The Community Foundation is the perfect outlet
Although they both grew up in Easton and were graduated from Easton High School, Kay and Marshall Wolff didn’t meet until many years later. “We were introduced by my great aunt, Elizabeth Kressler,” Marshall says, “She thought we would enjoy meeting each other.” Kay’s aunt had accurate instincts, and Kay and Marshall have now been married for 37 years and are the parents of an adult daughter who works as a photo editor in New York.
Marshall serves as the president of Kressler, Wolff, and Miller Insurance Company, a firm established by Marshall’s grandfather in 1923. “My grandfather, my father, and now my brother and I have had a stewardship approach to the company,” notes Marshall. “We want to be successful and to make money in order to employ people and provide services we believe are important.
For both Kay and Marshall, involvement with community organizations and initiatives has been a special source of satisfaction. Kay has served on the boards of ProJeCt of Easton, Third Street Alliance, and the Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society, and she leads tours at the historic Easton Cemetery. She sees changes emerging in the community, some positive and some less than positive. “The Lehigh Valley, as with many other places, is becoming an area in which people don’t always feel the need to give back,” she observes. “This decrease in community-mindedness and charitable inclination could mean that fewer and fewer community needs will be met. I think the three cities—Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton—will need to blend more and more.”
A great deal of Marshall’s community focus has been on the work, mission, and potential of the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation. Marshall completed two nine-year term of service on the Foundation’s Board of Governors, and he chaired the Foundation’s finance committee for many years.
The Foundation exists solely to help other people to fulfill their charitable goals and dreams. Marshall says his family has been very pleased to have established charitable funds at the Foundation.Kay points out that a charitable fund can be flexible. With the options offered to donors when the fund is created, the fund can continue to be used in a good way even if the initial grantees cease to exist. The concept of ‘legacy’ is almost synonymous with the Community Foundation.
The Community Foundation – A Perfect Fit
“The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation is the perfect outlet for who I am,” Marshall continues. “I’m interested in understanding how people and organizations work, and I’m interested in helping them, especially when there is as dramatic need for help as there can be when you’re dealing with insurance and people’s needs.”
“There has been so much satisfaction in working with the Foundation,” Marshall says. “Becoming a Governor of the Foundation has been my all-time best move in community involvement. We, as Governors, get so much more than we give in terms of knowledge and gratification. As Governors, we have no personal agenda, and the Foundation has no agenda beyond developing a base of philanthropy to serve the community. The Foundation exists solely to help other people to fulfill their charitable goals and dreams. Our family has been very pleased to have established charitable funds at the Foundation.”
Supporting the Mission Through Charitable Giving
In the context of his long relationship with the Foundation and his deep understanding of its mission, what does Marshall see as its value and what does he hope for in its future? “I hope that professional advisors and those who guide clients will think about LVCF. I firmly believe that if you can get people with no vested interest—can get great board members who only have the good of the community at heart—then, in 50 or 100 years, there will be a significant amount of money at the Foundation to fund what is necessary in the community, meeting needs and funding opportunities, in the 22nd century.”
Kay points out another advantage of establishing a charitable fund at LVCF: “With the Community Foundation,” she states, “a charitable fund can be flexible. With the options offered to donors when the fund is created, the fund can continue to be used in a good way even if the initial grantees cease to exist.”
The concept of ‘legacy’ is almost synonymous with the Community Foundation. For Kay and Marshall, legacy is a straightforward matter. “It means being known and remembered for an interest in and an enthusiasm about people,” says Kay. “Life is about people.” Marshall adds, “In terms of legacy, I’d like to think that I genuinely made a difference in people’s lives.”
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