Dr. John and Barb McClean hope that their children—and their children’s children—will follow in their footsteps some day and give through the Galesburg Community Foundation. But even more than that, they hope their example of generosity is an even greater lesson in philanthropy.

The couple has six children and seven grandchildren and have found multiple ways to give back to the community they’ve proudly called home. “We do want to encourage them to donate here, and if they can, to do that wherever they are,” says Barb, who also gives her time weekly to Community Treasures, the thrift store on Main Street in Galesburg that is operated by the Community Foundation.

John, a retired oncologist, serves on the Community Foundation board of directors. He moved to the area after working in both Minneapolis and Chicago and was attracted to the quiet, rural atmosphere where neighbors take care of each other, and families raise their children in a safe environment. “I fell in love with Galesburg and the area,” John says. “It wasn’t crowded and I could be home in 10 minutes after work. It’s a friendly community.”

Which is exactly the way Barb grew up. “I’ve never been a big city girl,” she says. “I’ve lived here my whole life and its home to me. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.”

Some of their children have moved away, but they say the Community Foundation is a great tie back to home. Giving back both financially and through their time, John says, is something they hope they’ve instilled in their family. “It’s a teaching thing,” he says. “It’s a legacy I hope we’ve established. We hope the kids will continue to do the same.”

The couple opened a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation by gifting stock. It’s an example of the many ways the Community Foundation allows people to give, John says. “We’ve done well here and the kids have done well and benefitted from living here. The Community Foundation is an ideal way to give back to the community to address needs now—and needs that will inevitably come up in the future,” he says.

The couple’s fund has supported renovations at both The Orpheum Theatre and Discovery Depot Children’s Museum. Supporting the restoration of the region’s historic buildings and youth-centered initiatives are particularly near and dear to John and Barb’s hearts. Barb adds that they hope someday to direct funding toward mental health services in the area, but however their fund helps the community is an honor. “I’m glad the resources we’ve been blessed with will stay in the community now, and forever,” she says.

And that’s what the Community Foundation can do for people and communities all across the region: ensure that the greatest opportunities and needs are met through giving. Barb sees that lived out every week at the thrift store. “The shirt someone donated, and then is purchased, is a gift—a gift that keeps
on giving.”

That’s also a reminder that you don’t have to have a lot to give a lot. “People don’t realize that philanthropy isn’t about the size of your gift—it’s the act of giving. Time is important, the shirt you may not need is important, and the larger gifts of stock or otherwise are important,” John says, and the Community Foundation has a unique opportunity to remind people of that.

One of the greatest joys of our work is partnering with people like Dr. John and Barb to help them give back to their community. Let’s talk about how we can help you spread your generosity in the community you love. If you have a dream for your hometown, we’re here to help you do that easily through your giving. Contact us at today, or give us a call at 309.344.8898.

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Haley Sloss

Charitable Giving Coordinator

Short Bio

Haley provides support to enhance the function and success of the Charitable Giving and Affiliate Teams. She ensures donors receive a personal approach to philanthropy through outstanding customer service by supporting charitable giving for donors and fund holders across the state.