Sue and Brad Wyman on their tandem bike that has traveled with them from San Francisco to Santiago, Chile. Photo by Cheryl Senter.

Sue and Brad Wyman on their tandem bike that has traveled with them from San Francisco to Santiago, Chile. Photo by Cheryl Senter.

Philanthropy in tandem

Sue and Brad Wyman travel the world together, but their philanthropy happens in their backyard

Sue and Brad Wyman break down their tandem bike, pack it into suitcases and check it as airline baggage. When they reach their destination, they reassemble the bike and go. The Wymans have cycled the byways of Europe and the Americas.

But their philanthropy happens in their home state and North Country neighborhood.

The Wymans live far enough north that their south-facing porch overlooks the northern portion of the White Mountain National Forest. A pot of soup bubbles on the old cookstove; the winter’s wood is stacked inside the attached shed.

The two funds they established with the Foundation — the Susan H. Wyman Scholarship Fund and the donor advised Wyman Family Fund — are designed, respectively, to help college-bound math and science students from Berlin High School and to support broad charitable purposes, specifically in the areas of public policy, education and community development.

“We like the Foundation because it’s close to home, it’s New Hampshire, it’s North Country,” Sue begins, and Brad finishes: “We feel like we can have some effect.”

The Wymans met at Bates College. They were married after graduate school (Susan earned an M.A. in teaching from Harvard and Brad got a master’s in forestry from Yale) and joined the Peace Corps. They spent two years in Chile, working on reforestation and teaching.

Brad started as a forester at the Brown Company, a papermaking company in Berlin, and worked his way into management; Sue taught mathematics in Gorham and then Berlin for nearly three decades.

The Wymans have had a long association with the Foundation. Sue served on the selection committee for the Louise Tillotson Teaching Professional Development Scholarship, and Brad on the Foundation’s North Country Region advisory board.

The Wymans value the Foundation’s knowledge of the nonprofit landscape and its ability to manage funds productively and help guide and educate donors.

“They handle the money, and they have their rules and regulations to make sure it’s done fairly, and it just seemed a whole lot easier than trying to do it ourselves,” Sue says.

Travel is the Wymans’ one luxury — even if it’s not luxury-style travel. The couple agreed they would rather share what they have than spend it on things.

“In New Hampshire, and in the North Country,” Sue says, “We would like to make some small difference.”

This article originally appeared in our Fall 2013/Winter 2014 Purpose Newsletter.