Having served on the Foundation Board from 1991 - 1999, the last three as president, Steve recalls that "While serving as president, it occurred to me that the RCF is a 'public utility' - an incredible tool for estate planners who want to offer valuable options for charitable giving." Appreciated for their advocacy in support of the RCF, Steve and Jeri have also made a personal commitment by establishing the Stephen J. and Jerilyn S. Smith Fund. Steve continues to serve as legal counsel for the RCF.
After 30+ years of service as a Racine physician, Foundation Member of the Corporation Robert (Bob) Siegert, and his wife Sue, stepped forward in 2010 to establish the Susan and Robert Siegert, M.D. Fund at the Racine Community Foundation. Bob says, "I strongly believe that if you profit from the community you live in, you are responsible to give back to that community." For that reason Bob encourages others to do the same when they are in a position to do so. Bob and Sue's 'Donor Advised Fund' allows them to play an active role in making decisions regarding how their funds are distributed. However, as a seven-year member of the RCF's Grants Committee, Bob has had a front-seat opportunity to intimately observe the Foundation's operations and he says, "I am so impressed with how the Foundation conducts business that I have left my fund intact and I let them decide on how best to use, and grow, my contribution."
Nancy Smith has dedicated ten years of service as a site coordinator for Emmaus Lutheran Church's Neighborhood Camp - a summer enrichment program for underserved children. She also currently serves as director for the Emmaus After School for Youth (EASY) program. According to Nancy, "It has been heartwarming to watch students grow to become responsible young men and women who now serve as staff and volunteers for both programs." In 2011, Nancy, and her husband, Art, decided to do even more for the students who worked at or attended those summer camps. They established the Racine ECLA Neighborhood Camp Scholarship through the Racine Community Foundation. Providing scholarships for Racine County Latino students who have financial hardship or difficulty obtaining student loans, Nancy says, "Art and I feel strongly about the need for continuing education. We want to encourage our young people to dream of what can be and to help them grow into their full potential."
The increasing success of the Racine Community Foundation is the result of its responsiveness to the needs of the community - not only as a grant-making organization, or networking resource for other non-profits, but also as a home base for those who seek to begin, or grow, their charitable giving.
Read some of the Donor responses and feedback to our approach.
Bob Guth and his family are the kind of folks whose actions follow their values.
When Bob's father, Karle - a well-known and long-respected Waterford school board member - passed away, Bob's aunt suggested that he and his brothers consider honoring their father and his commitment to education and civic leadership by establishing a scholarship for college-bound students in his name.
Bob and his brothers, James and Jerry - all three of whom, like their aunt, are history teachers - couldn't have agreed more. With a substantial contribution from their aunt, the brothers pooled their personal resources, added the many gifts from family and friends made in his honor and memory, and created the Karle P. Guth Scholarship. "My father would enjoy knowing he's still helping students," Bob says, adding, "College is expensive and not all students are born with silver spoons. We hope our scholarship will provide that encouragement."
True to the entire family's commitment to higher education, and their varied interests in agri-business, history and political science, the scholarship assists a Waterford Union High School graduating senior who will attend UW-Madison to pursue a degree in one of those academic fields. "We're very pleased with the Racine Community Foundation," Bob says. "They have been very accommodating and we know our scholarship is in good hands."
As an intern at a local law firm in the summer of 1975, Steve heard excited noises coming from a conference room where several noteworthy Racine citizens had gathered. He later learned that the noise signified a celebratory, auspicious occasion - the founding of the Racine Community Foundation! From that day on, Steve, along with his wife, Jeri, were fated to have their lives interwoven with the work of the Foundation.