundation.  

They chose a Donor Advised Fund, says Steve, because of its flexibility.  A Donor Advised Fund is held in the name of a donor at the Hamilton Community Foundation.  The donor can then make suggestions throughout the year for charitable grants from the fund.  Based on the donor’s philanthropic passions, Foundation staff can keep donors abreast of community needs throughout the year that match donor interests.     

As part of his work at Miami University, Steve wrote funding proposals, garnering support from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. He says he understands the resource development aspect of nonprofits and now wants to make an impact where his family lives. Now semi-retired, he is also exploring volunteer work.  Cathy is retired from the Talawanda School District where she developed a resource classroom and program for special needs children. 

The Berrys are interested in hunger/nutrition issues, diversity, education and fine arts. “As a scientist who started with a liberal arts degree from Notre Dame, I realize that fine art engages people on many levels and is useful in any career,” Steve explains. Steve says that he and Cathy have a long term commitment to a fair society, with support and opportunity for all--regardless of race, religion or behavioral challenges.

Just after establishing the S.D. Berry Fund, Steve and Cathy set about recommending grants reflecting their interests.  In its first month, five grants were made from the Fund to nonprofit organizations in greater Hamilton serving a variety of needs! Both Steve and Cathy says they are impressed with the energy and enthusiasm behind efforts to reinvigorate Hamilton through nonprofit organizations enterprises and the arts.