Clay was a passionate advocate for Dayton and dreamed of making Dayton the most livable city in America. He silently backed community development initiatives to support the region and families.
Throughout his career, Clay was supported by mentors who asked him to give back to the next generation of entrepreneurs. After selling Iams, he set out to fulfill that commitment.
Clay shared his passion for education with his wife, MaryAnn. Together, they prioritized educational giving at the Mathile Family Foundation and donated to increase access to education.
Clay was a passionate and proud Daytonian, and envisioned a future when Dayton is one of America’s most livable cities. Often silently, he funded that vision through his support of community and economic development initiatives that helped preserve and improve the city for local families and businesses.
Per his insistence, Clay often gave silently — he was motivated by the greater good, not personal credit — and offered not only financial support but strategic guidance that was critical to each initiative’s long-term success.
After the success of Iams, the Mathiles initiated Mathile Community Awards, a giving program that spoke to their commitment to Dayton and contributed to its economic growth and stability.
Over 10 years, they awarded more than $60 million to projects like 2nd and Main (the center of downtown Dayton), Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center, the YMCA, the Cassano Health Center, and Wright Dunbar Inc.
Clay believed so deeply in the power of small business to lift lives that he founded Aileron, a campus and community dedicated to supporting small business leaders as they embark on the meaningful and challenging work of developing their businesses, their teams, and themselves.
Throughout his entrepreneurial career, Clay was supported by trusted mentors and friends who were instrumental in his success. Their ask of him in return? That he would continue the cycle of support and give back to the next generation of entrepreneurs when he was able. After selling The Iams Company, he set out to do just that with the founding of Aileron.
Today, Aileron is a well-established non-profit organization focused on developing business leaders and improving the quality of life in America. The organization leverages the DOC System of Professional Management, a 114-acre campus in Tipp City, Ohio, and a community of peers, advisors, and coaches who come together to develop small business owners and leaders.More about Aileron
Clay viewed education as the soul of a society, a belief he shared with MaryAnn. Together, they demonstrated their commitment to quality, accessible education through private giving and the Mathile Family Foundation.
Clay and MaryAnn deeply believed in the adage: “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” They saw education as a gateway to self-sufficiency, financial independence, and lifelong success, and shared a passion for empowering others — particularly underserved communities — with high-quality education.
Working side-by-side, they expressed that passion in their financial support of educational institutions — collegiate and K-12 alike — and scholarships, including the Parents Advancing Choice in Education (PACE).
Powered by Clay’s dream to use nutrition science to feed humans as well as we feed animals, the Mathiles sought to support philanthropic initiatives that met the basic needs of impoverished communities. Specifically, they focused significant time and resources on nutritional health.
In 1989, the Mathiles co-founded The Mathile Institute for the Advancement of Human Nutrition, an organization leveraging the science of nutrition to end the cycle of poverty for children in developing countries.
Recognizing that a lack of access to basic nutritional needs can have a devastating impact, the Mathile Institute developed Chispuditos®, a formula-like nutrient-dense food that combats childhood malnutrition. Chispuditos® are currently distributed throughout Central America.
The organization continues this meaningful work today and holds a vision to eliminate malnutrition in children ages 6 months to 6 years in Central America by 2030.