Building Community

“If you’d have told me when I was in college that I’d be getting up in the morning for conferences on green chemistry or early childhood brain development, I’d have laughed,” says fundholder Tom Johnson. “I’ve learned so much, it’s like going to grad school all over again. It really keeps your brain jumping. For me, that’s one of the great joys of giving.” Tom’s continued love of learning is a natural extension of the more than 30 years he spent as a documentary filmmaker weaving together the threads of many stories.

And with his giving, listening for opportunities to bring people together and support their collaboration plays a big role. He and his wife Ina are deeply committed to their local community.

“When a community builds from the bottom up, it gives people a sense of belonging, meaning, and empowerment,” Ina says. “Whether it’s making sure that kids get the right start in life or supporting the restoration of a building, this is the kind of work we really love to support—work that knits people together, that strengthens the community.”

“The Community Foundation has been very important to our philanthropy,” says Tom. “It has served as both a crutch and a catapult. And so I like to give back by having a fund there, because I know it helps them do important work.”