For more than 10 years John and Trudy Wilgers have called the Twin Cities home. When a job transfer brought their family to the area, the couple immediately looked for ways to get involved in the community through philanthropy and volunteerism. “Trudy and I both grew up in small Midwestern towns with families who were engaged in the community and felt a responsibility to give back,” John said. “Those are values we’ve tried to carry on for our family.”
Before their move, the couple had been active in the United Way in Kansas City, and upon relocation they saw Greater Twin Cities United Way as a perfect place to bring their community passions to life. “United Way makes it easy to get involved,” Trudy said, noting that their family has enjoyed volunteering together during community-wide events like United Way Action Day as well as special events serving holiday meals through local food programs.
“When we moved to the Twin Cities one of the first events we went to was a Tocqueville event,” John said. “That was our first glimpse into what a wonderful community this is from a philanthropic perspective and in particular what a wonderful United Way it is.” Shortly after, Trudy and John became active members of the Tocqueville Society, serving as cabinet chairs in 2010.
As Managing Partner at EY, John helped lead United Way initiatives within the company and served on a wide-range of United Way committees and leadership roles, including the Board of Directors, Donor and Citizens Engagement Committee and Donor-Advised Fund Task Force. “I feel really lucky to have worked for a company that values this type of community engagement from a business perspective as well as a personal development perspective,” John said.
Most recently, the couple served as Centennial Celebration Chairs—helping lead the community celebration event to kick off United Way’s milestone Centennial year in 2015.
“We were so thrilled to be asked to be a part of this great event, it was so much fun,” Trudy said. John adds that the two enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the event not only for the celebration but also for its significance. “It was a really fun opportunity to acknowledge the past 100 years and a great opportunity to participate in launching the next 100 years,” John said.
Not long after, John and Trudy approached a transitional moment of their own as John neared retirement this summer. The couple used this pivotal moment as an opportunity to look at their own future in a new way. “Our youngest child is going to start college this year and in a few weeks I’ll be recently retired, and it just started to influence the way we think about things and the timeframe under which we think about things,” John said.
As part of these plans, the couple joined the Legacy Society by making a generous planned gift as founding members of the Tocqueville Legacy Circle. “We’re at a point in our life where we’re starting to think long-term instead of short-term and near-term, and that influenced our decision to make this legacy gift,” John said.
The couple expressed great confidence in their choice to continue their United Way support into the future. “The more I’ve been involved with United Way the more I’ve come to appreciate all the things the organization does to drive change,” John said. “We feel really good about supporting this work.”