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Joyce and Chuck Ames

Donor Spotlight: The Ames Family Foundation

The Northeast Ohio community lost a generous and visionary member when Joyce “Jay” Eichhorn Ames passed away at the age of 95 on November 23, 2021.  Jay married Chuck Ames on September 9, 1950, eventually establishing their roots in Cleveland and raising three children – Paula, Richard and Cynthia, as well as eight grandchildren.  Jay was preceded in death by Chuck, who passed away in 2017. 

Chuck and Jay Ames met at Illinois Wesleyan, after Chuck returned from four years of service in the South Pacific where he was a decoder during World War II. On their first date, Jay tucked a $10 bill in her pocket just in case the date didn’t go as planned and she needed to get a cab ride home. As it turned out, she found Chuck to be charming and this first date blossomed into what became a life-long partnership. Chuck and Jay both graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University.   They were married in Rockford, Illinois on September 9, 1950, and so began their journey that eventually brought them to Cleveland, Ohio.  It is here that they began to establish their roots, raise a family and leave their mark on their city.  

The Ames family have been generous supporters of the YMCA of Greater Cleveland for over twenty years.  Through their family foundation – The Ames Family Foundation – which was established in 1996, Chuck and Jay have donated more than $200,000 to support the Hillcrest Family YMCA.  The family has a strong connection to the Hillcrest YMCA, where Chuck began working out when he moved from New York to Cleveland in 1963 to open the Cleveland office of McKinsey.  Chuck immediately was drawn to the youth participating in programs at the YMCA.

The Hillcrest YMCA has long been a recipient of annual support by the Ames Family.  Philanthropic support through the family has helped support the Hillcrest branch’s ongoing programmatic and operating needs, sending kids to summer camp and supporting meaningful capital projects that address need and upgrade/improve the appearance or member’s experience.  

Chuck and Jay were generous and long-standing supporters of many nonprofit organizations locally and nationally, with an emphasis on the visual arts, hospice care, and Illinois Wesleyan University – Jay’s alma mater.  The Ames family’s support was instrumental in creating a central atrium within The Cleveland Museum of Art and the Ames Family Hospice House at the Hospice of the Western Reserve.  According to Catherine Veres, CPA for The Ames Family Foundation – the family’s foundation supports many needs but prioritizes educational needs and “the alleviation of human suffering.”