The history of Clinton is full of stories of people who gave back to the community that helped them become successful. One interesting story is that of W. J. Young who was born in Ireland and came to Clinton in 1858.
He was an energetic man whose first job was as a grocery clerk in Ireland for two dollars a month. Arriving in Clinton, he opened a sawmill and eventually employed 350 people, the largest such operation in the country. He invented the concept of bringing the lumber down the river by steamboats pushing rafts — the first modern-day barge!
He was actively involved in civic activities, built the W.J. Young & Co., served on the Board of Directors of Clinton National Bank and even served as Mayor.
One of his charitable acts was the purchase of the land, and the house on it as well, at the corner of N. 3 and 5th Ave S. He gave it to the YMCA for their use in 1892. He believed in and wished to make possible a place for young men to develop moral character. This interest was possibly spurred by his disappointment in his son, Courtney, who was a troublemaker during his school years, as evidenced by communications between W.J. and Henry Sabin, the principal. Young believed that young men needed assistance to help them grow into upstanding citizens of character and strong belief in God.
He also was a strong supporter of the Methodist Church, purchasing the bell for the Methodist Church in Lyons.
His obituary stated, “In the winter time his eye was ever seeking out the poor who might want if he did not aid them. This aid was offered in so courteous a manner it could not be refused. For all time Clinton will miss him.” Today’s Clinton was shaped by W.J. Young and the legacy he left — in both buildings and institutions that have made a difference in countless lives.
Our city is different now and life is not as simple, but those with strong convictions and beliefs can still make a difference for future generations, and it doesn’t require you to be wealthy.
River Bluff Community Foundation is an instrument for those who wish to make an investment in the causes and organizations that are important to them.
Those caring deeply about children and youth can contribute to education (Children’s Discovery Center, Clinton Community School District, Camanche Schools Foundation), the arts, the environment, family issues (YWCA, Women’s Health Services), health care (Genesis VNA, Mercy Medical Center). These name a few of the avenues for meaningful gifts available through River Bluff.
Do you have to be wealthy to make a difference that lasts forever? Absolutely not. Through a foundation, small or large gifts or bequests in your will can create a lasting legacy funding needs of today and challenges of tomorrow. Some gifts support a particular community fund or issue.
Others can be made to honor or memorialize a family member or friend, or in response to a particular event or occasion.
Your passion — what you care about most deeply — can turn into your legacy.
Why give through a community foundation? Donors who pay taxes in Iowa (individuals, organizations and corporations) can take advantage of a 25 percent Endow Iowa tax credit for donations to an endowment fund at a qualified community foundation. River Bluff Community Foundation is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend, which meets National Standards for Community Foundations.
To learn more about River Bluff Community Foundation and how it can help you with your charitable interests, please contact one of the following board members: Carol Machael, Larry Dennis, Gary Foster, Dave Helscher, Pastor Jen Henry, Francie Hill, Dave Meade, Veling Schmidt or Bill Zickau.
Like W.J. Young, you can have an impact — forever.
Carol Machael is president of River Bluff Community Foundation.