As a banking family who is deeply rooted within their region, the White family wanted their philanthropy to make a lasting impact on their community while entrusting the family legacy in the hands of future generations.
We sat down with parents Jim and Peggy, and their grown children Matt and Maureen, to discuss the family’s legacy giving plan they’ve set up through the Community Foundations of Southwest Iowa, which are affiliates of the Omaha Community Foundation. Deeply involved in their rural communities, each family member spoke passionately about giving, volunteering, and being a part of local community life.
Jim White is a co-founder and chairman of the board for Westside State Bank, which has six branches throughout the region. Peggy has a background in—and passion for—healthcare. She is also a board member at their local regional hospital, St. Anthony, in Carroll, Iowa, for which the family has established an endowment through the Crawford County Community Foundation.
Jim and Peggy’s son, Matt, has taken on the family business, serving as the CEO and president of the bank. Their daughter, Maureen, is not an employee but is deeply involved with the bank’s philanthropic programs, especially a program in four local schools that teaches financial literacy to students.
CREATING A LASTING, LIFESAVING ENDOWMENT
Several years ago, the White Family established an endowment at the community foundation—to work together with others in their community who also saw and contributed to the need—to build a cancer center at their beloved local hospital. The St. Anthony Cancer Center will open at the end of 2020, giving patients access to treatment close to home and graciously eliminating the nearly 200-mile round trip drive to Omaha that patients have had to make until now.
Peggy, who serves on the board of directors of the hospital, says, “The cancer center will be a state of the art facility that serves the whole region—which is eight counties. There is a huge need in our area with 1,100 new cancer cases each year. The ability to treat people closer to home is so important when you’re sick. My father-in-law used to be a volunteer to drive people the 90 miles from Carroll to Omaha for treatment. Going down, the patients would be fine, but coming home they’d be so sick. This will make it so much more convenient and comfortable for patients and their families.” Peggy added that in addition to top-notch care for patients, the center will host support groups for patients and their families.
“It really hit home for us when two of our bank employees were fighting a battle with cancer,” Peggy shares. “It all fell together beautifully because they both found out they were cancer-free at the same time that we gave the donation for the cancer center through Westside State Bank. So we threw a party and they each got to sign a beam at the cancer center. It called for a celebration.”
Jim shares the logistics side, noting,
“We set up the endowment in a way that not a lot of people are familiar with. We didn’t invent it by any means, but it’s a way for people to give money and take advantage of the tax benefits now while the long-term benefits are put toward the project. It’s a new outlet for people to invest and we learned that we could give a little more because we got the Endow Iowa tax credits.”
He goes on to explain that it might not be the right fit for everyone, but it worked really well for this project and others the family has done.
Iowa Foundations Director, Stacey Goodman, agrees that it was a good direction to take. “The White Family was really creative in their thinking. So often people are thinking about the immediate impact of their gift. And the family in this case did such a great job of thinking long-term to create a community asset that would benefit the entire region for years to come.” She continues,
“Their giving is going to make an impact in real-time, but the endowment assures sustaining support for the long term.”
GUIDING FUTURE GENERATIONS TO GIVE WITH A FLEXIBLE, UNRESTRICTED FUND
In addition to the agency endowment, the family chose to also create a Donor Advised Fund that would give future generations the power to make their own contributions to the community. While the agency endowment assures sustaining support for the cancer center, a donor advised fund gives the youngest generation—Benicio, Giada, and Liam—the flexibility to adapt their giving plan as their personal passions develop and community needs change over time.
“The things that Peggy and I will think of today may be irrelevant 50 years from now. So this gives our family flexibility to adapt with time,” says Jim. “Yes,” Peggy adds, “The kids and the grandkids will see what the needs are at that time.”
Matt and Maureen both speak to watching Jim and Peggy’s community service as an inspiration for their own. They hope to pass this on to their own children.
“Living in a small town, you see how much your effort can make a difference,” says Maureen. “I lived in a larger city when I went to college and I never thought about the library there. But when I moved back, that changed. Here, the library is a huge part of the community. You can see the needs and the impact directly. As an adult, it’s now my job to volunteer.”
Matt agrees, “When you are a young person in a small town you need to be willing to do some work. We’re very involved.”
“When we created this legacy plan, we sat our children down and had a discussion about how it works and why you give. We hope someday they will give, too. Someday they will be in charge of this,” says Matt. He goes on,
“You can talk ‘til you’re blue in the face, but they see you lead by action. They see you coming and going and talking about it at home.”
PROVIDING AFFORDABLE, EXPERT MANAGEMENT FOR FAMILIES
With all the knowledge and assistance available through the Foundation, some may think their legacy planning services are only for families of great wealth. Not so, Jim says.
“You don’t need a fortune to create one of these funds,” says Jim. “The Foundation provides a wonderful opportunity for people to establish an endowment with modest amounts of money. Families can work to contribute to them collectively and grow the endowed fund over the years.”
The White family has found the Foundation’s minimal management fees to be incredibly affordable. “The small percentage that goes to the necessary administration is far more efficient than anybody else could do it. If we tried to do it ourselves, we’d toil over it, second-guess ourselves, and spend needless time,” Jim says. “We know there will need to be professional management to take care of our needs for a long, long time. We can trust that our funds will be appropriated to the wishes of our family and the management comes at an affordable cost.”
“The cumulative knowledge [of the staff] is a wonderful thing. The Foundation has the finest people available who have agreed to serve in the fiduciary capacity they do. They bring many talents to the fund, advise as to when to get in and out, and so many other things,” says Jim.
Jim assures us that a little bit of planning is well worth the effort. “The reward far exceeds the work or inconvenience,” he says.
WE’RE HERE TO HELP YOU MAKE A PLAN OF OUR OWN
If you have been thinking about what your lasting legacy will be, it’s time to put your thoughts down on paper. Through the Omaha Community Foundation, you can use a wide range of legacy giving options to support the organizations that are important to you, for generations to come.
Contact our Donor Services team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-342-3458 to start a conversation about your legacy.