A major gift from a long-time Lawrence family once again highlights the great work people and their donations are achieving through the Douglas County Community Foundation.
This week’s announcement of a gift from the Gill/Harrison family included no dollar amount but the donation was described as the largest single legacy gift in the foundation’s 13-year history. The contribution honors the 90-year history of the Gill and Harrison family in Lawrence and their involvement in the real estate and insurance businesses as well as local civic affairs. That legacy began in 1923 with M.R. and Blanche Grey Gill and continued through their daughter, Pauline, and her husband, Bob Harrison, and was passed on through their grandson, Phil Harrison, and his wife, Beth. Now, the family’s legacy will live on in this community through its generous donation to the Douglas County Community Foundation.
That puts the Gill/Harrison family in some pretty special company of people who have wanted to give back to a community they called home. The DCCF was founded in 2000 with a $4 million gift from the late Tensie Oldfather. By the end of 2012, the foundation’s assets had grown to over $21 million deposited in 140 charitable funds, according to the DCCF annual report. During 2012, 20 new charitable funds were created, and $1.6 million was donated to the foundation, attracting $206,000 in matching grants and funds from the Kansas Health Foundation.
During 2012, DCCF distributed about $2 million to support various community efforts. The list of recipients includes most of the community’s non-profit organizations. According to the DCCF website the foundation’s mission is to connect “the diverse citizens and communities of Douglas County, Kansas through charitable action.” That includes “providing attractive options for donors,” as well as “being a catalyst for improving the lives of Douglas County citizens.”
The Gill/Harrison family and all the donors who went before them set a wonderful example for everyone who wants to give back to the community they love. This foundation allows donors to target money to causes they care about and feel confident that their donations will be well managed and distributed according to their wishes.
It’s a great gift for both donors and recipients and a wonderful community-building tool for Lawrence and Douglas County.