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The Gift of an Endowment

Athens son gifts his dad an endowment to send kids to 4-H camp.

Jon Williams has a big heart for 4-H. You might say it’s a family tradition. 

Jon has been part of the Athens community since 1991, and today he’s the owner of Better Communities Collaborative, a family of innovative business with the unified mission to work towards a better tomorrow, finding the best, most creative solutions that match the needs of their clients. 

But long before all that happened, Jon was a 4-H camper.  

Growing up, he joined as many Bacon County 4-H events as possible. And Jon’s dad, Jay Williams, was a 4-H supporter, giving generously to 4-H over the years. 

So, Jon continued that tradition of giving.

 For years, Jon and his wife Amy Stone gave anonymously to support 4-H in Bacon County.  

“About 15 years ago, we started giving to 4-H to send five kids to camp every summer,” he explained. “And we’d give a little extra money for them to put into a CD.” 

And now, with help from the Athens Area Community Foundation, that little something extra has developed into something extra special. 

“A few years ago, for my dad’s birthday, we gave him the gift of an endowment named after him. It’s Mr. J’s Kids Camp Scholarship. He was a big supporter of 4-H for 30 years,” said Jon. “And now, my dad’s endowment will send five kids to 4-H camp in perpetuity.” 

Honoring his family’s tradition of generosity by setting up a scholarship fund in south Georgia took some coordination. But Jon said it felt simpler with help from President and CEO Sarah McKinney and the team at Athens Area Community Foundation. 

“Sarah and her staff did a wonderful job facilitating the discussions and making all this happen,” he said. “They took on all the burdens and tasks between government agencies and just handled it. Once I connected her with my contact down there, they made it happen.” 

Whether it's 4-H or other giving opportunities, Jon said the Athens Area Community Foundation make giving back doable every step of the way. 

“Knowing we can put money in the foundation and give it at the time of our choosing, makes it easy for us to do gifts — whether it’s going to the university or a smaller organization,” he said. “They have an online platform. We log on, tell how much we want to send, where we want to send it, what it’s for and they take care of the rest.” 

But it’s not just that high-tech connection that’s so essential. 

“We have a tremendous number of nonprofits in Athens because there is a tremendous amount of need,” he said. “And I think one of the roles the foundation plays is connecting people with charities that fit what that person wants to give to. They take a lot of ownership in making sure they know a lot about the different organizations around town. So, if you call Sarah and say, ‘Hey, I want to support something around food insecurity,’ they’re going to know three or four organizations they can connect you with. That’s very helpful for people who are busy. People want to contribute but don’t always know how. They’re making it easy.” 

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The Athens Area Community Foundation is a public grantmaking foundation that builds community by encouraging long term giving through funds created by caring donors.

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