Dear Friends of the Dayton Book Fair, It has been a difficult week for difficult decisions. Out of an abundance of caution and because a significant percentage of our volunteer staff are in the at-risk-for-death age rage for Covid19, we are closing the doors of the book loft effective immediately through Saturday, April 18, when we will re-evaluate. During this time, we will also be suspending pickups from people’s homes and businesses. We understand that some people are of the opinion that the measures being taken at this time are a massive overreaction, I hope they’re right. But it is simply not worth the risk to endanger anyone’s health over second-hand books.
In the meantime, you have all those books you’ve been wanting to read, right?
The Dayton Book Fair announced on Wednesday that they have chosen this year’s three beneficiaries to receive proceeds from their 50th anniversary Book Sale in November 2020. Each beneficiary will receive a grant of around ten thousand dollars.
This year the three beneficiaries are the Dayton International Peace Museum, the Xenia Area Community Theater and WYSO’s Center for Community Voices project.
The Dayton International Peace Museum is the only brick and mortar Peace Museum in North or South America and the houses the only interactive exhibit on the Dayton Peace Accords in the world. They are the official repository for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and run a very successful Peace Camp for children ages 5-12. They maintain changing exhibits on the many challenges to peace and peacemaking including the effects of violence and war, gun culture, poverty, bullying, the environment, and international cooperation.
The Xenia Area Community Theater is an all-volunteer theater and gallery space established in 2005 to serve area interests in performing and fine arts and stimulate community involvement in those areas. They produce eight fully staged plays during their regular season (to date more than 100 productions) along with several summer shows and youth camps. Their plans for the grant from the Book Fair Foundation include a week-long Special Needs Children’s Initiative workshop and performance for children on the Autism Spectrum, and to improve theatre accessibility to a variety of groups whose ability to attend live theater is hampered by ticket cost.
WYSO, the public radio station long-associated with Antioch College has recently separated their university relationship to become an independent entity. While much of their budget pays for nationally syndicated public radio programming, the grant from the Dayton Book Fair will enable them to fund grassroots programming in the Center for Community Voices, for the documentary and story-telling segments produced by Dayton Youth Radio, Women’s Voices (produced by female inmates at a Dayton correctional facility) and County Lines, focusing on the rural populations in our community.
“It is challenging to choose just three,” said Dayton Book Fair Executive Director Larkin Vonalt. “It is a multi-day project for the Foundation’s board to winnow down from dozens of excellent organizations all doing important work to just three.”
Asked about criteria that the board might consider in choosing the finalists, Ms. Vonalt noted that they examine the size of the organization, the need for funding, and how the board feels that the year-long partnership will work.
“There are so many intangibles,” she added, “and at the very end when we’ve narrowed it to just a few, it often comes down to what kind of fit it will be for all of us.”
The Dayton Book Fair board handles grant-making a little differently than other foundations, requiring a year-long informal partnership with the beneficiaries. Organizations chosen are asked to promote the sale through a variety of means, they are encouraged to hold a book drive and required to volunteer at least 40 hours over the year.
Since 2015 the Foundation has made grants to 16 different organizations in the Dayton Community, giving away more than $130,000 over the last five years. The Dayton Book Fair is Ohio’s largest used book sale and each year rehomes about 40 tons of books, records, puzzles, and games.
“While the grant-making is an essential part of our existence, and we are delighted to be able to support so many exceptional Dayton-area non-profits, we have discovered that we have another remarkably important mission in providing a meaningful and purposeful venue where people can donate their beloved books,” Ms. Vonalt commented, noting that they collect books all year round at their office at 2181 Embury Park Rd as well as offering a free pick up service for those who need it and collaborating twice a year with all the Dayton area Grismer Tire Stores for book “round-ups” the last week of May and August.
Those donated books are then sorted, priced and packed for the sale held each year the second weekend in November at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, and the proceeds from that sale used in making grants to community non-profit organizations working in the areas of arts, education, social welfare, literacy and community development.
The Dayton Book Fair Foundation has chosen three downtown Dayton nonprofit organizations as beneficiaries of the 2019 Dayton Book Fair. This year’s book fair is the the 49th annual fair, the largest used book sale in Ohio and will generate grants of around $10,000 for each recipient.
“We get so many excellent applicants each year,” said foundation director Larkin Vonalt “that it’s a great challenge to just pick three.” The process of choosing beneficiaries takes four to six weeks for the board of seven. “The organizations we chose this year had also applied in previous years,” Vonalt said “and in that light, we strongly encourage organizations to apply more than once.”
The three groups they picked this year all call downtown Dayton home, and range from a tiny nonprofit to an enormous organization with a multi-million dollar budget. “But just because they’re big doesn’t mean that they don’t need help,” Vonalt explained. That beneficiary, Community Action Partners of Miami Valley has been trying for years to build a bus shelter outside their south Main St. offices to provide a safe, dry place for their clients to wait for the bus. Though their budget is considerable, all of it has stipulations attached, and there was nothing extra to build the shelter.” Community Action Partners is a private non-profit organization that provides assistance with utilities, weatherization, shelter programs, transportation, legal issues, home repair, computer literacy, tax assistance and housing.
Also chosen to receive a grant this year is the Greater Dayton LGBT Center on Jefferson St. The funding they’ll receive is earmarked for the commercial kitchen they’re building to prepare free community meals they offer, teach cooking classes and meet the requirements for a licensed kitchen to be able to make food items for resale. The LGBT Center also offers support groups, a book club, health testing, holiday gatherings, social events, AA meetings, Yoga classes and seminars in their efforts to “enhance lives and empower members of diverse sexual and gender communities throughout the Miami Valley.”
“The third recipient is the smallest, a group of artists and musicians that for the last seven years have produced (on a shoestring) a marvelous festival and parade celebrating Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, one of the most important of Mexican holidays,” Vonalt said.
Though predominantly Mexican, the holiday is also marked in Europe as “All Saints Day” and focuses on gatherings to remember friends and family who have died, and help support their spiritual journey through parties, parades and the making of altars to honor them. This vibrant celebration at the Dayton Day of the Dead Festival begins with a parade through the Oregon district with huge skeleton puppets, floats, revelers in elaborate costumes (and sugar-skull facepaint and wreaths of flowers), musicians, dancers and children. The parade finishes at the Old Yellow Cab company where festivities continue with story telling, folk dancing, music, more face painting and Mexican and South American street food provided by local restaurants and St. Mary’s Church. The festival is free and family-friendly.
Through the year, the organizations are each asked to provide 40 hours of volunteer service to the Book Fair Foundation and to help with a book drive and promoting the fair. “We hope to build a relationship with each of our beneficiaries,” Vonalt explained. “In the end, we want to try to build a stronger network of Dayton-area non-profits helping each other.”
As we move forward for this year’s sale, we are also looking towards next year’s sale and to that end, we have revamped the application process somewhat.
Instead of “just a letter”, we now have a 3-page application form (not that complicated, just ample space for your answers) and we’d like a letter too and a few supplemental materials– all towards helping us making the best choice we can. (And it is a hard choice, my friends, a very hard choice.)
We admit a slight favoritism towards smaller organizations. We enjoy knowing that the money that we work so hard to give away really makes a difference. Tim, from Caesar’s Ford Theatre Company (one of last year’s beneficiaries) stopped in yesterday (with some books) and good news that the feasibility study that we helped fund is paving the way to not just their success, but ultimately their survival. When we gave the check to Learning Tree Farm (in 2016) it came just in the nick of time– they had to drill a new well for livestock at the farm, in the dead of winter.
But if you’re a larger organization, that doesn’t mean you’re out of the running. We understand that budgets are a funny thing and that you may have an important project that you can’t finance unless you have some money from some other source– like the Book Fair Foundation.
Some people probably find it corny, but really we are serious about community networking and building relationships with the beneficiaries that we choose. Some years this works better than others. If we’re going to just be one of a big list of donors to you this year, we may not be a good match for each other. There are many pieces in the pie that is our mission (Mmm, pie. We love pie, did I mention that?) : keeping books circulating (and out of landfills!) funding a few local non-profits, helping people part with their books in a meaningful way, providing packing and pick up service for those who need it, community development, furthering projects in literacy, and keeping idle bibliophiles off the streets.
We’d like to hear from you. The application packet is below. To be considered it must reach our offices by Tuesday, December 18th (it can be hand-delivered) or be post-marked by Saturday, December 15th.
Everything happens so quickly this time of year. The board met yesterday to discuss plans for this year’s sale, new categories for next year and how we’re going to revise the application process. (And we made waffles.) Wristbands went on sale just past the stroke of midnight– and we’ll start mailing those on Tuesday morning. Posters and postcards and business cards and banners are all on their way to the printer. We’re arranging for forklifts and rented tables and making a map of the new layout (as much like the old layout as possible) for our new digs at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds.
In the midst of this we have to look forward enough to 2019 to choose a figurehead for our 49th sale, so that we can have bookmarks available to give out at our 48th sale. In the past we’ve featured Abraham Lincoln, and Jane Austen and this year Dayton’s own Paul Laurence Dunbar.
In keeping with the local theme, we’re considering Natalie Barney, or Virginia Hamilton or Tecumseh. Maybe we need to look towards a broader realm– to Maya Angelou or Zora Neale Hurston or Geronimo. Mark Twain? Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings? Agatha Christie? Maybe a living writer? If you have suggestions, we’d love to hear them.
Gather up all those stray books, DVDs, records and CDs. Corral your board games, puzzles, and the like and drive them on over to your local Grismer’s during the week between Saturday, August 18 and Saturday, August 25th.
The good folks at Grismer’s will have receipts on hand for you and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that your books are going to a good cause. (Several good causes, actually.) Check out the great work of our 2018 Beneficiaries at this link.
Maybe you should get an oil change while you’re there? There are 17 Grismer’s Tire Stores in the greater Dayton area (including Troy, Springfield and Springboro) and you can find a complete list here.
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for our annual sale starting Friday, November 9th. Wristbands go on sale on this site and by telephone on Monday, October 8th.
We are delighted to announce that the Dayton Book Fair is continuing our 40-year long relationship with the Montgomery County Fairgrounds and will follow them to their new location at 645 Infirmary Road, just off of US35.
The 2018 Sale will start Friday, November 9th at 9 a.m. and will run through Monday, November 12th at noon. Fridays admission is $10 at the door (Advance wristbands will go on sale via our website and by telephone on October 1. The cost for advance wristbands is $11, and entry is in numerical order.) Admission on Saturday and Sunday is free. Sunday is bag day with bags for $7.50 and boxes for $12.50 (We supply the bags and boxes.) Admission on Monday is $1 to take all that you’d like!
We are excited about the move as our new building is bigger (and warmer) and brand spanking new. There is plenty of paved parking on flat ground!
The 2018 Beneficiaries of the Dayton Book Fair are Rebuilding Together Dayton, The Victory Project and We Care Arts.
After a very long and challenging process to winnow down our wonderful applicants to just three new beneficiaries, we have done just that.
(We so wish we had fifty grants to give away! Thanks to all who applied and stay tuned for some changes in the application process for 2019.)
The beneficiaries of the 2018 Dayton Book Fair are Rebuilding Together Dayton, The Victory Project and We Care Arts.
Rebuilding Together Dayton works to build community partnerships that provide home rehabilitation for low-income Dayton Area homeowners, particularly the elderly, so they may live in warmth, safety and independence. All of their work falls into one of four focus areas: safe and healthy housing, youth and corporate engagement, community revitalization and veteran housing. The average age of their clients is 77, and the average annual income $16,000. Read more about their vision and accomplishments at their website http://www.rtdayton.org
The Victory Project is a privately funded nonprofit after-school program which mentors disengaged young men in our city. They forged an alliance between business, criminal justice and faith communities to allow local teens to break the cycle of hopelessness, insignificance and isolation by addressing physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Offering a real alternative to the streets, they are open year round, six days a week, building long-lasting relationships with young men at risk, sharing dinner together every weeknight, providing individualized tutoring and entrepreneurship models through landscaping and home improvement micro-businesses. Check out their website at http://www.victoryproject.org/
An uncommon alliance has formed between the business, criminal justice and faith communities to allow our young men to break the cycle of hopelessness, insignificance and isolation by addressing physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
We Care Arts works with developmentally disabled adults and youth, senior citizens with dementia, and the mentally ill to achieve greater personal independence. Through a variety of art experiences, they promote the artist’s individuality, self esteem, community skills, ability to focus, life skills, responsibility, confidence and job skills. A team of paid staff and volunteers creates an environment that fosters individual talents and provides training for each artist. In addition, We Care Arts has developed installations for use in public schools and the “Art on a Cart” program for patients receiving chemotherapy. Click their website link to learn more! http://www.wecarearts.org/
We are delighted to be part of the future of these three wonderful organizations and look forward to getting to know them better through partnership and volunteer opportunities throughout the year.
Thanks to all that applied, and please know that we were so impressed by so many of the organizations, and if you weren’t chosen this year, hope that you will consider applying again.
On Friday, February 2 the Book Fair Foundation will present checks for ten thousand dollars each to the Artemis Center, Caesar’s Ford Theatre Co. and Dayton Public Radio; all beneficiaries of the proceeds from the 2017 Dayton Book Fair.
Additionally, the three new beneficiaries for the 2018 Dayton Book Fair will be announced. Each year the Foundation chooses three beneficiaries from applications of local non-‐profit organizations to receive the proceeds from Ohio’s largest book fair, which takes place the second weekend in November at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds.
The presentation will take place at the new event space, The 804, at 804 E. Monument Ave. in Dayton, at 3:30 on Friday afternoon. Light refreshments will be served and the public is welcome.