September 26, 2016

Remembering J. Spencer Standish

The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region remembers with deep gratitude and an even greater sense of loss, our friend J. Spencer Standish who passed away on Thursday, September 22, 2016.

While much will be written about his business acumen, it’s his spirit of generosity and care for our region for which he will be most remembered at the Foundation.

The Standish Family Fund of the Community Foundation was created in 2003, under the leadership of then-Executive Director Judy Lyons. The Community Foundation was celebrating its 35th birthday and was proud to have assets under management of more than $25 million.

During this momentous year, Spencer Standish established the Standish Family Fund with a gift of $4.6 million – at that time, the largest gift in the history of the Foundation. The Fund is a perfect example of the power of endowed giving. Since its creation, the fund has granted more than $2.5 million to worthy nonprofit organizations, and now has a value of more than $6.5 million. Setting up the Standish Family Fund in this way has allowed Spencer Standish and the Standish family to continue supporting the issues and community that mean so much to them. See the bottom of this article for a graphic illustrating the growth of the Standish Family Fund.

In the Annual Report that year, Judy wrote:

At times, in the early years, our progress seemed slow. But we found hope in each new fund established by our donors and in each resulting grant. Better yet, we found others who shared that hope – and who still do. The most obvious example came just weeks ago with the largest gift in our history. … The gift serves as a reminder of the spirit of generosity that flourishes in the Capital Region – and that, ultimately, will secure our community’s future. It also fuels our determination to build our charitable endowment until it reaches the level that our region truly deserves.

As the staff reflected on our time with Spencer, Jackie Mahoney, the Foundation’s Vice President of Programs, said, “Mr. Standish understood that if he made a commitment to the Foundation that others would follow.”

Spencer’s historic gift continues to be an inspiration for individuals and families committed to our region’s health and well-being. The establishment of the Standish Family Fund and its grantmaking process has helped to chart the Foundation’s course and remains a model for excellence in philanthropy.

Spencer Standish was a force for good.  Our hearts are full of gratitude. We will miss our dear friend.spencerbdayposter2015