The Shelby Foundation is the outgrowth of the old Shelby Development Corporation (SDC) – begun in the mid 1960’s as a result of the closing of the Wilkens Air Force Depot. When the Depot closed, community leaders stepped up to address the economic realities of the closing of the “Depot”. After using the SDC to convert the Depot into what is now Central Ohio Industrial Park, they had accomplished their goal, and no longer a purpose for the SDC. A few thousand dollars were left in the SDC’s coffers, and they remained there, in reserve, until 1985. In 1985, The Shelby Foundation was created, using the leftover SDC money.

With the creation of the Foundation in 1985, the initial Board of Trustees established a purpose: “…to receive and accept contributions to be administered under this instrument exclusively for charitable purposes primarily in and for the benefit of the community of Shelby, Richland County, Ohio and the vicinity thereof…”.

In 2005, The Shelby Foundation emerged into a community foundation to give philanthropic donors the opportunity to impact the future of Shelby. Led by community leaders as its Board of Directors, the Shelby Foundation continues its mission – to build a legacy of community philanthropy by connecting generosity with community needs.