A sense of joy in giving

When Al and Linda Potter established the Potter Family Fund at the Foundation in 2004, they were planning for the future. “The intention was that when I retired, the grants from our fund at the Foundation would be an important part of our giving, an additional resource to draw from. We thought a donor advised fund was an interesting way to do that,” Al explains.

Now two years retired from a nearly 32-year career with Gilbane Building Company, he says, “It’s worked out well for that purpose.”

Moving to Rhode Island in 1989 through his job with Gilbane, the couple quickly became involved in the community and in local philanthropy. “Nearly everyone at Gilbane, right up to the chairman, gave to United Way,” Al recalls.

Their church also has played an important role. “The idea of stewardship, as part of our Episcopal faith, is important to us. We’ve developed our own personal theology of stewardship and believe that we have a Christian obligation to be good stewards of the financial resources that we are fortunate enough to have,” he continues.

Part of their giving is of their time. Both Al and Linda have served on the vestry of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in East Greenwich, as well as various church committees, and both have been involved with Episcopal Charities. Al has served on the board of Children’s Friend for more than 15 years and is chairman of the Friends of South Ferry Church in Narragansett. He also has served on other nonprofit boards, including Travelers Aid (now Crossroads Rhode Island) and the Dutch Island Lighthouse Society.

The couple’s financial support has focused on the areas of child welfare, hunger, and homelessness, as well as the church. “We want to support good, local organizations that we feel have an impact. When you feel good about giving, it can be a lot of fun. There’s a sense of joy in giving,” Al believes.

And, he says, “the icing on the cake” of the donor advised fund is that their daughter, Elizabeth, now an attorney living in Colorado with her husband and young son, will steward the fund as its successor advisor. “As people become aware of philanthropy in their own lives, it can bring them a sense of joy and fulfillment that’s personally satisfying,” he concludes.
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