As an Eagle Scout in Indiana, young Charlie Atkins discovered a love of hiking, camping, and being outdoors. Today, as a volunteer with Boy Scouts, he helps a new generation of boys, and girls, connect to nature while building life skills.
Boy Scouts is one of many organizations that Charlie has supported since his retirement from a successful career as a tax attorney. He’s a mentor, a tutor with Reading Partners, and with his wife, Bethany, volunteers with Project Cure, which ships medical supplies around the world. Charlie recently joined The Denver Foundation’s Education Committee to deepen his commitment to young people in our community.
Philanthropy keeps the family connected and helps everyone get involved in their communities. But philanthropy is a value you have to cultivate.
Charlie and Bethany—who have trekked every continent but Antartica—are also active philanthropists with a Donor-Advised Fund at The Denver Foundation. As members of the Community Legacy Society, they will eventually turn the fund over to their three grown nieces and nephews. As busy as he is generous, Charlie shared a few thoughts on giving and how young people keep you in shape.
What does philanthropy mean to your family?
Philanthropy keeps the family connected and helps everyone get involved in their communities. But philanthropy is a value you have to cultivate. When people are starting out, starting families, they sometimes say, ‘[Philanthropy] will have to wait.’ But we work at it. Every year I tell my nieces and nephews, ‘Write to me and tell me why you want to give and to whom.’ Then they have to defend their decisions.
What motivates you to give?
My philosophy is: If you've been successful, you have some great skill in some area, and your community has helped you and been part of your success. So be committed, give back. You have a duty that comes with your success, to make the community a place where others can have success.
What’s the draw of working with young people?
I’m a big kid myself, and kids like being around me. It’s a way to scratch that itch, without having kids of my own. The kids keep me young! I end up racing them, matching them for push-ups. And as any parent knows, sometimes you’re amazed at the things that come out of a kid; they just see the world differently.
What’s the best part of mentoring?
I’ve had the joy of seeing many of the eight or nine kids I’ve mentored over the years flourish and do well. Many are grown and married and have kids of their own. A real nice kid I started working with when he was four just graduated from college. To see kids get office jobs in buildings where their parents never got beyond manual labor is really gratifying.
Why did you choose The Denver Foundation as your philanthropic partner?
I worked for a wealth-planning firm that develops strategies to transfer wealth down a generation. Our practice had a lot of philanthropic aspects to it. We introduced a lot of clients to The Denver Foundation because Donor-Advised Funds were easy administratively and had a lot of flexibility. I came to The Denver Foundation for the same reasons. I’ve been hanging around this place for a long time now and gotten to know just about everyone. They do an excellent job, and it’s a unique and special place.
Are you ready to make a difference with your giving?The Denver Foundation helps generous people like you to make a difference in our community and beyond.We can help you create a personalized fund to accomplish your philanthropic goals. If you have questions, contact Kelly Purdy with the Philanthropic Services Group, firstname.lastname@example.org
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