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From licking envelopes and stamps in Korea to Board Chair in southeast Michigan, philanthropy has always been a driving force for me

December 14th, 2023 Back to Browse Stories

As 2024 has begun, many of us find ourselves thinking about how we can be a little more charitable and make philanthropy a priority this year.

When I reflect on philanthropy, I remember my early experiences in Korea, where my parents, missionaries with a passion for education, embarked on a journey to make learning accessible to all. I think that’s where my desire to help others really began.

At the time, junior and senior high schools there charged tuition that many students in the countryside couldn’t afford. So, my parents established a school and raised funds to ensure education was accessible for everyone. Our family helped by mailing sponsorship requests to the United States. The ask? Twelve dollars per year to sponsor a student.

Licking envelopes and stamps to mail those sponsorship requests might seem like a simple task, but those small efforts played a crucial role in establishing a school that eventually grew from 30 to 3,000 students who were determined to build a brighter future for themselves and their families. The impact of that initiative demonstrated to me the power of philanthropy in closing opportunity gaps and ensuring that everyone has a chance to succeed. It is still a driving force behind my own philanthropic goals.

Join a rich history of impact in our region 

This personal journey has shaped my commitment to giving back, especially in the realm of education. Now, as I serve on the Board of Trustees for the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, I am excited about the opportunities we, as a foundation, have to make a meaningful difference in our region. The Community Foundation has a rich history of impactful work in the nonprofit sector, championing causes that resonate with the shared values of those we serve and the generous donors who help make it happen.

I invite you to add your support to the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan as we continue to make positive, lasting change in our region. You can read a few stories about that change in the 2023 Yearbook.

Support your community today and forever with the Community Foundation

In order to maintain and expand the remarkable progress we have made, the Community Foundation relies on donor support of the Now and Forever Fund. Gifts to this endowed fund ensure the Community Foundation has the talented people, up-to-date technology and community presence required to promote equity and ensure southeast Michigan is a desirable place to live, work and play for generations to come. 

Your support matters, and your contribution to the Now and Forever Fund plays a vital role in shaping the future of your community. By donating, you become a crucial part of our mission to provide equal opportunities and create the spaces needed for individuals to succeed. 

I’ve been contributing to the Community Foundation for years, but only recently realized the difference between donating through and donating to the Foundation. Typically, I donate to my donor-advised fund and other grantmaking funds within the Foundation, which then gets distributed as grants to various charities. I was surprised to discover that all this time, I hadn’t been directly supporting my favorite charity much. Now, I’m increasing my own contributions to the Foundation’s Now and Forever Fund to better support the ongoing efforts of the Foundation’s team of ensuring that permanent, positive changes is happening in our region.

I extend my heartfelt gratitude for considering joining us on this journey. Let’s work hand in hand to ensure that the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan remains a steadfast partner in philanthropy, making a lasting impact on the lives of those we serve. 

 Add your voice and support here.