Updegraff Sutton Family Foundation Fund


Giving back – now and in the future; this lady is a STAR

Joanne Marie Sutton Updegraff spent her pre-teen years in Malden, Illinois, a small town with a two room school.  “My family eventually moved to Princeton, Iowa so that I could attend the high school there,” said Joanne. “After high school, I went to the University of Iowa and met my husband-to-be, Clarence Updegraff when I was an undergrad.”  After graduation and while her husband continued his medical training, Joanne taught at Horace Mann Elementary School in Iowa City, Iowa. In the early 1960’s the newlyweds moved to Missouri where Clarence served as a Captain in the Army at Ft. Leonard Wood.  After his two years of service, the Updegraffs relocated to the Quad Cities, where Dr. Updegraff started his practice as an Anesthesiologist. They settled in Bettendorf, half way between Princeton and Iowa City, Clarence’s hometown.

Joanne kept busy after their only child – a daughter, Lynn - was born.  When Lynn was older, Joanne regularly helped at her school and with the many activities she became involved in.  Lynn was a good student and loved music, which led her to join the band program.  Joanne shares a story of a time when she chaperoned a band trip to Rapids City, South Dakota for a competition. They arrived right after a terrible flood had crippled the city.  Their hotel, which was located in a “questionable” part of town, was not only scary at night, but it was unfortunately experiencing issues due to the flooding.  When Joanne and her daughter realized the toilet in their room wasn’t working, she immediately reported it to the front desk.  “They handed us a plunger,” recalled Joanne.  “I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry!”

When she had free time, Joanne enjoyed playing golf and tennis, but she also found time to give back to her community.  “As a child, I watched my parents give back,” Joanne said.  “As an adult I credit my parents for modeling philanthropy. I wanted to benefit my community,” she added. Because of her love of golf and tennis, one of Joanne’s early acts of philanthropy was setting up a fund at the University of Iowa that awards women’s tennis and golf athletic scholarships annually.

Joanne has continued their legacy of “giving back” locally through volunteer roles at the Scott County Humane Society, Bettendorf Park Board, Scott County Medical Auxiliary and others.  When her daughter Lynn was a young student in Bettendorf, Joanne saw a need for children to have a safe place to go when walking to and from school, so she started the STAR program.  Blue stars in the window of a home meant it was a safe place for children who felt endangered or scared.  Traveling through Bettendorf, you can still find blue stars in the windows of homes near the elementary schools.

Sadly, Joanne shared how her husband, Clarence, had died much too soon at the young age of 52 due to complications from Diabetes.  But just as quickly as the sadness came over her, it was replaced with joy in speaking again about her daughter and granddaughter.  Lynn married her husband Henry Hardt and together they had one daughter, Marie – Joanne’s granddaughter.  “A love of music has been a common thread within our family,” said Joanne. “Lynn still participates in the local symphony orchestra where they live near Storm Lake, Iowa, and her daughter Marie plays clarinet and is an all-state honoree.  As a grandmother, that makes me very proud.”

These days, Joanne is an independent living resident at The Fountains in Bettendorf.  She enjoys the lifestyle and spending good times with her friends.  She had read about and heard good things regarding the Community Foundation, so recently Joanne decided to be proactive about her philanthropy.  Working with a team consisting of the Community Foundation, her attorney, and a trust officer at Quad City Bank & Trust, she established the Updegraff Sutton Family Foundation Fund.  The endowed donor advised fund provides Joanne the opportunity to easily manage her charitable giving during her lifetime.  In addition, she avoided capital gain taxes on the transfered securities and enjoyed the benefit of an Endow Iowa Tax Credit. With online access to her fund, Joanne, now a spry 80 years old, can easily support the causes that matter to her from the comfort of her own home.

To ensure that her support for causes she cares about continues after her lifetime, Joanne has also included the Community Foundation in her estate plan.   

Joanne chose to structure her giving the way she has so that she can support the community she loves – during her lifetime and even more afterwards.  When asked how she would like to be remembered, Joanne responded “as a good mother and grandmother”.  There is no doubt she will also be remembered as a funny, kind, and generous lady.

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