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A Legacy of Land

Russ Simmonds sat back with a sigh. It had been a rough year. He and his sisters had lost both parents in a period of seven months. 

Simmonds FamilyRuss Simmonds sat back with a sigh. It had been a rough year. He and his sisters had lost both parents in a period of seven months. 

Russ, and his sisters, Charlotte and Kay, had gathered to stay at their 170-year old family farm – perhaps for the last time.

As they sat in the dining room, Russ said to his sisters, “We are the sixth generation of the Simmonds family to have lived on this property. All 64 years of Mom and Dad’s marriage were spent on this farm. You know that if we sell this land, it’ll be developed. I don’t think any of us want that to happen.”

The idea of gifting the land to a nonprofit appealed to the siblings, but the task of doing this seemed overwhelming. They decided to ask The Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) for help, having worked with the Foundation on the details of their parents’ donor advised fund. 

With the help of GCF, the Simmonds siblings found a nonprofit organization whose mission matched their values and who could use the farm. Finally in the fall of 2009, Russ and his sisters stood on the front porch of the family farmhouse with representatives of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

We couldn’t be happier to turn over the keys to the SPCA,” Russ said joyfully. “We know you’ll be able to put the property to good use. Throughout our process, there have been many instances where the fit between the legacy of the land and the goals and aspirations of the SPCA were incredible. We know the SPCA Cincinnati will be a great custodian of this land and will preserve its legacy for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.”

“While this was a somewhat unusual situation, it was also a perfect example of how GCF is uniquely positioned to help people make the most of their giving to build a better community,” said Amy Cheney, GCF’s Vice President for Giving Strategies. "We were pleased and honored to help the Simmonds family find a way to carry out their legacy. We were thrilled to be able to draw on our Community Investment Group’s expertise and knowledge of organizations in the community. We are also happy to see a new community asset developed for the people of our region. This story truly was a win for everyone.”

February 2012

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