Strengthening a Community

Like many younger donors, Johnathan and Kay Hill understand the societal impact of philanthropy.

For Kay, managing director of Furman Capital, a division of NAI Earle Furman, the idea that members of a community should do their part to strengthen it—including setting aside resources for that purpose—was instilled in her as a young child, and reinforced as she and her siblings grew up.

Several years ago, her parents started a family foundation focused on making grants to small organizations dedicated to education and child welfare in Greenville and the cities where her sisters live. “My whole family is involved in researching organizations every year and voting in a competitive process on who gets funded,” Kay says. “It has been a great vehicle to learn about the important work being done in our communities.”

Just as it was important for her parents, Gil and Perry Gilreath, to pass on their sense of civic duty, the Hills want to set an example for their children, Gil, 6, Glover, 4, and McLaren, 1. When the couple began to put down roots and develop a long-term giving philosophy of their own, they looked for a convenient, flexible option to manage charitable funds. In 2000, the Gilreaths had established a donor advised fund (DAF) with the Community Foundation. After consulting with their accountant, Kay and Johnathan chose this option as well, as a tax-efficient, cost-effective way to give locally or across the country.

“Because we are both in sales roles, there are bountiful and lean years,” Kay says. “Donor-advised funds create a stable platform for giving, and make financial sense from a tax perspective.”

Kay, a member of the CFG board now in her sixth year serving on the Grants Review Committee, and a member of Greenville Women Giving, says knowing that the groups receiving grants have been carefully vetted adds another layer of comfort.

Both Kay and Johnathan, a technology consultant, take an active role in the organizations they support financially. Kay has served for six years on the board of The Family Effect, including two as chair. “One of the most compelling reasons I became involved with The Family Effect was that it works to keep children out of the foster care system. Not only is it the right thing to help families, it is also the smart thing financially to do to strengthen our community,” she says.

After volunteering and serving as an advisor, Johnathan recently joined the board of Rebuild Upstate, a nonprofit that provides volunteers and materials to repair and improve existing homes for disabled, low-income, and elderly people.

“We’ve been fortunate in our careers to have the financial resources and the time to get involved,” Johnathan says. “We believe to have a community that’s successful it’s important to lead by example, and Greenville has shown that over the years; it’s our generation’s turn to continue that leadership.”

"We've been fortunate in our careers to have the financial resources and the time to get involved. We believe to have a community that's successful it's important to lead by example, and Greenville has shown that over the years; it's our generation's turn to continue that leadership."

Johnathan Hill

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