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Donelson memorial funds support symphony, softball

March 16, 2022

ASHLAND – Each time Ashland Symphony Orchestra played a concert, John Donelson was among the first in line to buy tickets. When he wasn’t soaking up classical music, you could find him at a ballpark, cheering on the local high school girls’ softball teams.

So upon John’s passing, his son and daughter-in-law, Thomas and Kristie Donelson, drew on these passions to set up five new, permanently endowed funds at Ashland County Community Foundation in his memory.

Distributions from one of the funds will benefit Ashland Symphony Orchestra each year. Annual income from each of the other funds will go toward one of the high school girls’ softball programs in Ashland County, including Ashland, Hillsdale, Loudonville and Mapleton.

A graduate of Ashland High School and Ashland College, John served in the United States Army during the Korean War. He was married to his wife, Sandra, from 1965 until her passing in 1995. He worked 40 years as a cereal chemist for the USDA Soft Wheat Quality Lab, and he was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Ashland.

Though Kristie and Thomas aren’t sure whether John knew about giving options through ACCF, they’re certain he would have appreciated knowing the John R. Donelson Memorial Funds would benefit some of his favorite causes for years to come.    

Jim Cutright, ACCF President/CEO, said he was touched by the Donelsons’ act of generosity.

“What impressed me was that it was a young couple that wanted to honor their dad and support the things he cared about,” Cutright said. “We love helping families find personally significant ways to create a lasting tribute to their loved ones.”

For some, that may be creating a new scholarship. For others, like the Donelsons, it’s establishing donor designated funds that support a particular cause each year. Still others might set up a named fund in support of one of our grant programs, or even a fund that is unrestricted in its use.

For more information about fund types and giving options through Ashland County Community Foundation, contact President/CEO Jim Cutright at (419) 281-4733 or

About Ashland County Community Foundation: Ashland County Community Foundation advances philanthropy and improves the quality of life in Ashland County by connecting people who care with causes that matter. ACCF has awarded over $20 million in scholarships, grants and distributions.