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Doris Dammann Day was born in North Dakota. At an early age she moved with her mother and father, Christine and Will Dammann, to Rock Island. Will Dammann and his brother Henry were cofounders of the Bear Manufacturing Company, the first company in the nation to manufacture wheel alignment equipment for the automotive industry.
Mrs. Day was educated in the Rock Island Public school system, attended Augustana College, and graduated from the National Kindergarten and Elementary college in Evanston, Illinois. She taught for a time in Rock Island schools.
Doris Dammann and Victor Day were married in Evanston on May 8, 1930. Victor Day was born in Davenport, Iowa, and was educated in Davenport schools. He was a graduate of the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy, and worked as a registered pharmacist before joining the Bear Manufacturing firm in 1936.
In 1953, Mr. Day became president of the Bear Manufacturing Company. Mrs. Day became chairman of the Board of Directors. Both served until 1972 when the firm merged with Applied Power Industries, Inc.
Doris and Victor Day established the Foundation bearing their names July 16, 1965, as a means of giving financial support to charitable activities. Funding in excess of $10,000,000 occurred following the death of Mrs. Day in 1987.
Because of their great love of the community and the financial success they had achieved here, Mr. and Mrs. Day desired to return most of the earnings from their assets for the benefit of the community. Therefore, they each provided, by wills executed in 1980, that the survivor of them bequeath his or her assets to the Foundation.
"ROCK ISLAND WILL BE A BETTER PLACE," were words Doris included when she shared plans for the Foundation with a friend.
Doris and Victor Day knew that money was essential in bringing change and betterment to a community. They felt that the rewards of their life and work in the Quad Cities might best stay at home to create a better life for their friends and neighbors. They elected to establish a foundation with the major portion of their estate.
Vic and Doris chose trusted friends to guide the Foundation as a force for the betterment of the community. The president was to be their attorney of many years; the vice-president was chair of the board of the bank where the funds were to be in trust; the secretary-treasurer lived a half block down the street and was the son of the attorney with whom Vic first discussed the foundation concept in 1965.
It has been the responsibility of those three trustees to make the vision of a "better place" a reality in the Quad Cities. The Foundation office opened in August of 1987, and in the following years the trustees have sought to bring Doris and Vic's dream to life.
A "better place" is a community in which all of the citizens share a good life with adequate shelter, food, and medical care. A "better place" is a community in which opportunities for growth and development are available.
A "better place" is a community in which citizens work together to face the challenges of life.
To reach some of those goals as a "better place" the trustees have emphasized grants that meet basic human needs. Emergency assistance, affordable housing, child care, job training, support programs, scholarships, and education have been the focus of many grants.
The foundation is intended to exist in perpetuity. With that goal the trustees have established an investment philosophy in which the asset value will increase in correspondence to the inflation rate.
The directors are always aware that the Foundation assets are a result of the generous spirit of Doris and Victor Day. The walls of the office of the Foundation are hung with many photographs of the Days and Bear Manufacturing Company. Shelves are filled with memorabilia from the marketing department of Bear. The physical reminders of the founders challenge the directors to honor the trust of their appointment by the Days.
1800 Third Avenue Suite 302