Inspiring Stewards of Giving
Wisdom from our parents can stay with us for a lifetime.
Wisdom from our parents can stay with us for a lifetime. In Skip Gordon’s case, his father’s advice to open doors that you pass by has come back to him many times over the years. “Halfway through grad school, I was caught up in the Vietnam draft,” Gordon recalls. His tour of duty involved translation, a skill he also used to volunteer to teach English at a local school. In this, his first significant contact with people of a different culture and religion, Gordon quickly discovered what happens when you open a door. “If you strip away politics and religion, we are all alike,” he recalls, “I also learned that giving itself has enormous rewards.”
Skip and his wife Carrie moved to Greenville from Michigan in 2008. The two began immersing themselves in the community through philanthropy and volunteering. Although they have established scholarships at their respective alma maters (Ohio State and University of Michigan) they felt strongly about making an impact locally, too. Informed by her time in the engineering school at Ohio State, Carrie says, “When I reflect back, I appreciate people who wanted to develop a sense of community throughout the years.”
Bringing this forward, Skip and Carrie became involved with the Community Foundation of Greenville (CFG) as Annual Campaign donors, Donor Advised Fund holders, and Legacy Society Members. Carrie is a member of Greenville Women Giving and Skip serves on CFG’s Capacity Building Grants committee.
The two believe that their donor-advised fund satisfies the twin objectives of giving locally while ensuring they can make the kind of impact that is sustainable, along the lines of the adage: “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
The Gordons’ donor-advised fund allows them to accumulate additional funding outside of their normal giving so that they are able to give more in turn. Although they could have set up a fund elsewhere, they choose to work with the Community Foundation because of the personal relationship as well as the added value of the depth of insight it offers for a long-term giving strategy.
For his part, Skip has also enjoyed serving on the Capacity Building Grants committee to help organizations fulfill their mission. He and his wife are not reluctant to fund operating expenses and independently gave to Community Works and the Warehouse Theatre this year because of what he learned on this committee. More recently, they decided to help a new organization that may have a hard time applying for a grant since it’s not well established.
The two continue to deliver Meals on Wheels two times a month near Brandon Mill as they have since coming to Greenville nine years ago. Carrie points out that volunteering with United Ministries at Place of Hope working with those who are homeless or in transition has been most gratifying, too, as they help get people ready for jobs or take the GED.
That’s why they encourage others, even those who are in the thick of building their careers, to take time out to volunteer. Carrie says the best thing is you get genuine appreciation, rather than the business-focused bottom line. “Helping others offsets some of the bad news in the world today. It’s important to seek out good news,” she adds.
Helping others offsets some of the bad news in the world today. It's important to seek out good news."