Each month, the Foundation will highlight a donor whose gifts are making a difference across Wayne County. For the month of August, we had a chance to speak with Barry and Carolyn MacDowell.

The MacDowells are long-time supporters of the Wayne County Foundation, and are the founders of three funds at the Foundation: the Kevin Scott MacDowell Memorial Scholarship, the Carolyn MacDowell, RN, Fund for Adult Day Care, and the Barry and Carolyn MacDowell Family Fund.

Read below to learn why this couple gives – and continues to give – to the causes that matter to them most in Wayne County!

What motivated you to establish your funds with the Wayne County Foundation?

The thrust of each of the three funds is slightly different. 

The first was to honor the values of our oldest son, Kevin, who died in 1990 as he entered his Senior year at Indiana University.  The second was a fund established by Barry to honor Carolyn’s twenty-two years of nursing service and her retirement from Hand-In-Hand Adult Day Care. 

The third, our donor advised family fund, was a practical mechanism for us to easily support a wide range of community organizations and causes in which we believed.  This fund also had the advantage of its ability to “live on” after our passing, under the direction of our other sons, Andrew and Stephen.

The Wayne County Foundation has had an established reputation of flexibility and good stewardship, so we felt very comfortable in entrusting these efforts to their keeping.

Why do these causes matter to you? What makes you passionate about them?

For our family fund, it is hard to single out any one or two specific causes. The Wayne County area is blessed with so many worthy and effective organizations. They help and enrich our community. These organizations meet real needs in the lives of real people.

We have long believed in the philosophy of “giving back.” Another way of saying this is to quote Will Reller (an early community leader of Reid Hospital) who was quoted as often saying “we all owe ‘rent’ to the community we live in.”

This makes sense to us.

What do you hope to accomplish through your giving?

One of our motivating factors is to remind ourselves that “if life has been good to you, build a longer table, not a higher fence.” We want to help build longer tables.

What do you wish more people knew about philanthropy and giving?

We want more people to know the personal joy and humble satisfaction that comes from supporting needed causes and helping organizations. Also, giving creates the feeling of community with the knowledge that we are joining the combined efforts of so many others in Wayne County.  It truly takes a village.