Connection to place is in the Weeks family DNA.
Leonard Weeks came to the New World as an indentured servant more than a century before American colonists fought to make a nation of their own. His son Samuel’s home, in Greenland, is now a museum. John Wingate Weeks, a descendant of Leonard, gave his name to the Weeks Act of 1911 – which created the White Mountain National Forest.
And then there was the ice cream.
John “Jack” Weeks, Jr., another of Leonard’s descendants, grew up in Laconia and Gilford. His father started a business in 1930 delivering raw milk door-to-door in a Model A Ford.
In one generation, that business would grow into Weeks Dairy, the state’s largest milk and ice cream processor and distributor – and Jack would become its president. The Weeks Dairy Bar in Laconia, which opened in 1947 (and other branches of Weeks restaurants) were iconic to generations of Granite State ice cream lovers.
Giving back to their place is also in the Weeks family DNA. “My biggest influence about giving was my father,” Jack Weeks said. The Weeks had always been generous and active members of their community.
When the dairy was sold in 1988, Jack and his wife Pat opened a donor-advised fund at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, kicking off decades of support to dozens of New Hampshire nonprofit organizations.
Pat Weeks – who has worked as a dental hygienist in some of New Hampshire’s poorest school districts – wanted, in particular, to help children in need.
“Some of these kids, there’s just nobody for them,” she said. And Jack adds: “Kids need more people to speak up for them in the state house.”
Jack Weeks also served in the New Hampshire legislature, on the Charitable Foundation’s and New Hampshire Public Radio’s boards of directors, and was a founding member of the UNH Foundation.
Like the generations before them, Jack and Pat Weeks have passed on their philanthropic values to their children.
The Foundation will be around well after we are not, to help our children carry on the family’s involvement in philanthropy.- John WeeksTweet This
Their son, John Weeks III and his wife, Gail, recently opened their own donor-advised fund at the Foundation with a gift of stock. Gifts from their fund mean that stock has been transformed into good works in New Hampshire communities – from the preservation of natural landscapes to access to the arts and support of the local United Way.
John Weeks III is Managing Director of Family Wealth & Business Transition Planning at Harvest Capital in Concord. He serves on the Foundation’s Manchester Region Advisory Board and has served on numerous nonprofit boards, including The Nature Conservancy in New Hampshire. Gail Weeks is deeply involved in community and school endeavors – and was recently presented with an “Unsung Hero” award for doing the thousands of invaluable things that help make a community strong.
The Foundation, John Weeks said, helps his family to “‘gift with confidence’ to the neediest organizations that match up with our priorities, and introduces and aligns us with like-minded donors from around the state.” And, he said, “The Foundation will be around well after we are not, to help our children carry on the family’s involvement in philanthropy.”
John and Gail Weeks are committed to passing on their own philanthropic values to sons Andrew, Matt and Tim.
As a wealth manager, John Weeks understands “how philanthropy can be used to bring families together.” A donor-advised fund, to which the children may be named successor advisors, can be “a vehicle to prompt the conversation with kids about philanthropy.” It’s a conversation he had with his boys on Father’s Day.
New Hampshire is this family’s place. For generations, they have shown it by giving.