To Gary and Pat Gray, community connections are key. The couple has called Chippewa Falls home for 40 years, creating lifelong bonds and friendships in the process.
Now, they'd like to pay their good fortune forward. "We have enjoyed working, living and raising our family in Chippewa Falls. We want to give back to our community and help assure that future generations have the same or more opportunities that we've had," said Gary Gray, a retired consulting engineer at SEH, referring to the endowment fund he and his wife established through the Community Foundation of Chippewa County late last year.
Gary said he and Pat have chosen to involve themselves with the Community Foundation for many reasons, including the organization's ability to "help fund community projects and needs that are difficult for government or organizations to achieve."
"As the Foundation grows, it can make a significant difference to our area," he said, noting that he hopes their participation may encourage others to establish a fund. Distributions from the Pat and Gary Gray Family Endowment Fund will initially go to McDonell Area Catholic Schools, although an annual funding choice will be made. Going forward, the Grays plan to consider a variety of community or school projects when making grant recommendations each year.
"We raised our kids in both public and parochial schools, we've benefitted from the Parks system and the Recreation Department program, as well as our pure water and our lake recreations, and we both were fortunate to have jobs here," said Pat Gray, a retired elementary education teacher. "It's been our desire to give back to our community, whether for the needs of the schools, the Heyde Center for the Arts, city improvements or the needs of the youth of our community."
Simply stated, their underlying desire is to give back to the community that's given so much to them.
Grants support organizations recommended by fund advisors.