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Stories of Giving

People making a difference in the lives of others today and for generations to come. What will be your story?

Age, income no barrier to planning your giving

We feel it is just as important to give money that will be available for generations, long after we are gone.

With grey intruding into his longish hair, Shannon Kenevan no longer goes along with being described as a “young” leader in the Fox Valley community, but he and wife Jean clearly are at the younger end of people who have planned their charitable legacy.

With two children — Lucy and Emmalea — still at home, they have gotten the jump on most people their age on deciding which charities they will include among their heirs.

“My wife and I have always believed in supporting nonprofit organizations – whether that’s through our work, volunteering or giving. These organizations are a vital safety net in our community and increase quality of life for us all,” Shannon said.

For making provisions in their will for their charitable fund within the Community Foundation, the Kenevans were invited to join the Himebaugh Legacy Circle. Named for Donald and Violet Himebaugh, whose $16 million bequest to the Community Foundation tripled our Foundation-directed  grantmaking, the Legacy Circle is a way to thank donors now for their gifts planned to support the community after their lifetimes.

Jean and Shannon know the nonprofit world from the inside. Shannon works at Goodwill Industries as the engagement leader for Fox Valley Voices of Men and previously headed up its Harmony Cafes. Jean works for the Wisconsin Office for the Blind and Visually Impaired as a rehabilitation specialist. They said giving to nonprofits will always be a need.

“The issues they are addressing are complex and, though some of these issues evolve and even resolve, many are simply part of our human condition and will last generations. We feel it is important to give money directly to organizations to help in the here-and-now. At the same time, we feel it is just as important to give money that will be available for generations, long after we are gone.”

While nonprofits are long on passion and importance, they always seem to be short on funding.

“Our local nonprofits work miracles on shoestring budgets, and they shouldn’t need to choose between adequately paying staff, paying the light bills or supporting their clients. But without sustainable sources of income, this is the reality.”

They see neither age nor income as reasons to excuse themselves from charitable giving.

“Though my wife and I both work in the nonprofits and don’t make a ton of money, we still feel it’s important to give part of our wealth back to our community and to generations to come. Our fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region is an efficient and flexible way for us to make that happen.”