February 24, 2020

Farewell to our dear friend Matthew Bender, IV

The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region learned yesterday of the passing of our friend Matt Bender. Today, we remember Matt with deep gratitude and an even greater sense of loss.

While much will be written about Matt’s business acumen, it is his spirit of generosity and care for the people and places of our region that we will hold dear at the Foundation.

As one of the Community Foundation’s founding members – Matt was always by our side. He was a true leader, offering guidance and encouragement at every turn.  When we needed counsel, Matt was the first person the Foundation would call upon. Having been a part of this community his entire life, he knew what worked and who to bring to the table.  He was a great strategist. If you had an idea and wanted to see if it would float, Matt would always offer honest feedback. Even when he didn’t agree, he was kind and fair and helped to shine a light on a new path forward.

The Bender Family with Barbara Hoehn and Chuck Liddle at our Celebration of Philanthropy Luncheon, where the family was honored with the C. Jordan Vail Spirit of Philanthropy Award.


When the Foundation was approaching our 50th Anniversary, again we called our friend Matt for his insights on how to position the Foundation for the future. Through his philanthropy and the work of the Bender Family Foundation, Matt recognized that as a community grows the needs change. He believed that having a discretionary permanent endowment to be able to address these changing needs was critical and encouraged the Community Foundation to move forward.

Matt with Chet Opalka and our Celebration of Philanthropy Luncheon in 2016.


Matt believed that our region was a special place and worthy of investment. He was one of the first to give to the Community Foundation’s Campaign for Impact and not surprising to anyone, led by his example. He opened doors and called upon his friends to join him in giving to the Campaign. Once again, Matt Bender was our champion.

While no one can replace Matt Bender, we are comforted in knowing that his giving legacy lives on in his family and the work of the Bender Family Foundation.

John Eberle
President and CEO

 For more information on Matt’s incredible life, please read the following articles: