Remembering conversations around the dinner table with his grandfather and father about philanthropy, David K. Welles, Sr. says making financial donations to great causes is just second nature for him.
"It's always been a part of my life. But it's something that has to be taught," he adds with full agreement from Georgia, his wife.
Realizing it's never too early to start, Georgia established the Granny Fund, a Donor Advised Fund, at the Toledo Community Foundation for their three grandchildren who call Perrysburg home. A Donor Advised Fund gives named advisors to the fund the opportunity to be active in making grants from the fund.
"I felt it was important for them to get started in giving at an early age and have the opportunity to make decisions. It is up to them to decide if they want to disburse interest from the Fund collectively or if each child wants to support individual interests," she explains.
When the last grandchild reaches the age of 25, the Granny Fund dissolves and any remaining money will be distributed to the Foundation's Youth Philanthropy Fund, which supports programs to teach high school students about philanthropy.
The Granny Fund has given support to Assistance Dogs of America, Black Swamp Conservancy, and Cherry Street Mission, all of the Toledo area, and Magdalene House in Nashville, Tennessee.
"Our grandchildren are learning and are now involved in our family foundation that works throughout the country to prevent children from being at-risk. They are full participants in what we support and probably make more site visits to programs supporting children with disadvantaged backgrounds than we do," confesses Georgia.
Their support of children is felt close to home with the Welles' Fund for Children & Youth at the Foundation. This Field of Interest Fund supports the educational and developmental needs of disadvantaged children in the greater Toledo area.
The Fund has enriched programs at Leadership Toledo, East Toledo Family Center, Connecting Point, Planned Parenthood of Northwest Ohio, YMCA of Greater Toledo and the Wood County Educational Service Center, just to name a few.
"Foundation staff work very hard to match our goals with the needs of the area. We are hopeful that our support helps children live better lives," says David.
The Welles are extremely proud of their five children who all are philanthropic in their own ways and with the family's foundation.
The Welles 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.Ways To Give
"Our children give financial support and expertise to many worthwhile organizations. All have taken leadership roles at various educational institutions throughout the country," says David, recalling his wife's presidency on the Maumee Valley Country Day School Board of Trustees and as a Board member of the National Association of Independent Schools.
Chicago area natives, the Welles moved to Toledo in 1955 for David's work with Owens Corning and their children were raised here. One of their recent donations to the community is the Georgia and David K. Welles Sculpture Garden at the Toledo Museum of Art.
"It's a continual joy to watch people explore the garden. Adults and children seem to love it and we love giving a gift that makes so many happy," says David, who served two terms as the Museum's chairman.
With the Cricket Fund, their third Fund at the Foundation, the couple makes donations to the Museum and other charitable organizations of their choice. This Donor Directed Pooled Fund is named for the Canadian island where they spend their summers.
After leaving Owens Corning in 1961, David started his own company, Therma-Tru the following year. Although the company has been sold, the Welles have not slowed down. One of Georgia's many projects is serving on the board of governors for The Nature Conservatory that works internationally to protect and preserve important natural lands and waters. One of David's new projects is Operation Hope that improves the lives of migrant families who pick citrus fruit in the Indian River region of Florida.
"We feel that we are leading by example for our family. We're so fortunate to have the Toledo Community Foundation. It makes it so easy to make investments, disburse funds and better the community. It's truly a community asset offering an excellent vehicle to support so many wonderful causes," concludes Georgia.