The Greater Dayton Brain Health Foundation was created in 1982 as the “Ohio Foundation for Mental Health,” a subsidiary of Eastway Corporation. Initial resources were garnered through payroll deduction by Eastway employees and a series of “dine around” fund-raisers.

Four years later, the Board of Trustees determined that the focus of the Foundation should be broader than one mental health service providing organization and needed to be more broadly oriented around the greater Dayton community,  Hence, the Foundation was renamed the Greater Dayton Mental Health Foundation and aligned itself with The Dayton Foundation.

Early in the Foundation’s history, the earnings of the various funds were distributed periodically to various service providers upon approval of their applications. It became increasingly clear that the applications typically were for “replacement” resources to continue existing programs once earlier support “dried up.” At the same time, Foundation resources were limited. Engaging in a strategic planning process, the Board of Trustees decided to focus the Foundation resources upon innovative projects enhancing the nature and quality  of care provided to persons experiencing a mental disorder. An appropriate role for the Foundation would be convening community leaders focusing upon a particular issue, provide seed money and encourage the implementation of innovative practices. 

The first major undertaking of this nature occurred in 2003 which culminated in the establishment and continuing operation of a novel approach to addressing persons with mental disorders coming to the attention of law enforcement and the criminal courts. Seizing upon a “mental health court” model pioneered in Brevard County, Forida and a “law enforcement” model pioneered in Memphis, Tennessee, community leaders engaged local providers of mental health services to partner in the delivery of a model three-party intervention. A subsequent project recruited community and healthcare leaders focusing upon opportunities to integrate behavioral and primary health care.

More recently, scientific research has been demonstrating that mental and addiction disorders are really “brain” disorders impacted by both hereditary and environmental factors. It has become increasingly clear that such disorders share a kinship with various types of dementia. Thus, recent grant activity has included consideration of innovative services to persons experiencing a dementia.

In 2015, all of this has led to the re-naming of the Foundation to become the Greater Dayton Brain Health Foundation.