Saturday, August 28, 2021

Spirit of Generosity: Giving for the Greater Good

givingFor some folks, the Spirit of Generosity means supporting the things that matter to them in the present, and making sure their communities continue to have support in perpetuity.

Janice Marchut Conrad and Dr. Peter Conrad, retired scientists and plant biologists who live in Beekmantown, spent much of their lives and distinguished careers on university campuses across the country – from New Hampshire and Massachusetts to Wisconsin and Texas, before returning to the Northeast for positions at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. Along the way, they’ve served their country and community in a variety of ways: Peter in the United States Army, and both through higher education and research, as well as stints on zoning boards and nonprofit boards, including Mountain Lake PBS and Literacy Volunteers, and volunteering at local animal shelters.

As luck would have it, our region suited them perfectly. Since moving here in 1986, Janice felt like she belonged. The mountains, lakes, and small-town feel reminded her of her upbringing and time spent in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Her grandparents emigrated to the U.S. from Poland and Janice refers to their struggle and lessons learned as influencing her philosophy on giving back.

Through careful financial planning, they figured out what they needed for retirement, what they can devote to charitable giving, and what they anticipate leaving behind to ensure their giving lasts beyond their lifetimes.

Their planning allows Janice and Peter to happily and wholeheartedly give to multiple organizations annually — those that have made a difference to them personally and those making a difference for what they refer to as “the greater good.”

Several years ago, they learned about a devastating fire that left the tiny Adirondack community of Keene Valley without a grocery store. Janice’s mother experienced hunger as a child, and she and Peter always had great concern for global food security and supply chains. They found a way to assist the community in Keene by making a gift to Adirondack Foundation to help the grocery store recover. This introduction to the Foundation’s work prompted them to learn more and take steps toward making a planned giving commitment.

Janice and Peter understand that there comes a time in each person’s life when there is “less time left than time already lived.” Adirondack Foundation is honored to be among the nonprofits for which they have made provisions in their will to continue to support in the future.

The Spirit of Generosity embodied by Janie and Peter will help ensure that the Foundation continues to support the greater good.

All summer long, Adirondack Foundation is celebrating the Spirit of Generosity by highlighting stories about the generous people, organizations, and collaborations that enrich the lives of people in the Adirondacks. Every Saturday, Adirondack Almanack will share an essay by Cali Brooks, President and CEO, about some of the people and programs that Adirondack Foundation invests in and partners with to enhance the lives of people in the Adirondacks through philanthropy.  Readers can win the opportunity to direct a grant to an organization that aligns with the Foundation’s Generous Acts program. To enter, simply create a social media post that captures what generosity means to you and tag Adirondack Foundation’s accounts.

Photo of Janice Marchut Conrad and Dr. Peter Conrad by Erika Bailey, provided by Adirondack Foundation

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Cali Brooks is president & CEO of Adirondack Foundation. After working with nonprofit organizations in Southeast Asia, Central America, and the United States, Cali returned home to the Adirondacks and worked for the HKH Foundation where she conducted a survey to assess the economic, social, cultural, and environmental strengths of the Adirondack region. She then joined the Public Affairs office of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and co-founded the Wildlife Conservation Society's Adirondack Communities and Conservation Program. She and her family live in and love the Adirondacks.

2 Responses

  1. Deborah Myers says:

    Thank you for writing this story. We now live in Lake George part of the year and I can’t think of a single thing more important than living near people who give selflessly. Sometimes I feel far away from my home on Cape Cod and your story has helped to warm my heart about the Adirondacks.

  2. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Just think how much worse-off society would be if it were not for all of the good people out there! We hear but maybe a microcosm of all the good things people do to help others or to make this world a better place in their varying ways…..not just people like Janice & Peter, whom society can use more of, but average folk also who just get by but do good deeds selflessly. It don’t take much to put a smile on someone’s face; or to be kind, even if in a subtle way. Just think if there was more uplifting news versus all of the horror stories they bombard us with day in and day out. Horror stories sell! Imagine if things went reverse and we started getting much more good news fed to us…… to uplift our spirits, to give us a sense of hope. Sure, it’s out there if you know where to look, but you’d have to strep aside from the mainstream to find it generally speaking.

    The above is a good story. There are others which I, and probably everyone else on this thread, could share also. I never lose sight of all the good people, and good things, that are out there in this world. I do see hope, but i’m still having my doubts too! Thank you for sharing!

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