Giving Back is a Family Value

Growing up in Columbus, Ohio, Josh Traeger learned about giving back—both with time and money—early on. His parents established a foundation with earnings from their family business, and Josh and his siblings sat in on discussions about charitable giving. As the children grew older, his parents entrusted each with increasing responsibility for deciding how and where to give.

Today, Josh and his wife, Kate, hope to instill the same spirit of giving in their daughter. Educators by trade, the Traegers opened their fund in 2006. Now in their early 40s, they are quick to point out that philanthropy need not be the domain of the fabulously wealthy, or the retired. “My goal is to work really hard in life right now and grow the fund,” said Josh, who works in both education and his family’s real estate development business.

Given Josh’s early exposure to giving, the Traegers appreciated what the Community Foundation could offer young philanthropists. “The Foundation helped us organize our thinking around giving through an easy-to-use online tool,” said Kate. “And they connected us to a broader network of philanthropists in the state.”

After all, what drew the Traegers to settle in Vermont was the sense of community they found. Today, both are committed volunteers: He’s a Rotarian who spends time at Groundworks Collaborative and promotes bicycling safety; Kate is deeply invested in the local arts community, and serves on the board of the Brattleboro Women’s Chorus. “Giving a check is great, but we both love being connected to the work,” said Josh.

“I like the ‘community’ part of the Community Foundation,” said Kate. “That’s very important to me.” And as their daughter continues to grow, they plan to increasingly include her in that work. “We work hard so we can have the space to give,” said Josh. “The world needs people to step up. We’re hoping to answer that call.”