Ellen and David Ryan have not lived in New Albany for several years, but even as Florida residents, they continue to have an impact on the community through their endowment fund at the New Albany Community Foundation.
Recently, they awarded a grant to two New Albany youth robotics teams.
David Ryan once owned Rimrock Corp., a company that produced robotics for factories and foundries. His son, Mark Ryan, who still lives in New Albany with his wife, Sarah, worked for the company, as well.
David Ryan always was fascinated by robotics; he was thrilled to be able to support students who also find it fun. Through their support, New Albany's robotics teams continue to grow and compete successfully both regionally and nationally.
The Ryans also recently committed $100,000 toward the amphitheater planned next to the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts.
The amphitheater, like the McCoy, will serve as a gathering place for residents to perform or enjoy performances, programs and community events.
The Ryans always have been generous to the community, and they made a leadership gift to the McCoy.
In fact, David Ryan was chairman of the community foundation board of trustees for three years, and it was during that time the project moved from an idea to a reality.
He played a key role in bringing together the various partners (the community foundation, New Albany-Plain Local School District, city of New Albany and Plain Township) who made it possible.
When the Ryans announced their support for the McCoy, it signaled to the rest of the community this would be a credible, transformational project because the Ryans were so respected in the community.
Undoubtedly their support led to other families investing in the community center.
Last year alone, the McCoy held almost 300 school events, with 59,473 attendees and 76 community events with 43,000 attendees. These events promote learning, arts and culture, wellness and more.
The Ryan family has contributed to the community in many more ways than just financially. For example, Mark Ryan served on the school board and the McCoy board, and Sarah Ryan was president of the New Albany Women's Network and volunteers for the New Albany Food Pantry.
It would be difficult to identify a community or school initiatives that the Ryans were not supportive of through the years.
I recently spoke with an acquaintance who does not live in New Albany but commented on how generous and philanthropic New Albany residents are.
As a community foundation board member, I believe the foundation has contributed to creating the culture of caring and giving in New Albany. And from my perspective, the foundation is composed of many individuals, families and companies who have established funds and supported grants, like the Ryan family.
This generation and future generations of New Albany residents are fortunate to be the beneficiaries of this extraordinary generosity.
Bill Ebbing is a member of the New Albany Community Foundation board of trustees.