A legacy's impact stretches across the generations

 Saturday, September 05, 2015
Hugh Ralston
Dear Friends,

At the community foundation, we respect the power of legacies, testaments to the impact of lives invested in others. It is one of our greatest privileges to work with individuals and families, either to establish a legacy to honor the passions of someone who has passed on or to craft strategies that carries the donors’ passion to the next generation and beyond.

FRF’s own legacies of service and investment

We are also mindful of our own institutional legacies, as we prepare to celebrate fifty years of community philanthropy in this region. This is timely as we connect with our former board members on an annual basis, each of whom has played an important role in overseeing the foundation’s mission and who represent an important sounding board as we move into our next chapter of work.

In that work, we see many examples of legacies at the foundation reaching across the generations, and in expressing the love folks have for this region and the institutions that build, nurture and sustain community. Whether it is designated funds for projects like river restoration, or scholarships, or permanent endowments for local agencies, philanthropic capital at the foundation carries forth the things that matter most to our donors and board members.

Rosellen Kershaw’s legacy

One such life that will linger long after her death is Rosellen Kershaw, a veteran community volunteer whose contributions to civic life have been well chronicled in her recent obituary and in other commentary published by those whom she inspired, whom she worked with and whom she believed in.

Her passions included our local libraries, which found its tangible legacy in endowment funds that sustain the work of the county public library system. A legacy society has been created in her name at the Fresno Library Foundation to acknowledge and honor those who, through a planned gift, shared her belief in the power of libraries, and the importance of sustainable funding.

Active in the Rotary Club, the AAUW and the League of Women Voters (where she was the first to achieve 50 year status) – among other organizations, Rosellen was one of those whose commitment to community made things happen.

FRF’s partnership through grantmaking and leadership

We knew her as a board member of the Foundation from 1991-2000, an appointee of the Mayor under the previous form of board governance. In her giving through and to funds at the foundation, she was a generous donor to institutions that ranged from art and cultural institutions, conservation trusts and a wide array of local charities that serve the poor, the disadvantaged and those needing help.

In addition to her own charitable activities, she served as a fund advisor to several scholarship funds – Raymond Harvey Music Fund, the Maxine Rodkin Scholarship Fund, Glee Ewell Memorial Fund and the San Joaquin Valley Town Hall, lending her expertise and passion for this region to ensuring that philanthropic dollars are wisely invested and distributed. These funds carry forth missions that impact real lives: parenting programs to enable parents to finish high school, music programs in Fresno County and supporting the civic leadership and engagement through the Town Hall Fund. 

Each of these funds distributes grants which extend to an organization or an individual the possibilities that animated a donor’s lifelong contributions. And in Rosellen’s case, these possibilities will now carry forward into the future. 

Sustaining Legacies is part of our work

In ways large and small, we are proud to sustain those legacies we have been entrusted with, and to ensure that these legacies are protected and carried forth. We look forward to working with donors across our valley to find ways to sustain the legacies that will shape tomorrow’s communities, and carry forward that virtual circle of care that grounds every community in the transition between generations.

As we move forward to our next chapter as a community foundation serving this Central Valley, we will seek out those ways that charitable capital can be harnessed most effectively, protecting what donors care about, ensuring effective use of scarce charitable dollars and strengthening those organizations and causes that will help shape a more prosperous future for this next chapter of California’s future. Please join us in this good work.
Best Regards,

Hugh J. Ralston
President and CEO 
(559) 226-5600 ext. 101 

Giving through the Foundation

Fresno Regional Foundation helps donors achieve their charitable goals, and we serve as a bridge connecting philanthropy to community-based organizations that provide programs and services throughout the San Joaquin Valley.

Learn more about giving through the foundation.

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