Gary and Virginia Hunt Charitable Fund

 

For Gary and Virginia Hunt, sharing is a virtue by which they have been taught to live since they were young. Gary was raised in a farming family in Central Illinois, with three brothers to share in the chores and workload that came with life on a farm. Virginia grew up with two brothers, her mother, who worked as an accountant and stay-at-home mom, and her father, who was a banker. In such a small town bank, her father would hear about anyone who was in a little bit of financial trouble. Once he heard, he always felt the need to do something, and would share his money to provide anonymous assistance to those who needed it. Gary and Virginia’s families were both also very involved in the church, sharing in the joy of worship and the church’s outreach.

Virginia grew up in Cissna Park, IL; a small town with a population of approximately 800 people. She describes it as a prosperous farming community with a strong base of religion throughout. The Mennenite religion was common there, and it was a “family town” in which people lived for generation upon generation. Gary grew up in Ranken, IL, also a small town. He describes it as a place where “everybody knew everybody, and what you didn’t know, you found.” The weekly news went so far as to include who had visited whom in the town.

Gary and Virginia attended their local high school. Gary then went on to attend the University of Illinois in Champaign, IL and he graduated with a degree in electrical engineering. Virginia also attended the University of Illinois, and graduated with a degree in business education. She returned later to earn her Masters degree in education. After college, Gary began working as an electrical engineer for the Sunstream Corporation, and had worked his way up to a manager position before retiring in 1999. Virginia taught high school business education, and later, typing, shorthand and computers before she also retired in 1999.

Since retiring, Gary and Virginia have kept busy by becoming active in their community. Gary has been a member of the local Kiwanis for quite some time, and even served as president at one point. During his Kiwanis presidency, he started an action club for physically and mentally disabled adults. He still serves as an advisor for the club. He has also been a part of Lifescape Community Services, which sponsors meals on wheels, adult daycare centers, and senior assistance programs. He has been on their board for many years, and has also served as their president several times. His hobbies include computers and turning old movies and slides into DVDs. This hobby has also become somewhat of a part-time job for him as others request his technological expertise to assist with their own video-DVD conversion.

In her retirement, Virginia has been the money manager for the Visiting Nurses Association. In this position, she assists low-income senior citizens with balancing their checkbook, budgeting and completing other financial tasks. She also volunteers as a tutor for the Literacy Council. Virginia enjoys helping out with the church choir, and being a part of the bereavement committee and the wedding guild. In her spare time, she likes to read, do needlework and play Bridge.

Gary and Virginia have focused their charitable interests in two areas: community and faith. They support Lifescape Community Services, and other organizations that promote the arts. They also support two or three churches, and various faith-based organizations that offer services to aid hunger, provide disaster relief or offer church social services. The Hunts chose to establish a fund through the Community Foundation because they wanted an efficient way to extend their finances to the community. They had gone to Savant, a financial planning organization in Rockford, IL, to discuss what to do with their life and their available funds for charity. An advisor recommended the Community Foundation as a well-established organization that would provide numerous possibilities for directing their money to causes and places they wanted to support.

The Hunt’s parents had always taught them the importance of sharing throughout their life, and they have held fast to this mindset through every dollar they donate and during every hour they offer in service. “We were taught that sharing was just as important as paying the rent and buying groceries,” said Virginia. “Your charitable giving should be one of your first priorities: not only of your financial resources, but also of your time and talent.”

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