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Strength in Flexibility

The Schadts simplify giving with a donor-advised fund

When asked about deciding to open a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation, Steve Schadt says with a laugh, “We’ve been getting there for the past 35 years.”

For decades, Steve – along with his brother and cousin – operated the Schadt Foundation, a private family foundation known for its generous support in a variety of impact areas. The three got along beautifully, agreeing on funding decisions and priorities. As they became more intentional about succession planning, though, the cousins recognized their most efficient option would be to dissolve the family foundation and create three distinct funds at the Community Foundation.

Retired real estate appraiser Steve and his wife, Debby, have been extremely pleased with that decision. A donor-advised fund eliminates their administrative burden and lets them focus on responding to community needs.

The Schadts are passionate and engaged Memphians with a longtime commitment to philanthropy and community service. Steve’s grandfather, father, and uncle ran the family foundation and encouraged civic involvement as a family tradition. A retired licensed professional counselor, Debby was a longtime Junior League of Memphis volunteer and served as its president. She has spent the past 18 years on the board of The Assisi Foundation.

The couple supports many local nonprofits working in education, the arts, family and human services, and healthcare. Recent new grantees include A Step Ahead Foundation, the Family Safety Center, and Caritas Village. “We want to remain flexible and adaptable,” Debby says, being “open to emerging needs in addition to important tried-and-true organizations.”

As they support a roster of established organizations and more grassroots nonprofits, they are especially grateful to rely on the expertise and resources of the Community Foundation. “We have always believed the Foundation held the best interest of the donors at heart and had a moral imperative to operate in a way that was beneficial to the community,” Debby says. “We have total confidence that our wishes and goals will be facilitated and very efficiently dealt with through the Community Foundation.”

Excerpted from the 2017 Community Foundation Annual Report