Sarah Schmidt says the Community Foundation is so familiar, it’s almost like a part of her family. That’s why she and her partner, Julie Matthei, feel very comfortable leaving a significant portion of their estates to a family foundation established within the Foundation.“We both recognize the significant skill and experience the Foundation brings to our charitable giving. It’s a great partnership!” Sarah said.
“We ’ve had lots of opportunity to see first-hand the experience and added value the Foundation brings to the sometimes complicated work of charitable giving. We know the staff – some of them are like family – and they are very sensitive to our needs and our goals. Why would we go anywhere else?”
They refer to their estates in the plural because, as a same-sex couple living in a state that doesn’t recognize marriage for them, their assets are legally separate.
“With the help of a great attorney, we’ve been able to set up our foundation in a way that works for each of us and for our children,” Sarah said.
Both Sarah’s family and her family company, U.S. Venture Inc., have had charitable funds within the Community Foundation for a long time, including the very first fund within the Foundation.
Currently, the William J. and Barbara A. Schmidt Family Foundation (established by her parents), U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs and Schmidt Family G4 Fund serve as vehicles for the family’s philanthropy. Sarah and Julie have added their own charitable fund to the family foundation, called The Momentum Project, “with the hopes that our children (Shana, 19, Will, 7, and Callie, 5) will continue our family tradition of giving and sharing.”
They chose to share their zeal for giving by being listed as Legacy Circle members.
“We hope that the fact that we are a same-sex couple, giving openly, inspires others in the region to do the same,” Sarah said. Much of their giving supports organizations working for equality for the LGBT community and beyond, but charitable giving isn’t just a political statement for them.
“We feel tremendously blessed that we can even think about charitable giving,” Sarah said, “and it brings great joy to us and our family. It’s fun. When you love something, it’s only natural to want to share that with others.”