Giving Back: It’s a Family Affair
Shannon Nill, Donor
In these difficult times, Shannon Nill of Coburg keeps an eye on what matters. “It’s been a matter of individual survival lately, that could easily take the focus off of helping others,” he says. “To help others right now is probably one of the best forms of medicine we can give each other.”
Shannon is one part of a trifecta of Lane County brothers, who—along with their mother—are making an impact in their community through OCF donor advised funds.
Shannon, owner of Guaranty Chevrolet, his mother and his brothers co-own Guaranty RV Super Centers in Junction City. Their father Herb Nill worked hard to build up the dealerships over more than 50 years. He also gave back, supporting youth groups like the local council of Boy Scouts of America and setting an example of generosity for his family and community. Herb died at 87 in 2016 and is survived by his wife Ruth “Sally” Nill and his sons.
Sally continues the tradition of generosity. For Eugene’s performing art space Shedd Institute, she funded a loop audio system that allows hearing impaired audience members to better enjoy performances. Then, in 2019, Sally established four donor advised funds at OCF—one for herself and one for each of her sons.
Shannon is using his fund to support several organizations fostering development and emotional health for youth—services in strong demand as COVID school closures and economic impacts hit families.
“Most of the organizations I’ve chosen to help are youth organization of one type or another that help young people get life skills and plan for their futures,” Shannon says.
A few examples of nonprofits his fund supports include: ElRod Center, which helps children and teens struggling with mental health and suicide; Unbridled Youth Ranch and Equine Rescue, which provides equine-assisted services to youth ages 6-18 who are in crisis or overcoming traumas; and Healthy Moves, which in a time of budget cuts to physical education, brings movement and fitness to elementary students.
“To help others right now is probably one of the best forms of medicine we can give each other.”
The fund also awarded grants to other organizations supporting healthy social, cognitive and physical development in children, to those providing basic services, and to organizations focused on conservation and animal welfare. All in all, Shannon’s fund has so far supported 17 organizations.
Before working with OCF, Shannon was familiar with many local organizations, but he credits OCF with helping him identify additional nonprofits aligned with his interests and community needs.
The family chose OCF after their business attorney Art Clark of Hershner Hunter and accountant Kevin Bell of Kernutt Stokes recommended OCF. Shannon values the Foundation’s services and appreciates its low overhead and strong reputation.
“Some really successful people are involved with OCF, which makes me feel good about working with them,” Shannon says. “These business leaders would not have aligned with OCF unless they saw merit, efficiency and a pattern of helping organizations thrive.”
Of his family’s giving through OCF, Shannon says “Dad and our family all along have been interested in helping different groups. This is an extension of what we’ve been doing all along. It gives us a more organized way to do it, and probably more money is reaching the folks that need it most by working with OCF. It’s a good legacy to continue to be a part of.”
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