We mourn the loss of Tom Fox, a truly generous philanthropist and enthusiastic friend of Grand Rapids Community Foundation.
Alongside his wife Mickie, who survives, Tom had a long partnership with the Community Foundation. He offered feedback and insight on everything from publications to the Community Foundation’s strategic direction and was frequently the first to support Community Foundation causes. Tom has left an indelible mark on the Community Foundation and our community.
Tom was a native of Grand Rapids and a successful businessman, growing Fox’s Jewelers—established by his parents—to become a large chain across the Midwest. After Tom and Mickie sold the business, they started the Tom and Mickie Fox Family Advised Fund at the Community Foundation. It was the first Donor Advised fund at the Community Foundation. In the three decades since, they grew this fund and were able to recommend grant awards to many programs and causes. Tom was an enthusiastic grantmaker and took great joy in giving money to causes he loved, including support for children and healthcare.
In the 2000s, Tom insisted that the Community Foundation have its own permanent home. He and Mickie made a significant, $1 million lead gift as part of the Community Foundation’s “Building Community Philanthropy” campaign.
Tom’s involvement with the Community Foundation was a long-term partnership and he took great pride in helping us forge new relationships. To celebrate their steadfast commitment, Tom and Mickie were awarded the Jack Chaille Community Philanthropy Award in 2007.
Reflecting on Tom’s generosity and humor
Diana Sieger shared this reflection about the purchase of the Community Foundation’s building:
“Our organization’s home was the dream of Tom Fox, and he was so immensely proud! Leaning on his retail savvy, Tom thought the Community Foundation needed a more visible presence and plenty of free parking. After touring more than sixty buildings, a serendipitous restaurant visit led to my seeing "the" building! Our realtor went into action and—long story short—the building was ours.
A few months into the extensive renovations we wanted to show Tom and Mickie the building we were lovingly turning into a community resource. Tom parked his car on the street next to our building. After a lively tour, I looked outside and saw the telltale green parking ticket on his car’s windshield. We sheepishly led Tom and Mickie out to their car, where Tom laughed and said ‘carry on!’ (The Community Foundation did pay for the parking ticket).
I rarely meet a donor as enthusiastic as Tom. He took great pride in his role as a philanthropist and in learning about the organizations he supported. He was a thoughtful and kind man, and our staff will miss him deeply.”
Read more about Tom in this family obituary: http://ow.ly/wLKf50KAwnM
If you are interested in making a gift in his memory, we are honored to accept memorial donations supporting the Tom and Mickie Fox Family Fund at GiveGR.org/Fox