Paul and Beth Kelly came to Grand Rapids Community Foundation as donors in 2002. They gave through the Social Venture Investors group, made a planned gift in 2003 and, in 2014, have committed to be part of the One Hundred New Philanthropists group. Their giving and volunteering is intertwined with deeply held values. They support First (Park) Congregational Church because of the work it does in the central city They also support Women’s Resource Center and Boy Scouts of America. “I have seen from personal experience how the [Boy Scouts] program teaches young people values and leadership that set them up to be great citizens,” Paul said. “My giving has matured a lot. At first I gave to anyone who made an impassioned plea for help. Now I invest in those groups that look at issues from a systems standpoint and work to build independence and strength in others,” Beth said.
What do you get from giving?
“Paul and I have been blessed with such good fortune in our lives that we feel a responsibility to use our wealth (not just in money, but in talents and relationships and resources) to balance the playing field, so as to lift all people,” Beth said. “Giving for me is two-fold, monetary gifts and volunteering. Because it is tangible, I get a much greater feeling of satisfaction when I give of my talents of time and expertise to help an organization. I like to see that what I provide is making a difference in all of our lives,” Paul said.
Why the Community Foundation?
“Through grantmaking Grand Rapids Community Foundation enhances our community. It’s also important to me that they raise and address critical, systemic issues that cause us to look at things differently. Because of its consistent and courageous leadership in the community, the Community Foundation doesn't shy away from an issue because it's controversial or complicated. Instead, it embraces those knotty problems and starts to unravel them at a basic level,” Beth said.
“I like supporting an organization that has the resources to make a real impact in the community and values things that are important to me. Grand Rapids Community Foundation has a diverse commitment to groups that make a significant impact to benefit the community I love so much,” Paul said.