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If Warren Buffett had a “biggest fan,” it just might be Harold Leupp.

“My dad idolizes Warren Buffett,” said his daughter, Melissa. And Harold agrees. “I’m a huge admirer of what he’s accomplished, and the kind of person he is,” Harold stated.

In fact, the two men have many things in common – midwestern roots, a hard-working, entrepreneurial spirit that took hold in their youth, a commitment to philanthropy – and as his civil engineering career advanced, Harold applied Buffett’s principles to become a successful investor, too. “When each of the kids graduated from college, we gave them stock in Cedar Point” he said. “I wanted to start them out investing right away.”

For both Harold and his wife Carol, philanthropy also started early in life. “When we were kids and attended the Delta Presbyterian Church, we’d put pennies in the collection box as kids,” said Harold. “Sharing with others is a basic Christian concept.”

Harold also admires Warren Buffett’s emphasis on his children’s financial independence, and the fact that the Buffett children are all active philanthropists. So when Harold and Carol were considering the family’s holiday gifts this year, they decided to encourage their own children’s philanthropy by giving each of them their own GTCF donor advised fund.

Photo: The Leupp family, Christmas 2019. Pictured in back (left to right): Chris Corbett, Michael Corbett, Meghan Corbett, Jordan Leupp, Erin Leupp and Chris Leupp. In front: Sarah Corbett, Blythe Leupp, Melissa Leupp, Carol Leupp, Harold Leupp and Patti Leupp.

Said Carol, “We’ve had a donor advised fund at the Foundation for a while,” noting that they use their fund to support arts and education groups, people in need, the Village of Delta and their local church. Harold added, “I could be a salesman for the Foundation. We have 24 organizations that we give to. And the Foundation does such a wonderful job — it takes all the work right out of it. We thought it would be perfect for the kids.”

“I was very pleased,” said Melissa about her father’s gift, noting that it was very fitting given his admiration for Buffett. “When we came home for the holidays, Dad brought each of us — me, my sister Sarah and my brother, Christopher — into his office and gave us a briefing on how he had established funds for each of us for our charitable giving. He explained how he and Mom had a fund of their own and how they used it.”

Melissa, a school occupational therapist in Arlington, Virginia, particularly appreciated the ability to be more strategic about her giving. “In the past,” she said, “I’ve had limited ability to contribute to organizations that are important to me. Because I’m so involved with education in my community and a mother, too, I’m looking to support causes that I don’t have time to devote myself to.”

Not surprisingly, Melissa is interested in supporting education with her fund, an interest shared by her mother, who worked for a few years as a schoolteacher. “I also want to use my fund to support social causes and the environment,” she said. “My parents’ gift will allow my giving to have more intention and more impact.”

Establish Your Fund

The Leupp Family found Donor Advised Funds at the Foundation to be the perfect way to continue their family’s long interest in local giving, while giving them the flexibility to focus on causes that match their varied and changing interests. Learn how to establish your own Donor Advised Fund.

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