‘Seed Fund’ Encourages Other Oregonians to Give
Donor Douglas Tsoi Shares the Story Behind His Gift
I believe that a happy life is a purposeful and meaningful one, filled with connection and service to others. In 2001, after being laid off as a technology lawyer in San Francisco, I wrote a mission for my life: to help people learn and become closer to their communities.
My family were immigrants to this country and I remind myself to be grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had that could be so easy to feel entitled to. With the economic hardship our state has experienced, this became increasingly important to me. In 2010 I was working as a government sustainability coordinator and lived a simple lifestyle (I later became financially independent at 42). I knew I could live on less than I was earning, so I decided to give half of my income to help other Oregonians in need.
At first I gave money on impulse: to causes I heard about on the radio or that friends supported, mostly in childhood education and basic needs. As I continued giving, I realized that I wanted my money to further my mission to help people learn and feel closer to their communities. I wanted my money to be a high leverage investment.
My goal was for seed donors and recipients to learn and become part of a stronger and healthier community through philanthropy, paying joy and connection forward.
— Douglas Tsoi
I took my remaining $15,000 and created the “Seed Fund” at OCF. This Fund offered a “seed” of $5,000 to any potential philanthropists willing to create a charitable fund of at least $25,000. Another donor contributed another $5,000 and all four seedlings were quickly used to create four new charitable funds at OCF in various parts of the state:
- The Conescu-Doolin Music Education Scholarship Fund, a permanently endowed scholarship fund, supports students majoring in music.
- The Josephine County Foundation Fund focuses on supporting causes in Josephine County.
- Two families utilized their seedlings to create donor advised funds that will provide support to the community in perpetuity. One of those funds was created by a wonderful community leader who has since passed away. Her loved ones continue to use the fund to support education and basic needs of underserved youth and adults.
Through the resulting combined assets of $347,820 as of 2019, with nearly 90% permanently endowed, these seeds led to permanent, ongoing funding for important causes.
Oregon is an amazing place. I know that other people built this Oregon for me, so I want to help build a better Oregon for others. My goal was for seed donors and recipients to learn and become part of a stronger and healthier community through philanthropy, paying joy and connection forward. The goal of the Seed Fund is being realized.
— Douglas Tsoi