Why We Give: Donor Stories

Anne Iwata at the Madison Public Library Central Library
Anne Iwata chose to support Madison Public Libraries and early music education through MCF.

Every day at MCF, we are inspired by stories from donors about why they give and how they choose to support what matters most to them.

Women wanting to provide others with a boost toward success; teachers determined to help all their students learn and thrive; couples passionate about their communities; men dedicated to mentoring at-risk boys; families honoring a loved one’s legacy; parents who want to teach their children the importance of giving; couples who share a passion for the arts. What inspires your giving?

Givers are all around us. Here are some of their stories. 

A Legacy Built on a Lifetime of Involvement

Jenifer Winiger finds joy in seeing the impact of philanthropy spreading in the community. That's one of the reasons leaving a legacy through MCF felt so comfortable to her.

Discover how Jen built her legacy and who she is honoring through it.

Giving With a Sense of Gratitude

Sharifa Merchant's giving is rooted in gratitude. She began creating her legacy after her husband's death, establishing a charitable gift annuity for Agrace in gratitude for the care they provided during her husband's final days.

Watch Sharifa explain how she is using CGAs to create a legacy during her lifetime.

Supporting the Community That Shaped Him

Wynn Davies came to Madison for college and fell in love with the community around. The Loree and Wynn Davies Family Fund support MCF's Community Impact Fund and will support the community that helped shape them for generations to come.

Read more about Wynn's dedication to the Madison community.

Planting Seeds for Future Generations

After her husband's unexpected death, Anne Iwata created the Anne Iwata and Darren Stucker Fund for Music Education and the Anne Iwata and Darren Stucker Fund (for libraries) at MCF to honor the values they shared.

Read about how Anne used her giving as a way to remember and to share.

Watch Anne share her story.

Leaving a Legacy for Women Artists

Brenda Baker and Bird Ross wanted to create opportunities to recognize, support and honor women artists and their contributions. From this dream, the Women Artists Forward Fund was born.

Watch how Baker and Ross created a fund to make their dream a reality.

Cheri Teal's Plans for Removing Barriers

Growing up, Cheri Teal's father had to miss out on many things because his physical disabilities, caused by an accident, made access impossible. Cheri's legacy will ensure that others have the opportunity to participate fully.

Read how Cheri Teal's legacy will remove barriers.

Giving Back, a Way of Life for the Middlecamps

For Cathy and Ralph Middlecamp, giving back to their community is a way of life. The Middlecamps have two funds with MCF: one honoring their son, John, and one supporting their current passions.

Read the Middlecamp's story about why they give.

A Fund For Healing: The Legacy of Captain John "Hans" Kurth

Captain John "Hans" Kurth lost his life fighting in Iraq. To ensure Hans' memory lives on, his family started a memorial fund in his name that provides support to veterans needing assistance readjusting to civilian life.

Read the full story on Hans and his memorial fund

Transformational Giving by Bill & Jan DeAtley

Bill & Jan DeAtley have been strong supporters of the Madison community and have provided gifts to many area nonprofits, helping bring them to the next level with their giving. They recently chose to move their family foundation to MCF to simplify their giving.

Watch the DeAtleys share their story.

Pat and Helen Sheahan Are Honoring Their Son by Helping Others

When Pat and Helen Sheahan's son was killed in a car accident, they chose to honor his memory by creating the Michael Sheahan Memorial Scholarship, which has become a way to keep alive what he might have accomplished in his life.

Read the Sheahan's story.

Chuck Bauer & Chuck Beckwith Are Supporting the Community That Supported Them

Chuck Bauer and Chuck Beckwith, founders of the Soap Opera, use their donor advised fund at MCF to support organizations working in areas that matter to them -- especially arts and the environment.

Watch as Chuck and Chuck share their story.

Honoring Bella Sobah's Passion for Justice

Bella Sobah was guided throughout her life by her passion for justice. After Bella's untimely death at age 25, her family and friends chose to honor her memory by creating a fund that recognized her passion.

Watch the story behind the Bella Sobah Memorial Fund for Social Justice.

Helping Pave the Way for Others to Succeed: The Julius Morgan and Verona L. Morgan Scholarship Fund

Julius Morgan believed that education was the foundation for everything. When he passed away, his family chose to honor his memory by creating a scholarship fund.

Read more about Verona and Julius Morgan.

Tillie Ripley: A Legacy of Unending Compassion

Tillie Ripley had a passion for justice, and enjoyed working with MCF to support local nonprofits, helping right where she lived.

Read more about Tillie.

Ariel Ford: Giving Back in a Meaningful Way

Ariel grew up feeling the influence of strong women in her life, and knowing the power of women helping others. That's why she's planning a legacy that will give other women that a boost to help them be successful.

Read more about Ariel.

Jennifer Seeker Conroy and Tim Conroy: Supporting Women and Girls

As the chair of the Advisory Committee for A Fund for Women (AFFW), Jennifer Seeker Conroy regularly sees value that comes from women supporting other women. That’s why she and her husband Tim support AFFW with their legacy gift.

Read more about Jennifer and Tim.

Bill Tierney and Valerlie Nehls: A Passion for Portage

As a former two-time mayor and long-time resident of Portage, Bill Tierney is a dedicated supporter of his community – both today and into the future. He and Valerie Nehls also share a passion for saving lives. Their giving supports both.

Read more about Bill and Valerie.

Donna Beestman: The Ripple Effect

Longtime Madisonian Donna Beestman decided to make her commitment to A Fund for Women part of her legacy.

Read more about Donna Beestman.

Nancy Boebel: The Grateful Giver

Lake Mills resident and business owner Nancy Boebel is teaching her grandchildren the value of helping other people.

Read more about Nancy Boebel.

Steve Morton: An Enchanted Forest

An important part of Steve Morton’s legacy came together when he discovered a way to protect and preserve his family’s 120-acre retreat within the picturesque Driftless Area of southwest Wisconsin through Madison Community Foundation.

Read more about Steve Morton.

Mary Burke: Unlocking Our Community's Potential

A conversation with fundholder, Legacy Society member, and former Board member Mary Burke.

Read more about Mary Burke.

James Tye and Gabriel Neves: Leaving a Lakes Legacy

When James Tye and Gabriel Neves decided to leave a charitable giving legacy, two words drove their decision: "Madison" and "lakes."

Read more about James Tye and Gabriel Neves

The Stark Family's Long Legacy: History Lesson

Phil Stark has fond childhood memories of visiting his father, Paul, in the building that’s now home to Madison Community Foundation. Built in 1926 to house the office of The Paul E. Stark Company, now Stark Company Realtors, the historic structure was revitalized and reopened as Austin Place in 2014 by the Block 100 Foundation created by Jerry Frautschi and Pleasant Rowland.

Read more about the Stark Family

Orange and Dean Schroeder: The Art of Giving

Orange’s Fund for the Arts supports annual scholarships available to all high school graduates who have participated in the Madison Youth Choirs and Dean’s fund supports UW Opera as well as Dean and Orange’s own nonprofit, the Handel Aria Competition. 

Read more about Orange and Dean Schroeder

Mann Educational Opportunity Fund: On Their Way

The Mann Educational Opportunity Fund is a scholarship honoring Bernard and Kathlyn Mann, longtime Madison residents whose strong belief in education helped ensure the graduation of their five children from Madison Memorial High School and later from universities.

Read more about The Mann Educational Opportunity Fund

Tom Popp: Doing Global Good

Some people play golf in retirement. Tom Popp chose philanthropy.

Read more about Tom Popp

Jane Earl: Planning for the Future

Jane Earl wants to ensure her favorite causes in her favorite community are supported forever.

Read more about Jane Earl

Roberta Gassman and Lester Pines: For the Love of Madison

Roberta Gassman and Lester Pines are leaving a legacy to a community they love.

Read more about Roberta Gassman and Lester Pines

Donor's Gift Will Grow Forever: Taking Root

An $8,000 gift from a donor-advised fund at Madison Community Foundation is enabling Dane County Parks and Operation Fresh Start (OFS) to team up for trees.

Read more about this gift

Carol & John Toussaint: A Path to Giving

Carol and John Toussaint’s path to charitable giving began early in life.

Read more about Carol & John Toussaint

Sally & John Ouellette: The Joy of Giving

When Sally and John Ouellette took a financial advisor’s suggestion and created the Ouellette Family Donor Advised Fund, they never imagined the joy it would bring them. Now, nearly two decades later, the endowment has allowed them to give away more than their original investment. Not only that, the fund today is worth more.

Read more about Sally & John Ouellette

Jane Coleman: A Home for Big Ideas

Jane Coleman loves big-picture thinking - and big-picture giving. That's why she named Madison Community Foundation as a beneficiary in her will to make sure big ideas have a home for generations to come. 

Read more about Jane Coleman

The good thing about working with the community foundation is, you discover how many more people share your heart.”
- Norma Madsen, donor, Legacy Society

Learn more about Ways to Give