Giving Back Isn't Just About Money

Leo and SusanThere are days when Leo Schubert and Susan Sharar peruse the local Quad Cities event calendars and realize there's just not enough time. "How are we going to fit everything in?" Sharar said, laughing.

The couple, who have been married since 2012, said they have found it natural to invest in a community they love and that offers them so much. "Our community has so many cultural opportunities," Sharar said, "in addition to affordable living, wonderful schools, bike and recreation trails, colleges and libraries, and more. We can't get to everything."

Schubert agreed. "It's a really great community. And since we enjoy those things, we want to keep them. So we support them."

Schubert and Sharar recently created a legacy with their resources that will support causes important to them forever. The couple started a permanent endowment at the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend with a farm that has been in Schubert's family for more than a century. The family farm, which his grandfather purchased in the late 1800s, will provide funding for several local organizations, one being the Community Impact Fund at the Community Foundation.

Schubert, who was raised in a military family and spent part of his childhood in Germany after World War II, said he learned to give by the example of those around him. The way he sees it, generosity is contagious. It can be as simple as volunteering or making a financial investment in a nonprofit, and inviting and urging others to do the same.

"In Germany, still devastated from the war, I saw need and I saw generosity," he said. "My parents shared what we had with our German neighbors. As a result, those neighbors became our friends. I learned we need to help each other. I learned we need to give back."

Giving back is not always about money, Sharar said. She has connected with several local refugee families who have moved to the Quad Cities from countries such as Iraq and South Sudan. She has developed relationships with them, teaching them English, helping find affordable clothing and furnishings, and playing "grandma" to the little ones.

Schubert has invested his time in the community by serving on several local nonprofit and organization boards. "We both believe we all need to support our community's organizations and events," he said. "That is giving of our time, our energies, and our talents. There's always an opportunity to give. It's the giving that makes a community."

Working with the Community Foundation has been a wonderful experience. "They are a community of good people who will continue to invest our funds in local organizations after we are gone. I like that," Schubert said.

The donation of land is also a great way to directly invest in local organizations and nonprofits, including the symphony, ballet, museum and library, which mean so much to them. "We can do more with this land if we give it to the Community Foundation, rather than to our heirs," Schubert said. "We can multiply the impact of it on our community."

Sharar said Schubert's philanthropic spirit is one of the things she loves about him, and one of the most profound areas of their life together. "It's Leo's farm, and I appreciate he wants to continue the amenities in this community we both enjoy," she said.

She also grew up with the notion of giving. She was raised in Dubuque, Iowa, in a time when it was steeped in Irish-Catholic culture. "We learned the virtue of giving and helping others. I'm grateful to have the energy and the resources to give."

"The Community Foundation provides a way to give forever," Schubert said. "Susan and I agree, especially about philanthropy and helping others. We're not wealthy. We are teachers, both raised with frugality and generosity. Because of the Community Foundation, the legacy of my grandparents' farm will continue. I like that. It makes us happy."

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