Brad and Sue Wyman, who live in the North Country, have long had a donor-advised fund at the Charitable Foundation. They recommend grants from it consistently, year-over-year, for a variety of community needs — from helping families with basic necessities to supporting independent, nonprofit news reporting to protecting the environment. Sue, a retired teacher, also started a scholarship fund that helps Berlin High School graduates study math and science in college.
As the COVID-19 pandemic was re-shaping the world, it also re-shaped the way the couple thought about their giving.
In particular, they wanted to make sure that the amount they were recommending to grant from their donor-advised fund was proportional to what the current moment of crisis demanded.
“The metaphor would be a rainy day, and they don’t come any rainier than right now,” Brad said.
The Wymans had already recommended a generous contribution to the Community Crisis Action Fund in the spring, a fund created at the Charitable Foundation to help meet increased needs due to the public-health emergency. One hundred percent of contributions to that fund are granted out into the community.
But they decided that now was the time to do more — much more.
They reached out to Linda Gray, their philanthropy advisor at the Charitable Foundation. The three — who know one another from the community as well as through Sue’s involvement as a member of the Charitable Foundation’s North Country Regional Advisory Board — met over the phone.
Brad and Sue then discussed the possibilities with their son and daughter-in-law, who are also advisors to their fund. They discussed nonprofits where they might give to help meet urgent needs, and also reviewed the list of grants made by the Foundation in response to COVID-19 from the Community Crisis Action Fund and other funds. They decided to make an additional ten-fold contribution from what they had done previously.
Their additional contribution amounted to nearly a third of the total in their fund.
“One of the good things about donating it to the Charitable Foundation’s crisis fund is that they’re looking all the time at who has the most need and if something arises suddenly they would know about it before we would,” Sue said.
The Foundation is encouraging its donors to recommend generous grants from donor-advised funds to help communities weather the COVID-19 crisis and its economic fallout — and to aid in recovery. Staff work closely with fund-holders to suggest giving options to meet urgent needs.
“Our message is: recommend generous grants from your charitable funds, and give as much as you feel you are able to from other resources — both directly to nonprofits and to crisis response funds,” said Richard Ober, president and CEO of the Charitable Foundation. “We have never in our lifetimes seen such urgent need, and that need is going to continue for the foreseeable future as our communities rebuild and recover from this crisis.”
The Wymans hope that others in a position to give might follow suit.
“I guess we would point out that this is as rainy as the day gets,” Brad said, “and this is the time to activate your fund in a big way.”
If you are a fund-holder at the Charitable Foundation and would like to discuss ways to support New Hampshire communities during this time of great need, contact your Foundation philanthropy advisor or call 1-800-464-6641 and choose option three for donor services.
To learn more about how the Foundation helps generous individuals, families and businesses maximize the power of their giving, contact Laura Rauscher, director of development and philanthropy services, at 1-800-464-6641 ext. 274 or Laura.Rauscher@nhcf.org.