Community, Powered by Giving
Wieslers’ gifts support the community that helped raise their children
Helen and Don Wiesler experienced firsthand the truth of the African proverb, it takes a village to raise a child. “We always relied not only on family but on the church, the schools and the community to help raise our children, and they did a marvelous job,” explains Helen. “We took advantage of all that was available, helped out where we could and soon realized just how important the entire community was.”
As an expression of their deep-seated values and local commitment, the couple established a Charitable Remainder Unitrust. Income from such a trust can support the donor during life, with the remainder going to designated charitable causes at death.
Helen remembers helping with Habitat for Humanity’s first house build in Stinesville, along with one of her sons. Don was a bird watcher and the family enjoyed regular outings to parks and recreational areas. Their children participated in scouting programs and had fun with swimming and art classes. The family also visited the public library often.
Prior to Don’s death in 2009, the couple spent time discussing their estate plan and the charitable legacy they wanted to leave. “We wanted to give back, after raising our children and getting them through college, and after we retired,” Helen recalled.
They knew they wanted to support local organizations and, specifically, to give through endowments for long-lasting impact. In addition to their colleges and church, their financial advisor suggested a gift to the Community Foundation. Reflecting their family’s gratitude as well as their desire to help others, the Wieslers thoughtfully chose endowments designated to benefit a range of agencies: Habitat for Humanity, Monroe County United Ministries, Sycamore Land Trust, Bloomington Park & Recreation Foundation, Hilltop Garden & Nature Center, Monroe County Public Library Foundation, and WonderLab. Their trust gift will also grow several endowments that can support different programs over time, in important fields of service – early childhood education, inclusive recreation, and basic needs.
Helen further decided to include the Community Foundation’s operating endowment, to ensure its work on behalf of Bloomington and Monroe County.
“I believe in supporting the Foundation so it can continue serving the needs of the community and give others the same opportunity we had,” she said.
Helen remains active in the community, volunteering at Opportunity House and Meals on Wheels. She also continues her hobbies of flower gardening and quilting, using her mother’s old quilting frames. As her grandchildren graduate from high school, she lets each choose a quilt as a keepsake.
Just as those quilts serve as family mementos, Helen and Don’s legacy gift is a lasting tribute to the community that became such a cherished part of their lives.