"We've always had the philosophy that we have an obligation to give back. So we do," says Dan by phone from their University Commons home. They're originally from Sidney, Ohio, where Jill's parents owned the town newspaper. After Jill and Dan married, Dan joined the business in 1969 and became president soon afterward. It "grew quite rapidly," he says, to about 300 employees with the addition of specialty publications like magazines for coin and stamp collectors. After more than thirty years he retired in 2000. "I just burned out," he says. "Ran out of gas."
Dan's sister was a kindergarten teacher in Sidney for thirty-five years. She would tell the couple about kids who started school unprepared. They found that baffling, Dan says, until she explained that "most kids come with skills; like how to use scissors, how to identify colors, etc. If they don't have any skills, they're behind."
Dan and Jill started learning about preschools. After selling their interest in the family business, they established a Fidelity Charitable Giving Account to support early childhood education.
"It's not rocket science," says Dan. "We started a preschool in Sidney. We gave the [public] school system some money, and they said, 'We'll put it together.'" They offered four classes.
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