Generational Fund Creates Legacy of Giving

For Walter and Wilda “Betty” Bortz, family meant everything. With Stark Community Foundation’s help, their core values – prudency and charity toward others – will be passed on to generations of their family, and their commitment will continue to benefit the community they loved.

In their North Canton home, Walter and Betty raised four children – Bob, Dick, Bill and Peggy – and attended services at Community Christian Church, in the shadow of the Hoover Company.

After staying home with her children, Betty taught third grade at Orchard Hill Elementary School for 20 years.

“She thought about the total lives of her students and did whatever she could to help them,” daughter Peggy Bortz-Hayward remembered.

After retiring, Betty volunteered for many years at the Canton Adult Literacy Program.

Walter spent his entire career at Hercules Engines. Peggy recalls her father playing his violin for the family, but when life got busy, the fiddle hung above the fireplace in the cabin Walter built in Cook Forest, Pa. In retirement, he dusted off his instrument, took additional lessons and eventually joined the Tuscarawas Philharmonic, where he played his violin well into his 80s.

In 2006, Walter and Betty passed away eight months apart.

Looking for a way to honor their parents’ memory, the Bortz children first looked into establishing a family foundation. But the family realized there was an easier and more effective way to accomplish their goals: a Fund at Stark Community Foundation.

The Walter K. and Wilda E. Bortz Fund was established by the couple’s children to support nonprofit organizations that work to help the poor and the hungry, strengthen families and promote education and musical arts.

The fund is a Donor Advised Fund, meaning the Bortz family remains completely involved in their charitable giving. They choose the times of distribution – their parents’ wedding anniversary and Christmastime – and the recipients. All of the paperwork and investments are taken care of by the Foundation.

The family works together to select organizations that enrich the lives of families and promote education and music, causes that were important to Walter and Betty. Some past recipients include The Family Living Center, The Tuscarawas Philharmonic, the Boys and Girls Club of Massillon, Community Harvest, Greater Canton Men’s Chorus, and even Orchard Hill Elementary, where Betty was an important part of so many children’s lives.

Through Stark Community Foundation, the Bortz’s growing family – four children, 10 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren, and one great great grandchild – ensures that Walter and Betty’s legacy will live on in the countless lives enriched in the community.

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