John and Kim Mezzalingua benefited from two major influences in their lives – family and education. They learned from an early age that being involved in your community and giving back were priorities for their parents.
“We were both fortunate as children to attend excellent independent schools, so we know the critical difference a good education can make,” said John. “It is no exaggeration to say that my experience as a student, parent and board member at Manlius Pebble Hill School (MPH) has been life changing. Just as it did for me and my siblings, the school inspires in its students a lifelong love of learning and a commitment to solving local and global problems creatively.”
The couple explained that by supporting learning, it pays forward for generations and gives children the confidence to make good choices. They established a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation to make their giving easy. MPH is a priority among the variety of education and humanitarian causes they support. John and Kim make donations to their fund when it makes good tax sense, and the Community Foundation staff ensures the money is stewarded well. When it’s time to make grants out of their fund, the experience is hassle-free.
“We are committed to involving our children in our philanthropic decisions as well,” said John. “The Community Foundation offers tools we can use to start conversations with our kids about their own interests, so they can experience the fulfillment of giving to others.”
As their children grow, John and Kim plan to continue to engage them in the process of making grants from their fund and instill in them the significance of making an impact on their community and living the values they’ve taught them.