Mason Beuhring, Communications & Program Services Director at Marietta Community Foundation, sits down with Eric Erb, Senior Vice President at Peoples Bank and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for Marietta Community Foundation, to get to know this prominent community figure over a meal at Town House.
Mason Beuhring: Eric, thank you for sitting down with me to chat. Let’s start with where you from are and what is your background?
Eric Erb: Well I was born and raised in Marietta, but went to college at Mercer University in Macon, GA. My undergrad was in Business Management and I went down there on a golf scholarship. I tried to get as far south as I could get. And, like most youth, when I left I did not intend on coming back.
But then, through maturity, I realized the value of a small town and the benefits of a close-knit community. So when I had an opportunity to come back, I took it.
MB: What are some of your hobbies and interests?
EE: I’m very involved in church, I still play a little bit of golf, try to play basketball a couple times a week, and I’m very involved in my family. My wife, Lynn, and I have two amazing daughters. Our oldest daughter, Elissa, is a sophomore at Taylor University, and our youngest, Isabelle, is a senior at Williamstown.
MB: You mentioned a few different sports as hobbies, do you have any favorite sports teams?
EE: I love the Ohio State Buckeyes. Outside of that I don’t really have a favorite [pro-sport] team, but I won’t miss a Buckeye game on T.V.
MB: That’s great! I’m going to shift the conversation a bit and ask why did you choose Financial Advising for your career?
EE: My wife and I met with a financial planner. I had always had an interest in financial planning, an interest in investment analysis and management. From that initial meeting with that planner, it developed in to me joining his practice.
MB: Hold on a second, so you actually met with him for financial advice, but ended up gaining a career?!
EE: Yeah, I ended up with a career. I later moved my practice to Peoples Bank in 2006.
MB: How did you end up getting involved with Marietta Community Foundation?
EE: I was invited to join the Board [of Directors] about 12 years ago. I always had tremendous respect for the Foundation, always looked at how the Foundation was ran, and always respected the quality of the Board of Directors. For me I was kind of shocked and surprised that I was invited. I was really honored by the opportunity to join that group.
Marietta Community Foundation’s Board of Directors serve two consecutive five-year terms. After completing two full terms, and then taking a year off, Eric Erb has just started his third five-year term.
MB: So after completing two terms [total of 10 years] as a board member, what prompted you to take up this mantle for again and serve as the Vice Chairman of the Board?
EE: I love what the Foundation does… I love to see people having charitable intent. I love to see people trying to assist other organizations and people in need… It’s neat to see people give. It’s fun to be a part of the Foundation and assist money going to where it is most needed.
It is wonderful to see donors get engaged with the Foundation with ideas that they have. I enjoy seeing us [the Foundation and its Board of Directors] do the best we can with our unrestricted funds, but I also like seeing the restricted funds from donors. Giving them our thoughts and ideas on where to give and how to give.
I have enjoyed seeing Heather [Allender, President & CEO of the Foundation] develop into a strong professional. I have gotten to see her work from a part time employee all the way to where she is running the place. So, seeing her professional development has been something special.
Also, the Board has had such quality people. They have helped me grow in my role on the Board and as a person. They are talented, smart, and interesting people to engage with. The Board meetings aren’t one of those meetings where you say, “Oh, darn I have to go to this meeting.” I look forward to them because they are engaging and challenging.
MB: Are there any particular board members who have greatly influenced you over the years?
EE: For me many of them stand out, but I think the one who stands out the most would be Karen Osborne.
MB: [Laughs] That seems to be a general consensus from everyone I have talked to so far.
EE: [Laughs] She’s a genius! I got to interact with her while she was still in accounting and she helped myself and my clients tremendously. She also has a great style and demeanor about herself. She can get her opinion across without causing friction and people turn to her if there are tough decisions to be made. Her intellectual and historical knowledge of the Foundation is invaluable.
MB: Last question, and then I will let you enjoy your burger [laughs]. What is one thing one you would like people to know about the Foundation?
EE: I would say it wouldn’t be one thing, but three things.
One, they should have confidence in how the Foundation is run. We bench-mark ourselves against other foundations our size. They are getting a well-oiled machine, it is very efficient with no waste. We try to get every penny we can out of expenses to give it back in the community. Also, the fact that there are no fees is unusual for organizations like ours.
Two, would be our unrestricted giving. Let us do the due diligence for the donor. Let us do the due diligence on what organizations are most in need and most worthy.
And, three, if restricted [funds] is where you want to go, use the capabilities of the Foundation. Make a lump sum deposit and then let us cut the checks based on your wishes throughout the year. It saves on your checks and it saves on your accounting nightmares.
MB: Thank you for your time, Eric. Now I’ll stop talking so we can eat.