A Brief Timeline

1996

John C. Dunham creates the Dunham Fund, a charitable trust, and appoints a Board of Advisors

1996
2006

John C. Dunham passes away at the age of 95

2006
2007

Dunham Fund provides first grants to area nonprofits

2007
2009

Challenge for Change in 2009 launched the John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School, which opened its doors in 2014

2009
2011

Dunham Fund invests in the launch of the Paramount Theatre’s Broadway Series

2011
2012

5th Anniversary- $12.5M awarded in 97 grants

2012
2017

10th Anniversary – $31M awarded in 198 grants

2017
2020

Since 2007 – $42.7M awarded in 524 grants

2020
2021

Dunham Fund converts to the Dunham Foundation, a private foundation

2021

Our Legacy

John C. Dunham was raised in Aurora, IL after his family relocated from Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of West Aurora High School. As an adult, John grew his father's company, Equipto, into a world-renowned space utilization business in the city that he cherished. He also opened manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania and Texas.

Always a lover of learning, John and his wife, Judy, visited Japan several times to study and implement an innovative concept at the time – Just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing. He also relished mentoring young people interested in business, finance, and manufacturing, incorporating lessons on confidentiality, self-presentation, and promptness.

To pay tribute to the community that gave so much to him and his family, the Dunham Foundation was established in 1996 to “make the world a more comfortable, safer place for mankind to live and prosper.” The Foundation became active shortly after John passed away in 2006, with the first grants awarded in 2007. Honoring John’s love of education – and his life and career as an entrepreneur, manufacturer, and mentor – the Dunham Foundation strives to honor his vision for building a healthy, thriving community.

The Dunham Foundation seeks grant applications from nonprofits whose work aligns with the Foundation’s mission. Organizations that encourage innovation and collaboration in educational and community development programs and projects to effect positive change in the Dunham Foundation service area.

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