Inspired by his experience volunteering at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati as a St. Xavier High School student, Harry Fath — along with his wife, Linda — has committed $50 million to the local youth development organization.
“The Boys & Girls Clubs are a tremendous asset to the community,” said Fath. “Linda and I want to inspire others to give and to help the Boys & Girls Clubs serve more kids.”
Just a few days after the Boys & Girls Club announced the Faths gift, CISE (Catholic Inner-city Schools Education) revealed that the couple have pledged $50 million to it (see separate story, https://moversmakers.org/2022/12/22/faths-make-historic-gift-for-scholarships-to-local-catholic-high-schools/). The Faths have now announced $204 million in gifts this year — far exceeding any past single year.
The gift, the largest in the Boys & Girls Clubs’ 83-year history in Cincinnati, kicks off an initiative to build the next generation of clubs, known for providing after-school care. The agency serves students ages 5-18 across seven Greater Cincinnati locations. Its programs focus on academic success, healthy lifestyles and character and leadership development. Students receive daily homework help, engaging curriculums, social and emotional competency building, mentorship, field trips, and a USDA-approved snack and meal every day after school and during the summer. Membership is free.
“What Harry and Linda are doing is unbelievable,” said Pat O’Callaghan, chairman of the Boys & Girls Clubs board. “A gift like this doesn’t just help us for a year, it will catapult us forward to do all the things we’ve dreamed of doing. We cannot thank them enough.”
The gift is particularly satisfying to the local club after it got shut out last March of receiving any of the $281 million donation made to 62 clubs by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife Mackenzie Scott. The largest Boys & Girls Club in the nation — in Milwaukee — received the largest single allocation from Scott, a total of $17 million. Other chapters similar in size to Cincinnati’s received gifts ranging from $4 million to $8 million.
“Mr. & Mrs. Fath will change the lives of thousands of kids,” said Bill Bresser, the local nonprofit’s CEO. “We have ambitious plans to strengthen our existing program, open more sites, and serve more kids. This extraordinary gift will allow us to leverage the funding to complete current growth initiatives and sustain these efforts in perpetuity.”
The gift is designated to inspire others to give toward the Boys & Girls Clubs’ strategic direction and to sustain future program initiatives like its youth workforce development program.
Raised in Cincinnati, Harry Fath graduated from St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati in 1959, graduated from Notre Dame, served in the U.S. Army and earned a law degree. Fath began making investments in real estate in the 1970s, which led to the founding of Fath Properties. While building the company, Fath also engaged in numerous civic and business activities in this region and beyond. Linda Fath has been a supporter of local Cincinnati organizations including Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati Art Museum, Greater Cincinnati Foundation and several other civic and social activities.
Fath Properties manages 8,000 apartment units in buildings throughout Indiana, Kansas, Ohio, and Texas. He is also a minority owner of the Cincinnati Reds.
The Faths’ $204 million in giving this year exceeds the $101 million the Faths pledged in 2021, when they landed 28th on the list of the nation’s 50 largest philanthropists.
The Faths have appeared on the Philanthropy 50, the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual ranking of the nation’s 50 top donors, three times.
The Cincinnati couple have focused much of their charitable giving in recent years to Mercy Ships, a nonprofit that uses ships to deliver free health care to people in need in Africa. A 2021 $50 million gift followed a $50 million gift in 2018 to build the Global Mercy, the world’s largest nongovernmental hospital ship. The Faths first appeared on the Philanthropy 50 in 2017 with a $50 million gift to the Lindner Center of Hope. In 2018, their giving tallied $100 million between the Cincinnati Zoo and Mercy Ships. In 2021, they appeared again at $100 million with the gift to Mercy Ships and $50 million to the University of Notre Dame. Another 2021 gift of $1 million not included by the Chronicle was made to Purcell Marian High School.
Earlier this year, the Faths committed $50 million to St. Xavier High School, the largest gift in St. Xavier’s history and the lead gift for the school’s $200 million 200-year anniversary campaign. They also pledged $50 million to Xavier University. The Faths also gave $3 million to the Springer School, pushing it above a $15 million fundraising goal, and added $1 million in 2022 to the $1 million they gave to Purcell Marian High School in 2021.