Mason Beuhring, Communications & Program Services Director at Marietta Community Foundation, sits down with Jennifer Christy, member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, to get to know this prominent community member.
Mason Beuhring: I appreciate you meeting with me this morning, Jennifer. If you don’t mind, I’d like to begin with you sharing some personal background and how long you have been in the Marietta Community?
Jennifer Christy: I’m originally from Kansas City, but I have been in Marietta since I was three years old. The only time I left was for school, but I came back and married my husband, Jim.
MB: Was Jim from this area?
JC: Yes, he was a Marietta man, so we weren’t ever going to leave! We had a real estate business, which I sold in 2001, and we had four boys. Once we started our family, I stayed home to raise them.
MB: That’s awesome! So, how did you get involved with the Foundation?
JC: Jim worked very closely with Bob Kirkbride [a Board member and past Director of the Foundation]. I got involved when Bob recommended we create a fund in Jim’s memory, after his passing in 2000. Bob said it would be a great opportunity to honor his legacy, and it truly was! The Jim Christy Fund for Kids was established with contributions received from the community, in Jim’s memory.
MB: What an amazing way to honor Jim’s memory. In my brief time here, I’ve heard a lot about this fund and how it helps many children in our area. So how did you make the transition from establishing a fund to joining the board and to help others establish funds?
JC: Carol Wharff (past Executive Director) had asked me to join the board a few times, but I was very involved with my kids and couldn’t devote the time. Nine years ago, she came back and asked me again, and I said, “Okay!”
MB: So nine years after that conversation with Carol, two of which you served as the Chair of the Board of Directors, why do you continue to serve the Foundation, and this community, in this capacity?
JC: This has been one of the most gratifying boards I have ever served on. The board members are wonderful, knowledgeable people and our meetings are ran so well. Everybody brings something different to the table.
I love learning about the different nonprofits I didn’t know existed and being more involved in the community. We help nonprofits get to the next level.
Being here [in Marietta] for so long, I want to see this community thrive and flourish.
MB: Is there a specific philanthropic cause that you are passionate about?
JC: My oldest son was born with a lot of birth defects. I lived in Ronald McDonald House for two months, while he was in Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Then he was involved with Ewing School and integrated into St. Mary’s. Because of this, we have always been passionate about giving back to these type of institutions.
Jim’s fund was created to help kids in Washington County… and there is a huge need.
MB: Outside of your nine years as a board member, have you developed any hobbies?
JC: I am involved in three book clubs… I do a lot of reading!
I also play a lot of bridge. I’m involved in about four groups! One group is made up of 91 year old women, so I learn so much from them. It’s inspiring because they are very sharp! But, the game is great for your mind because it makes you think!
MB: Well we will begin to wrap things up, but before we close, do you have any last comments?
JC: I believe that people have this ‘longing to give’ no matter what. No matter what it is, I think we are just born that way. And, that’s how we receive, because it is so much better to give… it really is such a good thing.
MB: Thank you for your time, Jennifer.