Leaving a Legacy for Their Community

Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation | November 2nd, 2013

Barry & Gilda BoyerGilda and Barry Boyer have long been known as community volunteers and supporters.


Gilda—who practiced law up until 2008—has been a champion for numerous nonprofit organizations over the years. And Barry—recently retired—led Van Meter Inc. to great success while at the helm of the community-minded company.


With successful professional careers behind them, the Boyers have begun looking for new adventures.


“We are repurposing ourselves,” says Barry. “We both decided we wanted to make a right turn in life and it felt like a great time to make that turn.”


The Boyer’s right turn didn’t mean leaving behind their roles as community advocate, however.


“We’re just a couple of kids who grew up in Cedar Rapids and we feel very, very fortunate,” he says. “Gilda and I truly believe that throughout life you can have a great time, but over time we intend to put a major chunk of our money back into the community.”


While they don’t have any intention of ending their adventures anytime soon, the Boyers are giving back in a way that they have long desired.


In 2012, the Cedar Rapids couple opened a significant endowed fund at the Community Foundation. The Boyers have always had the idea of such a gift in the back of their minds, and are grateful to have reached the point in their lives where they could make it happen last year.


At the heart of their intentions is supporting the community that has supported them for so long. Gilda says they feel that when you do well in a community that has given you the opportunity to well, that you give back. “We have always felt like you don’t make it on your own.”


Their philanthropic spirit is one they’ve fostered their whole lives. “You pay it forward,” Barry says. “Cedar Rapids is an incredibly giving community. We’ve grown up in that environment.”


Gilda agrees. “It’s always been that you get as much as you give. I was brought up to be a community volunteer, especially by my mother. We are continuing a tradition.”


Indeed, the Boyer’s children—now young adults—are also learning the importance of community support and philanthropy.


“Over the years we have supported a lot of great organizations in Cedar Rapids and beyond,” says Gilda. “When Barry and I were thinking about our giving, the Community Foundation seemed to be a natural part of the plan. It’s giving in perpetuity, a gift into our community. If I put one dollar in the Foundation today it will grow and continue to support the community, and that’s a pretty exciting prospect.”


“Gilda and Barry’s endowed fund at the Community Foundation is meaningful in so many ways,” says Amy Johnson, Vice President of Development for the Community Foundation. “It represents a tremendous commitment to this community and great confidence in us. They are wonderful people—and now generations to come will know that, too.”


Barry says one of the best things for them about working with the Community Foundation is tapping into the Endow Iowa program.


“What better vehicle to contribute than through the Community Foundation,” he says.  “Plus, it’s great to give now while we can see what our contributions are helping do.”


The Boyers—who have a particular interest in neighborhood revitalization and economic development—appreciate being able to help direct what their funds support.


“One piece of working with the Community Foundation is that you can look across the community and help in a number of ways,” Gilda says.


“Yes,” says Barry. “We believe strongly that the Community Foundation ties it all together.”

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