Chuck Spadafora’s father set an example many years ago. He started a high school football booster fund in the Indiana area, and his rule was that you could spend the fund’s interest but never touch the principal. The fund still puts on a banquet each year.
So when Chuck and Linda’s children were teenagers, the couple decided to follow suit. They raised money to build a Teen Center, and they followed the same rule. Though the center no longer exists, the Indiana Teen Fund is now almost $100,000, and it's overseen by The Pittsburgh Foundation. Grants help fund Indiana High School’s after-prom party, speakers coming in to school and summer church camp for youngsters. The Spadaforas also started the Spadafora Family Fund, which targets worthy projects in the Indiana area and in Pittsburgh, on a roughly even basis.
“We’ve enjoyed very much being able to support various things,” said Chuck, who’s an automobile dealer. “I’ve enjoyed immensely leafing through the Foundation’s Wish Book, which lists various worthwhile organizations that need support. I’m particularly focused on the old people and the poor people.”
The Spadaforas have a son with dyslexia and a daughter with scoliosis and have directed grants to agencies that work on those conditions. “The groups we’ve supported have been beautifully run, and we’re very happy that the money is used for research and development,” Linda said.
Working with The Pittsburgh Foundation has been very easy, they said. “There’s enough paperwork and communications, but not too much,” Chuck said. “Once a quarter we get a simple statement that says ‘Here’s what you started with, here’s how much it grew, here’s our fees, here’s how much you have left, and here’s how much you have to spend for the year.”
When they get ideas of what to support, they put them in a file and then once or twice a year sit down and decide what to do.
“It’s not hard to find good ideas,” Chuck said. “The hard part is finding the dollars. I’d encourage everyone who’s thinking about it to start a fund with The Pittsburgh Foundation.”