Why We Give: Donor Stories

100 Black Men of Madison member Edward Murray reads to Orchard Ridge Elementary Students. MCF stewards a fund started by his organization.

Every day at MCF, donor stories about why they give inspire us:

Teachers determined to help all their students learn and thrive; women passionate about promoting careers in science for other women and girls; 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. 

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 Madison 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

100 Black Men of Madison: All Hands on Deck

When Madison native Chris Canty asked his father, Wayne, if he could join 100 Black Men of Madison, a youth leadership and development program for area youth, particularly young men of color, the response was direct and definitive: "Are you ready?"

Read more about 100 Black Men of Madison

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