In 1931 a group of community and business leaders including future Chief Justice U.S. 6th District Court Judge Lester L. Cecil, future Dayton Mayor Frank M. Krebs, 2nd generation Dayton business owner and Dayton Chamber of Commerce Board member John D. Siebenthaler and other service club leaders gathered together for the purpose of maximizing the important volunteer work done by hundreds of individuals who belonged to the Dayton area’s extensive network of civic “service clubs”. This formation group included some of the most active and respected leaders in our community.
To that end, in 1932 the original founding service clubs formalized a new and unique organization unlike any other known in the then 48 states and since; an organization dedicated solely to coordinating and supporting local service clubs and the activities of their member volunteers in the Dayton area.
These community leaders had four (4) original goals in mind:
- Nurturing a positive image about community volunteer service and servant leadership;
- Organizing a coordinating body which could share information about community and service club needs;
- Growing, unifying and strengthening the membership of their respective service organizations;
- Keeping the public and service club members aware of community issues and the importance of area social service programs through work done by active volunteer citizens in the region.
After more than 85 years, the organization continues to apply those same core principles. Every aspect of this collaborative organization focuses on the volunteer servant leader. Communications; fundraising; club training; celebration of active civic leadership; and student scholarships for future community leaders … each of these areas is designed to enhance the past, present and future legacy of volunteerism in the Dayton community.
On the organization’s 20th anniversary in 1951, the group established the region’s most notable community service recognition award to celebrate the incredible work done by volunteer leaders in the Dayton area. The Citizen Legion of Honor Award, given first in 1951 to community leader and future CEO of NCR Corporation, Stanley C. Allyn, now reads like a “who’s who” list of volunteer leadership in the Dayton area. It stands today as the oldest and most continuous leadership award in the Dayton region (see Sponsored Activities/Citizen Legion of Honor Award section).
In 1990, in preparation of the organization’s 60th anniversary in 1991 and to recognize the loss of one of its strongest volunteer leaders, The Presidents Club of Dayton established its first student scholarship to honor Virgil C. Kitchen. Since that date, three (3) additional scholarships, recognizing Mildred C. “Millie” Sadauskas for her 36 years of administrative service to the organization, and Robert T. Leibold and Phillip L. Parker as past presidents, have been added to support student leaders at Sinclair Community College, their academics and their volunteer community service. The impact of the organization’s efforts has been to raise over a quarter million dollars for students and endowing the four scholarships into perpetuity (see Sponsorship Activities/Scholarships section).
Approaching the organization’s 50th celebration of the community’s top civic leadership award in 2000, The Presidents Club of Dayton, with the support of the city of Dayton and a gift from business leader Richard Schiewetz, created the community’s “Wall of Honor” for the region’s Citizen Legion of Honor Award. Located and on display on the 3rd floor of the Dayton Convention Center, this history and recognition of servant leadership dates back to its first recipient in 1951. These brass-etched renderings recognize many of our area’s business and not-for-profit leaders who have modeled the way for others by their vision, hard work and unselfish community service in our area through their participation and leadership in hundreds of organizations and governments and thousands of projects and initiatives that together or individually have made a lasting impact on our citizens and region (see Sponsored Activities/Citizen Legion of Honor Award section).
In order to expand services and enhance their scholarships for young leaders, The Presidents Club of Dayton applied for and was granted 501(c) 3 charitable and educational status by the IRS in June 2009. This change gave the organization the ability to acquire new funding sources to support its mission and leadership scholarships. Through 2015, The Presidents Club of Dayton has had a long-term affiliation with the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce dating back to more than 5 decades. This has helped the organization maintain its mission and better communicate its goals to the region.
In 2016, to celebrate the 65th year of the Citizen Legion of Honor community volunteer leadership award again through the benevolence of the Schiewetz Foundation, The Presidents Club of Dayton asked Dayton History to develop a commemorative historical book dedicated to our region’s modern volunteer leadership and recognition of the past community leaders who have inspired other’s future involvement. This documented research reflects today’s ongoing efforts of volunteer servant leadership in our community and those who played important roles in our region’s successful initiatives and quality of life and The Presidents Club of Dayton dedication of inspiring community volunteer service.