Planting for the Future
Community service is second nature to Kent and Barbara Turner. Kent learned about philanthropy while growing up in Norwich, where his parents were deeply involved in the Greater Norwich Foundation. "My mother and dad talked a lot about it over the dining room table," he recalls.
Barbara grew up in Mamaroneck, N.Y. and Williamstown, Mass. In 1972, she and Kent moved to Binghamton, where he took a job as a trust banker. While raising their four children, Barbara immersed herself in the community, volunteering for Wilson Hospital, Good Shepherd, Fairview Home, the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, the family's church and the children's schools.
The Turners also gave generously to local organizations. When they heard about plans to form the Community Foundation for South Central New York, they found it a perfect match for their philanthropic aims.
Kent served on the Community Foundation's Board for its first ten years, and he continues to support the Foundation as a volunteer. "It's a very congenial Board, with superb leadership," he says.
Kent and Barbara also established the Community Foundation's first Donor Advised Fund. They valued this chance to make a contribution that would keep bearing fruit far into the future. "It provides donors a long-term foundation to promote philanthropy within a community," Kent says.
The Kent and Barbara W. Turner Donor Advised Fund has made it easy and convenient for the Turners to give to their favorite causes, such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, United Way, Binghamton University and Broome Community College. The Community Foundation performs all administrative tasks associated with the Fund. And because the Foundation manages the investment of the Fund to maximize returns while providing responsible oversight, Kent and Barbara are able to recommend numerous grants each year from their Fund, in turn maximizing their personal investment in the community.
As a Board member, Kent says, he learned about the wide variety of needs the Community Foundation addresses. Although to date he and Barbara have made their own suggestions about how to use their Fund, they know that if someday they want to direct their support in new ways, they can turn to the Foundation for advice. "They have a vast knowledge of the needs that we might not know anything about," Barbara says.
In a long career managing trusts and estates, Kent's clients relied on his careful stewardship to help provide for their loved ones. As partners in the Community Foundation, Kent and Barbara Turner engage in another kind of stewardship, helping to make a better future in the region where they live.