Joe and Karen Kimmell

Joe and Karen Kimmell couldn't be happier about retiring in Charlevoix County. “We love the laid back atmosphere, the serenity,” says Karen, “the people.” They learned about the Community Foundation through an environmental initiative on Lake Charlevoix - special project fund was established to help the Lake Charlevoix Association raise dollars to fight the invasive plant Phragmites. When the initiative finished, the Phragmites Fund  was closed, but Joe and Karen Kimmell remained as donors to the Community Foundation. Joe and Karen intentially give to the Community Endowment, the most flexible and far-reaching fund at the Community Foundation because the purpose is simply to make grants that address a variety of important needs in Charlevoix County.  "With a gift to the Community Endowment, our gift can support all the areas we care about - the environment, arts and culture, and beyond," explained Karen.

Their decision is also based in experience. Joe worked as an estate planning attorney for more than 35 years
and often assisted organizations that received charitable bequests through donors wills or trusts. He helped the nonprofit leaders determine how they could use the dollars in a way that was true to the donor's intent but were still useful to the organizations, and saw how hard that could be. Now, Joe notes that he "wouldn't make a gift to an organization if I didn't trust that it had good leadership and longevity; if I trust the organization, then why would I restrict the dollars in a way that might diminish the value of our gift?"  The Kimmells walk the walk: they give to the Community Endowment annually and have also joined the Legacy Society when they made an estate gift to the Community Endowment. Their support will be felt by residents and visitors, now and in the future.


Learn more about the Community Endowment and Named Funds for the Community.