Philanthropy? What does it mean? Well, if you are a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, philanthropy is what you do when you care. StoryCorps’ longest Door-to-Door partner, Council of Michigan Foundations, invited us back to record the stories of philanthropists in the Grand Rapids area.
Friend and co-worker, Susan Broman, interviewed Kate Pew Wolters about the various foundations she has worked for including one she founded with her late-husband Richard Wolters. Kate remembers getting a phone call one afternoon about the death of her uncle. The voice on the other end of line concluded the conversation saying that Kate’s uncle had left her a few million dollars and asked, “What would you like to do with it?” Kate remembers that she and her husband, Richard, felt the best choice was to use the money to help others. Together, they founded the Kate and Richard Wolters Foundation. Concerning the name, Kate says, “We racked our brains for weeks to think of a catchy name, but we settled on that.”
Although Richard is no longer here, Kate continues to run the foundation the way she hopes he wanted. In addition to her work at the Kate and Richard Wolters Foundation, Kate is also the Board of Directors Chair for the Steelcase Foundation, one of the largest in the Grand Rapids Area.