As the dust settles from the events of the past year and a half, many have recognized this period as an opportunity to recenter and refocus toward acts of generosity. Any act of volunteerism or generosity to local causes can strengthen both the structure of a community and the bonds that unite us.
For Chris and Lindsay Bayer, donor advised fund holders at Galesburg Community Foundation, serving their community in any and every way possible is a way of life, yet they too feel renewed in their mission to pitch in however they can.
Chris recalls that being generous and sharing good is a family affair for both he and Lindsay, which was instilled at a young age. He said, “Whether it’s time or resources, or it’s the ability to be involved and give advice or ideas, our families have always been generous. We’ve seen that model for us and we’ve realized there’s still a lot of needs that are unmet in the community, and if we don’t recognize those, they’ll go unnoticed.”
Lindsay shared that giving back is an opportunity to become an active part of the community’s growth and development. “Professionally, I am a remote employee, so I’ve always had to be very intentional about getting plugged into the community. The Community Foundation is a really good resource for me in that way.”
Wanting to make a difference and be active community members, the Bayer’s established a donor advised fund at Galesburg Community Foundation. Chris shared that setting up the fund was important because it makes the process of giving back much simpler.
Chris said, “Having a donor advised fund at the Community Foundation really cuts down on the administrative side for us and we let the Community Foundation be the experts on how to distribute the funds. Our donor advised fund allows us to contribute to one source, the foundation, and then that money is held by that source. We are then able to select nonprofits we want to grant money toward as we are ready to do so.”
While the Bayer’s are engaged in supporting the community year-round, the Galesburg Community Foundation’s annual Turnout Grant Cycle is a dedicated time for donor advisors to think and discuss the impact of their fund. The Turnout provides an opportunity for area nonprofit organizations to submit proposals for their needs— which this year included programming, operations or capacity requests. The Community Foundation compiles the nonprofit grant proposals to share with their donor advised fund holders, such as the Bayer’s.
This year, the Bayer’s wasted no time in allocating their yearly contributions and participated in The Turnout as donor advisers. Along with some nonprofits they were already familiar with, the Bayer’s were excited to find a number of new nonprofit organizations they did not know about. By going through each nonprofit proposal and learning more about the nonprofits in our area, Lindsay affirms that, “It was a great opportunity to have conversations about giving, community engagement, and philanthropy. It opened a lot of doors for meaningful conversation.”
Through this one act of generosity with The Turnout, the Bayer’s want to encourage others thinking of getting involved. From Lindsay’s perspective, one secret to sustaining dedicated local philanthropy is “not getting intimidated by the logistics, which can seem overwhelming…the whole staff at Galesburg Community Foundation make the process approachable, and they love to talk about it and how each person can really get involved.”
Chris agrees that simplicity is best when considering acts of charity. “Make it simple, start small, and understand what’s available. Take the time to hear what’s going on,” he said.
Not seeking notoriety or accolades for their work, the Bayer’s stressed that doing good and giving back for your community is a fulfilling activity that benefits everyone.
“We like to do stuff low-key,” Chris added, “and just to know that we did it. You give because it gives you joy and don’t expect anything back.”
Lindsay concluded, “I would love to see more and more community members realize they can serve, give, and find ways to do what they can, when they can. Then I believe more people will really see the marked improvements in the community through the years—we’ve certainly seen that through the 10 years we’ve been here. I’m just hopeful that more will get involved and find that passion.”