by Marirose Steigerwald
"Take care of what you’ve been given."
My mother’s words ring in my ears almost daily. She was a depression-era baby and believed and taught us that we should always care for what we have. Both of my parents modeled this – they took care of everything they ever owned. My father took such good care of a lawnmower that we still use it – and it’s 30 years old! They left any place they lived better than when they moved in – whether it was an apartment in NYC or a rented beach place.
My husband and I have worked to pass this to our children – if you borrow a car, return it with a full tank. If you stay over at someone’s house, clean up after yourself. If you own something, maintain it. We believe that maintaining something well creates more value than replacing it quickly. We have always improved the homes in which we lived – usually through much blood, sweat and some tears!
It occurred to me that “taking care of what we’ve been given” is exactly what we do here at NCCF. We have been given the privilege and responsibility of inspiring North Carolinians to make lasting and meaningful contributions to their communities. There is a strong sense of permanence in our endowments – and when we “take care” of it, it increases in value to the community – now and in the future. Our support of our fundholders, our affiliates and their boards, our statewide board and our communities allows our Foundation to leave our state better than when we moved in.
Personally, I realized that my job, as director of operations, allows me to take care of the people who take care of our donors, our boards, our grants and scholarship recipients, and to take care of our beautiful new office – it doesn’t get any better than this!