Bend Donor Enjoys ‘a Really Good Partnership’ with OCF
Jody Ward Shares Her Love of Bend, Giving and OCF.
We moved here in 1962, but my husband, Jan, was born here and his father was born here. His grandfather came here on a stagecoach in, I think, 1902, after graduating from the University of Washington.
Jan passed away a little over three years ago. He was a loved man and was very happy that this is where we were able to stay and raise our family and do our work. We were married fifty some years.
Jan was a force. He built homes for multi generations and families. It's fun to have that as a part of our history. He had very interesting parents and a brilliant mother, was raised with really excellent values, philanthropy being one.
I'm crazy about Bend and I have had the great privilege of being a developer and home builder from 1962 until today. We have been a big part of the change in this community. I've enjoyed meeting the people who've come from all over the world, and they've very enthusiastically embracing our community. I think there were 5,000 people when Jan and I moved back here after finishing at Oregon State and so we've been part of that change and it’s been very exciting. Now people are really embracing the wonderful outdoor life.
“I'm just very thankful that we are able to participate in this way and that there are so many wonderful organizations with great leadership that just need that hand up.”
We started off The Ward Family Fund in 1995 at the urging of Bob Chandler. Bob was very active in the Oregon Community Foundation for years and was a huge force in this community. He just gave us a call and told us “Okay kids it's time to step up and do this.” So that's how it got started.
The Swindells and the wonderful people that started the foundation were people we looked up to. We wanted to be part of something that brought so much to the state of Oregon. Greg Chaillé was a wonderful leader and we're delighted to have Max Williams at the helm now. It just gets better and better.
Oregon Community Foundation operates throughout the state and they are very knowledgeable. They help you discover what's happening with each of those organizations and what you can do to help. It’s been a really good partnership.
One of my favorite stories is of Max Williams, who is the great leader we have now, ended up growing up in the same house Jan grew up with in Bend, Oregon. There were four boys in Jan's family and one of his brothers, Ken Ward, must've gotten an electric woodworking tool for Christmas one year. And he wrote his name, Ken, on the ceiling, all over, every board, had Ken Ward written on it. And so, Max said he went to sleep every night seeing Ken, Ken, Ken, Ken, Ken on the ceiling of the house. So, we kind of feel like we're related.
Jan and I, over the years, have invested our money from the Ward Family Fund in working with families and children and organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs of Treasure Valley and Redmond and Bend and Madras and Warm Springs and everywhere else that we could come up with. We spent lots of time over in that part of eastern Oregon and we've got to know the people. Getting to know those people, you understand what their needs are.
I think I'm just very thankful that we are able to participate in this way and that there are so many wonderful organizations with great leadership that just needs that hand up and we've always wanted to be that hand up.
I think the Oregon Community Foundation is an absolutely amazing organization and we are very proud to be part of it and to be able to take advantage of their knowledge and help and information that they share so that we make really good decisions with our philanthropy. I have great confidence in what they do.