Bruce and Jean WymanBruce and Jean WymanWe recently sat down with Bruce and Jean Wyman, who and are actively involved with the Community Foundation, as well as having a Donor Advised Fund with the Community Foundation. They are both members of the Giving Circle of HOPE, and focus their grant making locally.


Can you tell us about your experience with the Community Foundation? How did you get involved to create your fund?

We created our fund at the Community Foundation in order to allow for ease of making annual donations.  Initially, we researched several other funds but felt most comfortable with the Community Foundation.  The staff was warm and showed interest in how they could help us meet and expand our philanthropic goals. 

Tell us about your support for the Permanent Fund. 

After hearing about the creation of the Permanent Fund, there was no question that we wanted to be a part of supporting the growing needs of the region.  Northern Virginia is a diverse and growing community that has complex needs.  With their relationships in the community, we felt that the Community Foundation was best positioned to understand these needs and how they can be addressed.

How long have you been involved with the Giving Circle of HOPE?  
I (Jean) have been connected to the Giving Circle of Hope for about 10 years.  Eileen Ellsworth, President and CEO of the Community Foundation, first introduced me to the Giving Circle when I met with her about creating our donor advised fund.  She was intuitive enough to see that I was interested in more than just writing a check.  Currently, I serve on the Guiding Circle (GCH board) as the membership chair.  Bruce has been a voting member for the past several years and is active in volunteering at various events held by the Giving Circle, including the Empty Bowls event.

Have you seen the effect of the grants that GCH and or your fund has made?
One thing we love about being involved with GCH is the ability to see the impact that grants, funded through collective giving, make by receiving annual feedback about the projects GCH funds. In addition, GCH allows for the ability to visit with and meet those whom are the recipients of these funds.  Having our donor advised fund at the Community Foundation has allowed us to tap into the knowledge of staff to identify local nonprofits that are doing work that match our philanthropic ideals.  

Anything else that you would like to add?
Through my relationship with the Community Foundation, I became aware of the Healthy Kids grant they offer.  As a school social worker, I was thrilled to secure a grant for students at my school whom have special education needs, primarily emotional and behavioral challenges.  The Healthy Kids grant funds allowed us to hire a yoga teacher to bring yoga and mindfulness to these students. The program was a huge success. Feedback from students was that yoga helped them be happy, stay calm and better manage their frustration.  I am so grateful to the Community Foundation for the opportunity to bring yoga and mindfulness to students who may not otherwise have had the opportunity.