Bernard P. McDonough, the Foundation's benefactor, was a remarkable man. A long time resident of the Mid-Ohio Valley Region, he emerged from humble beginnings to build a great industrial empire. He founded companies, bought companies, and turned failing companies around. His holdings included concrete and cement plants, shoe manufacturing and retailing, construction companies, barge and towing operations, shovel, lawn and garden tool factories, and sand and gravel operations. He revived the economy of western Ireland by constructing and operating a network of luxury hotels in Counties Clare and Limerick. His McDonough Company became a Fortune 500 NYSE company. Although he kept a low personal profile in business, he made the cover stories of Fortune and Sports Illustrated magazines.
His philanthropy focused on improving the mind, body and spirit. For the mind he gave gifts to institutions of higher education as he believed that education was absolutely essential for success. For the body he was concerned about various health aspects of the general population and supported medical research and treatments. He was also devoted to contributing to the general welfare of needy people. For the spirit he supported the arts and cultural enterprises that improved the quality of life and enhanced cultural appreciation.
After Mr. McDonough's death in 1985, his wife, Alma G. McDonough, further funded the Foundation to enable it to increase its granting initiatives. Today's directors and officers continue the legacy of the McDonoughs by providing grants that create a healthier, more educated and culturally appreciative citizenry.