The Association of Fundraising Professionals Mahoning-Shenango Chapter will recognize the late Jeanne Deibel Tyler as the 2022 Legacy Award honoree during its annual National Philanthropy Day luncheon Nov. 4.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The late Jeanne Deibel Tyler is being recognized as this year’s Legacy Award honoree. She was previously honored by the local AFP chapter in 2011 with the Special Recognition for Valley Impact Award.
Linda Kostka, development director of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, nominated Tyler, who died in 2019.
Tyler, who made gifts totaling around $3 million to MVHS, including the lead gift used to establish the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center in downtown, also was the first woman to chair the MVHS board.
“She loved history,” Kostka recalls. “She was one of our biggest donors and supporters, but she supported so many other organizations.”
Among the organizations Tyler supported were Stambaugh Auditorium, Mill Creek Park and the Animal Welfare League.
William Conti, who will accept the award on behalf of Tyler, became acquainted with her in the early 1960s, when he was with Crest-Johnson Co., an interior design firm in Youngstown. In 1964, while working on the renovation of the Youngstown Country Club, he met Tyler through the club’s women’s committee, which was involved in the project.
Tyler later engaged Conti on renovation projects at Northside Hospital and design work at her residence. Because of her love of animals, anything he did for her had to incorporate animals in some form.
“She liked what I did, so I became her design person,” he says. Their association also developed into what he describes as “almost a mentored relationship.” He recalls how Tyler reached out to talk to him when the health of his late wife, Carole, was declining.
Through Tyler, Conti got involved with the Butler Institute of American Art and Stambaugh Auditorium. She enlisted him on Stambaugh’s renovation about 25 years ago, which she helped fund. The building’s ballroom was named for Tyler.
Tyler’s philanthropy was driven at least in part by her love of history but also because “she just cared about the community,” Kostka says.
“She was a remarkable woman,” Conti says. “She loved life and she enjoyed everything.”
Although not everyone can make gifts on the scale that Tyler did, recognizing philanthropists like her “plants the seed for people who want to and can be philanthropic, no matter what the amount,” Kostka says.
Conti points to the role that philanthropy has played in preserving and maintaining Youngstown’s historic structures where other cities have allowed them to deteriorate. “That is a very important aspect of philanthropy,” he says.
Pictured at top: Standing beneath a picture of Jeanne Deibel Tyler are Linda Kostka and William Conti.