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Big in Children's Lives

Serving a role in his family's foundation was a natural progression for Andrew MacAoidh Jergens. His late father, Andrew Nicholas Jergens, established The Andrew Jergens Foundation in 1962 and he become involved soon after.

Andrew and Linda JergensServing a role in his family's foundation was a natural progression for Andrew MacAoidh Jergens. His late father, Andrew Nicholas Jergens, established The Andrew Jergens Foundation in 1962 and he become involved soon after.

In contrast, Andrew's wife, Linda Busken Jergens married into the foundation. A former clinical social worker in New York City, she said becoming a trustee provided her an additional means of making a difference in the lives of children.

"There are great needs in this city that have to do with children and here I was being invited to address them from another angle, helping envision and support possibilities,” Linda said.

The Andrew Jergens Foundation focuses on organizations that benefit the health, education, social welfare and cultural experiences of children. It is Andrew and Linda's belief that it is more effective to encourage the development of a child rather than rehabilitate an adult.

"I have a particular interest in supporting the arts for children because so much has been taken away from the public schools," Linda said. "Enhancing creativity helps children realize who they are."

Linda was eager for several reasons to become a trustee in the late 1970s, particularly because there were not many women involved in Cincinnati's nonprofit boards.

"Boards need a balance of males and females," she said. "I noticed the near absence of women's voices on these boards and this angered me."

"It is a privilege and a responsibility to have a voice and make decisions with the other trustees that we hope make a difference in the lives of our community's children," she added.

Several years ago, Andrew began to think about the future of The Andrew Jergens Foundation.

"Provisions for the future had to be made,” he said. "The average age of four of our family trustees is 68 (there are 11 trustees)."

Linda agreed, saying she is committed to the survival of small foundations.

"I feel strongly that in a city like Cincinnati when small foundations go out of business, dissolve, the community loses: a piece of its energy is gone, a part of its life-giving breath is extinguished," she said.

"When the foundation makes possible a roof for a school or a play-safe playground, puppet theatre performances or excursions to a museum, I have to believe a child's life is enhanced."

Beginning in 2004, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation began offering its expertise to family and private foundations.

Private foundations can take advantage of GCF's extensive community knowledge and its grantmaking services. GCF's staff help identify grantmaking priorities, process grant requests and conduct reviews, monitor and evaluate grant recipients and administer all grantmaking activity, including board meeting management.

With GCF's help, The Andrew Jergens Foundation will continue its good work for Cincinnati's children.

"I find it a great relief to have GCF involved," Andrew said. "As the chair of this foundation, I take great comfort in knowing that the good work and the important legacy of The Andrew Jergens Foundation will continue in some manner into the future."

 



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