by Julianne Buck

Executive Director

August 3, 2017


Well, it finally happened.

After years of wishing and promising, we finally got to New Hampshire to see Jim Baum’s mountain.

Yes, Jim Baum bought a mountain. Well, it’s part of a mountain –
250 acres on the eastern slope of Moose Mountain just outside of Hanover, New Hampshire. Jim’s Dartmouth College roommate is affiliated with the City of Hanover and about 10 years ago they approached Jim about helping them with a conservation project.

The acreage in question was in danger of being purchased for private use that would have interrupted the flow of public trails along Moose Mountain. Jim and Carol bought it, named it “Baum Conservation Area,” and they have a forester who is working to restore the land to its original flora and fauna.

Jim also enjoys spending hours with his tools clearing the trails and chatting with hikers.

It is a popular area in the summer, but also for snow skiing in the winter. After the Baums pass, ownership of the area will transfer to Dartmouth College and the Outing Club (Jim was a student member), who will be responsible for its maintenance.

The conservation area is open to the public, so I encourage you to take a trip out East to see it, plus all of the other beautiful scenery.

We also spent a few days in the White Mountains National Forest – very beautiful with plenty of places to camp, hotel and eat!

Now, I don’t tell this story to brag.

I tell this story because it incorporates two things that we community foundations love – 1) donors who use their assets to protect their passions to benefit others and 2) donors who get actively philanthropic while they’re alive so that they can enjoy it.

When talking with potential fundholders, we often ask questions such as “What do you care about?” or “Are there things in our community that you fear will go away?” If so, can we help you design a fund or program that will use your assets to protect that service, nonprofit or natural area?

The possibilities are endless.

Most of us attend church – can you and your assets help preserve the stained-glass windows, roof, choir, organ or Vacation Bible School?  What about our food pantries and other social services to help our county’s “working poor?”

We also have organizations who serve seniors, children and veterans. Do you want to ensure that those services remain available to our residents? What about other benefits to the public such as fine arts, history or nature?

Similar to Jim’s story, we are fortunate in Grundy County to have had Ken Sereno, who recently passed away.

Ken spent years of time, research and assets protecting what he loves – the family histories and architecture of Grundy County.

If you haven’t noticed it, please go visit the mural that he commissioned on the west wall of Cal’s Printing on Illinois Avenue – it’s an old-time style mural of Cal and Ken sitting on a porch watching the lazy I&M Canal flow by.

The same can be said for the merchants in downtown Morris who spend their assets protecting the historic architecture and spirit of Liberty Street.

Sure, it might not be a philanthropic endeavor, but it is someone using their assets to protect their passion to benefit others. It’s their collective efforts that make downtown Morris such an attractive destination.

Now, did the Community Foundation of Grundy County help with all of the examples above?

Not really. A few. But that’s not the point.

The point is that our role is to encourage activity and philanthropy. We don’t care where you give – just give.

Just be active. Just volunteer.

It isn’t about us – it’s about people of all ages and asset sizes exploring their own emotions to discover what brings them joy.

If it involves philanthropy and charitable goals, that’s great.  If we can be of service to help bring those charitable goals to fruition, even better!

Most of all, the Community Foundation of Grundy County is a service.

We are here to serve donors who want to use our tools to make a charitable impact in the community.

We also serve nonprofits who want assistance – whether grants or brain power – to further their mission to serve our county’s residents.

How can we serve you?