One Hundred New Philanthropists: Wendy and Mark Anderson

Well-rounded might best describe Wendy and Mark Anderson’s philanthropy. They care about a wide range of causes, and both mention Grand Rapids Community Foundation first when talking about giving.

Where do you give?

“Grand Rapids Community Foundation, of course, because of Carol Karr,” Wendy said. “We were working on our estate plans, and she starting talking about it, and we really liked the local aspect. It’s our community and giving here is important.”

“The third word in the name—community—really appeals to me,” Mark said. In their giving the couple supports Wounded Warriors Project, Hillsdale College, The Heritage Foundation, St. Jude Parish, Paws with a Cause, Leader Dogs of the Blind and a variety of cancer-related nonprofits. Mark supports the educational foundation of the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA). He served as PSIA board chair for eight years, is still involved in the ski instruction community and supports the U.S. Ski Team. For smaller gifts, they make their giving decisions independently, but they came to the Community Foundation together. “For instance, the decision to include Grand Rapids Community Foundation in our estate plan, we both agreed on that,” Wendy said. “You have to.”

What do you get from giving?

“It’s about doing the right thing and for me, giving creates a personal sense of well-being,” Wendy said. “Giving back brings me joy. I like seeing people who are grateful for what you do. It’s great to be able to help when you know an organization or someone’s situation,” Mark said.

They’re also generous with their time. Mark, a retired masonry construction company owner, enjoys helping people with construction and house fix-up projects. Wendy is retired from banking and served as treasurer of Mark’s company until they both retired.

Mark has been a friend and mentor to a young neighbor whose father died. Mark helped the 15-year-old learn to use tools, paint, stain and fix things. Mark also taught him to drive and ski. Together they go to restaurants, baseball games and gun shows. He helps friends with construction projects too. “Having a comfortable home can really help with someone’s physical and mental well-being,” Mark said.

Why Grand Rapids Community Foundation?

“Simple,” Wendy said. “I think they do a good job. I feel that the Community Foundation is on the right track.” “And relationships,” said Mark.  “The people, other donors we’ve met and the staff have created a real sense of community. We feel very comfortable and connected.”