When Greta Hammond took a charitable interest in the Hearthstone house it was largely familiarity.
Greta grew up on River Drive in Appleton and went past the historic house on Prospect Avenue and Memorial Drive — the world’s first home powered by a central hydroelectric plant — at least twice a day.
“I’ve always had a soft spot for it,” Greta said of the house.
She distinctly remembers her parents holding their 10th wedding anniversary party there when it was a restaurant in the 1930s. She was six at the time.
So when she picked up Hearthstone’s newsletter recently and found a list of items needed at the house-turned-museum, Greta decided to help out. The thing that caught her attention was a request for an old icebox.
Her husband took up an intense interest in cooking and working in the kitchen when he retired as manager and part-owner of Wichmann Funeral Home. He died in March of 2016. Using the funeral donations to buy the icebox seemed an appropriate tribute.
Cheryl Kaczmarek, president of Friends of Hearthstone, said the man who built the home, H.J. Rogers, was known for having the latest technology, so the icebox was an important acquisition.
“It was imperative that we have a icebox that was in keeping with the conveniences of the day,” she said. They located what they needed in Waupaca and the R. Barton and Greta Hammond Family Fund with the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region awarded a grant to Hearthstone to buy it.
Greta said she and Barton hadn’t used their fund much. They might not have a charitable fund at all if not for their daughter, Christy Jo. She had heard her parents talk for years about wanting to establish a charitable fund, so she enlisted her brother, David, and it started as a Christmas present.
“We were totally surprised by it,” Greta said.
The fund is an endowment. It generates investment income to provide for grants to nonprofit organizations while retaining enough of the assets to continue on forever.
“Our fund is not very large, but little-by-little it’s growing,” Greta said.
The fund will live on even after Greta’s lifetime, providing a source of charitable giving for Christy Jo and David.
That’s a power to preserve that even an icebox can’t match.