Supporting the Generosity and Foresight of Donors
“Not what we have but what we enjoy constitutes our abundance.”
-Epicuius, ancient Greek philosopher
It’s highly unlikely Epicurus, the ancient Greek philosopher knew David C. Mandeville, but his statement above describes Mandeville pretty accurately. Mandeville was a man of great means, but it wasn’t what he had that defined him. Rather, it was how generously he shared what he had, often anonymously, to support and sustain those things he enjoyed. Mandeville thoroughly enjoyed the arts, animals and his beloved home. He coupled that enjoyment with a solid belief that a commitment to trust the future actually secures it. Thanks to his foresight, Mandeville’s legacy now supports the enjoyment of so many residents and visitors to Chemung County.
Having been raised by rugged industrialists, Mandeville understood that some of his business-minded peers harbored suspicions about individual, unregulated, non-profit organizations. But, as a leader among philanthropists, he also knew what to do. In 1997, Mandeville created three newly-designated Family Funds, one directed to benefit the Clemens Center, one directed to support the Humane Society and one unrestricted to support the quality of life in Chemung County. By placing the funds in the hands of the Community Foundation, he demonstrated a second, secure option by which people could support in perpetuity the activities, places and ideas they enjoyed. At the Community Foundation their funds would be well-cared for thanks to the diligent oversight of an unbiased board and staff; they would be thoughtfully distributed through a professional, grant-making process.
“Their endorsement is as valuable in principal as it is in funds,” explains Executive Director, Tom Weidemann. “By making a substantial lead gift to our capital campaign the Foundation sent the signal loud and clear that the Clemens Center was a real asset, worthy of support by the community-at-large.” The result: overall donations, membership and attendance have all increased. More than that, Weidemann says the completely renovated performance spaces and public areas have enhanced the “emotional landscape that contributes to patrons’ awe and enjoyment” of the theater experience. He suspects Mandeville would be abundantly thrilled by this outcome in particular.