Who is Toby’s Dream?

Founded in 2009, Toby’s Dream Foundation is dedicated to bringing joy to children with life-threatening illnesses by granting them a Dream of a lifetime. This charitable foundation is focused on serving children who are treated and referred from Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters and from Naval Medical Center Portsmouth. Most of these children live on the  Eastern Shore of Virginia and Greater Hampton Roads, which includes Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Yorktown, Isle of Wight, and parts of Eastern North Carolina and more. However, Toby’s Dream Foundation will serve any child that is treated at CHKD or Portsmouth Naval Medical Center regardless of where they live.

Joan Steele, Executive
Director and Founder of TDF

Executive Director and Founder, Joan Steele, is driven by her passion for this mission.  Joan saw the need to create a local charitable foundation to serve local children, so she developed a strong network of local hospitals, volunteers and businesses throughout the region – who all come together to grant the Dreams of these children.

By bringing to life the Dreams of children in our own community, we can create extraordinary experiences for children who face an uncertain tomorrow, which allows them to continue believing in the possibility of a moment unencumbered and a life full of hope.

Who is Toby?

Toby Vaught, namesake of TDF

Toby’s Dream Foundation is named for and inspired by Toby Vaught, a young man from Hampton Roads. Toby was a man who found tremendous inspiration from the lives of those around him, especially the lives of youth who courageously fought ailments presenting themselves on psychological, physical and biological battlefields. Toby generously devoted much of his life to volunteering to ensure these young warriors never lost sight of their dreams and never failed to make the imaginative leaps their healthy peers were regularly making.

Toby’s love for people was unmistakable and his passion for making children’s dreams come true was contagious. He recruited friends and family to join him in his quest to touch the lives of these special children. Unfortunately, Toby tragically lost his own life at the age of 29. However, his angelic spirit and contagious devotion to realizing the dreams of children forever lives on through Toby’s Dream Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that accepts charitable contributions, gifts, donations, planned giving, and philanthropy to local children with life-threatening illnesses.

Our Guiding Principles






Board of Directors

Don Coberly, Interim President
(Atria Management Company)

Elaine Shulman, Secretary
(East Coast District Manager, Nalco Company, LLC)

Christina Minton, Treasurer
(Minton CPA’s & Associates, PLLC)

LCDR Matthew Willette, Director
(Dream Dad- Delta Airlines Pilot)

Dave Stephens, Director

Dawn Brown, Director
(Insource Consulting)

Marlyn Fabrizio, Director