Inspiring Generosity: New series showcases the impact of the Bay Area Community Foundation

Diane Mahoney, President and CEO of the Bay Area Community Foundation, serves alongside a board of trustees, staff, and volunteers as together they connect people to the causes they care about the most.

There are people we meet during our lifetime who inspire us. People who fill us with an urge to do something more or make us think, "I want to be more like that."

Walt and Carol Weinlander were two of those people to me.

I first met them at their home back in 2019 when I was relatively new to Bay City. I remember being struck by their welcoming kindness, humbleness and sense of humanity.  

Walt and Carol were quiet givers who wanted to create a future that would bring hope to our world, our community and to people they didn’t even know. They were not looking for accolades or praise for their giving.  

When I asked Carol why they gave, she responded succinctly, “We live here, so we ought to give back. We are thankful and feel it is our duty to help others.” They liked the idea of giving to the community where they lived and in a way that would respond to changing community needs.  

Carol went on to say that they are old now and, “We’d rather give the money to the Community Foundation and trust the community to decide what is needed. The young people need to take over and make it a better place.” 

What I didn’t know at the time was that within three years, this couple would leave the largest estate gift our organization has received for the betterment of Bay County and for specific causes such as the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.

I once read that what you do is your history. What you set in motion is your legacy. With their gift, the Weinlanders’ spirit of generosity will continue well beyond their lifetime, creating a lasting impact on those they touch. Walt and Carol left a mark on this world.  

In their honor and inspired by their generosity, the Bay Area Community Foundation Legacy Society has been created to celebrate the timeless nature of giving and the profound impact it has on those around us. The Legacy Society stands as a tribute to the past, a response to the present and a preparation for a brighter tomorrow. 

The Legacy Society recognizes those donors who have named the Bay Area Community Foundation in their estate plan. This can be done in a variety of ways – through a bequest in a will or trust, as a named beneficiary of an IRA or life insurance policy and more.

To be a part of the Legacy Society, simply let us know about your planned gift. By sharing your intentions, we can better carry out your charitable wishes. You can choose if you’d like to be anonymous or a publicly recognized member of the Society.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can champion causes important to you through estate planning, please reach out to me at 989-893-4438 or 

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