The Thomas Edison Center began providing services to individuals with disabilities in Van Wert County in 1968. Since that time the Thomas Edison Center has meant something different to every individual who has ever been a part of the program. The one basic truth represented throughout, however, has been opportunity; the opportunity for individuals to live, to grow, to achieve. While the range of agency programs may have changed over time, the central truth remains the same – opportunity. 

The early vision of specialized services for all children and adults with disabilities living in Van Wert County began as a hope for the future and has developed into a tangible realization. It is a realization that has evolved in scope and content to include early intervention, preschool, speech and hearing therapy, occupational and physical therapy, work opportunities, residential options and community participation.The Thomas Edison Center has come a long way from the time when parents had only two choices for their son or daughter: placement in an institution or remain at home.

One of the ways for the Thomas Edison Center to ensure continuation of needed programs and services is through the growth of the Thomas Edison Memorial Endowment Fund. This foundation was established to provide long range support for the programs of the Thomas Edison center.


The Van Wert County Board of Developmental Disabilities was created by law in 1967 through enactment of Ohio House Bill 169. The major and primary mission of the Board is to provide appropriate programs and services needed by persons with developmental disabilities. The Board provides these services through the Thomas Edison Center in Van Wert.

In 1975, the Board authorized the formation of a foundation that would build funds over the years through donations and bequests. The foundation was established in order to receive gifts and memorial monies that are intended to provide long range support for the programs of the Thomas Edison Center.

The foundation was designed so only the interest of this money would be available for use as determined by a non-profit board of directors. The Board called this foundation The Thomas Edison Memorial Endowment Fund.


The Board formed a non-profit board of directors to conduct the operations of the Memorial Endowment Fund. The five board members are appointed by the Van Wert County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.

Because the Memorial Endowment Fund has been classified as a public charity by the Internal Revenue Service under Sections 501 (c) (3) and 509 (a) (1) of the Internal Revenue Code, contributions to the Fund are taxable to the greatest extent permitted by law. A corporate trustee provides prudent financial management of the Memorial Endowment Fund.



There are many ways individuals or groups may support the Memorial Endowment Fund. A donor has two fundamental objectives. One is to be certain the gift is used to meet real needs or to further a genuine benefit to the community. The other is to give in a way which makes the most sense from the standpoint of the donor’s situation, financial and otherwise.



There are many ways to consider supporting the Memorial Endowment Fund. Contributions to the Fund can be made through your will. There are several types of bequests you can consider. These include percentage, residuary, specific and contingent requests. Although you may want to contact counsel, below is a suggested codicil and bequest language.

Suggested Will Bequest Language

“I will give, devise and bequeath to the Thomas Edison Memorial Endowment Fund, a public charity, ( insert here the sum or description of property) to be used for the benefit of said foundation in such manner as the trustees thereof may direct.”


Suggested Codicil to Last Will and Testament


“ I,                       , hereby amend my Last Will and Testament, executed on the          day of

                    in the year 20       . I direct that all provisions of the will remain in effect but direct that the Thomas Edison Memorial Endowment Fund shall receive (insert here the sum or description of property) to be used for the benefit of said foundation in such manner as the trustees may direct.”



Individuals are invited to make memorial gifts to the Memorial Endowment Fund on the occasion of the death of a friend or family member. Contributions in any amount will be gratefully received, and all gifts will be acknowledged and recognized.

Outright gifts, including end-of-the-year gifts, to the Memorial Endowment Fund in any amount are welcome at any time and will be acknowledged after they have been received.



Life insurance can be used to make a gift to the Memorial Endowment Fund. You can establish a separate policy or include the Memorial Endowment Fund as a beneficiary of a current policy. Life insurance can provide a great deal of flexibility in a donor’s giving plan. Individuals considering this type of gift should consult counsel.

Home | Eligibility | Administration | Program Services | Support | Transportation | Foundation | Special Olympics
Calendar | Privacy | About Us | Links