For Doctors Philip and DeEtta Andersen, giving back to the communities that made them is a deeply personal experience. Over the years the Andersens have supported a number of projects and organizations in the Center Point-Urbana area and at the University of Iowa, each directly connected to their values and their past.
For 40 years, Philip practiced dentistry in Center Point. While growing up there, Philip saw how his parents gave back and how important that was to the community.
“They established a scholarship and gave a lot to the local library, fire department, and parks,” Philip said. “I want to try to continue that legacy. Center Point has been good to me, and I want to be good to them.”
Through the Andersens’ donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation, they will be able to make grants to projects and organizations that emerge within their community and resonate with them.
“In working with Philip and DeEtta, we identified the need to provide a donor-advised fund to give them flexibility to make grants to various organizations now and in the future,” said Michelle Beisker, Senior Vice President of Development. “This will allow the Andersens to connect with organizations that align with their interests.”
That flexibility was key last year when they recommended their first grant from the fund, surprising even themselves.
“When I heard that the University of Iowa’s Museum of Natural History was renovating their cyclorama, I knew I wanted to support that because it’s so important to me,” DeEtta said. “I saw it when I was four years old, and it made me who I am today. I’ve never forgotten it.”
The renowned cyclorama was originally built in 1914 and offers a 360-degree view of an important Pacific bird habitat. The vibrantly colored and bizarre-looking frigates struck a chord with DeEtta, inspiring her to pursue a life in science. To this day she teaches science at Center Point-Urbana High School.
While the Andersens’ gift to the museum is their first through their fund the Community Foundation, it is the next step in a long history of supporting what aligns with their values—the institutions, programs, and cultural events that build community and inspire young learners.
“We have the same values, but not always the same focuses,” DeEtta said, pointing out that they’re interested in education, fine arts, the environment, and other initiatives that strengthen the community. “With the Community Foundation, we’re able to put our money somewhere it will do some good.”