The William Quarton Heritage Society is named in honor of William B. Quarton, a longtime resident of Cedar Rapids and pioneer in radio, television and cable television and noted philanthropist. Bill was a supporter and advocate for the Community Foundation for more than 20 years.
In 1987 local radio and television entrepreneur William B. Quarton changed the scene of Cedar Rapids philanthropy by offering a challenge to his friends at the then Community Welfare Foundation. If the Foundation would agree to change the IRS tax status of the Foundation from “private” to “public”, change the name to reflect the broader interests of the rapidly growing Linn County community, and pledge to raise an additional $450,000 in permanent endowment, he would match the funds raised, dollar-for-dollar, by means of a $900,000 charitable lead trust. The challenge was quickly accepted and successfully achieved, and following a mandatory five-year transition period, the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation received its 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS in 1992.
William B. Quarton left a powerful legacy upon his passing at age 104 in August 2007. His $35 million planned gift to the Community Foundation tripled the organization’s unrestricted assets and created endowments for four organizations. His gift remains the single largest gift in the history of the Community Foundation through his estate.
Because his gift established an endowment, it will benefit the community in perpetuity.
The Community Foundation continues to honor William Quarton and his spirit of philanthropy with the William Quarton Heritage Society, recognizing individuals who have established an endowed fund or will make a planned gift.