Informed and passionate philanthropists, Dr. Jerome and Margaret Cunningham have supported beloved organizations for many years. They’ve realized, however, the charitable landscape is ever changing, and want to make sure their dollars are used wisely to make a difference in the future.
“We’ve come to the strong realization that charitable organizations in Columbus are part of a very dynamic situation,” said Jerry. “The needs of the community and the abilities of local organizations today could be very different in the future. We don’t know what the community will need or which organizations will be viable, so we said, ‘let’s put this in the hands of the professionals at The Columbus Foundation’.”
In 2001, Jerry and Maggie created a planned gift, the majority of which will provide unrestricted funds the Foundation can use to address future community needs. In 2003, the couple established the Jerome and Margaret Cunningham Charitable Trust Fund to manage their current giving, which has included support for organizations like the Columbus Museum of Art, LifeCare Alliance, and Franklin Park Conservatory.
While in the past they had supported national organizations, they made a conscious decision to keep all of their giving in central Ohio because they see plenty of need here.
“Columbus is an open community. It’s welcoming to everyone.”
The Cunninghams have lived in Columbus for more than 30 years. After retiring as a professor in 2000 from The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Jerry now spends his time volunteering for organizations such as the Capital Area Humane Society and The Nature Conservancy in Ohio, as well as The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Maggie, an avid quilter, uses her talent to help Nationwide Children’s Hospital, The James Stitching Sisters, and Kids ‘n Kamp, among others.
Both Jerry and Maggie are passionate about supporting the arts in Columbus, and enjoy the wide variety of cultural opportunities it offers. They also like that they’ve gotten to know many of the leaders of the organizations.
“It’s fun to actually know the people who are running these organizations, have that connection, and know the nonprofits are in good hands. To me, that’s very important,” Maggie said.