“I see the very best in people, those who care about their fellow man and their larger community and live their values through the most generous, kind, and noble actions on behalf of others. It is very inspiring.”
A common altruistic thread among philanthropists, according to Jeanne Anderson Bovard ’59, is summed up by the saying, “To whom much has been given, much is expected.”
As Director/CEO of the Scranton Area Foundation (SAF) in northeast Pennsylvania since 1988, Bovard oversees gifts by charitable donors that reflect their philanthropic intentions to help sustain their community. “I see the very best in people, those who care about their fellow man and their larger community and live their values through the most generous, kind, and noble actions on behalf of others,” she says. “It is very inspiring.”
Of her many responsibilities, the most important, Bovard says, is to ensure that donors’ gifts are carried out according to their wishes. “People often remark that they want to be able to give back, to say thank you for the many blessings they have received,” she explains.
Bovard notes that the SAF’s role as a community convener, grant maker, advocate, educator, initiator, and philanthropic partner is constant. Its members “strive to participate in our communities as leaders and as catalysts for change,” she says. The Foundation has furnished more than $10 million over the years to worthy causes, all of which is distributed with guidance from a volunteer Board of Governors.
Bovard learned about volunteering and altruistic causes at an early age from her parents and had her first real adventures in that arena at Bucknell. “It was challenging to serve on the Honor Council,” she says. “I also was a class officer and president of Kappa Delta, where I began to learn about leadership and its challenges among peers, as we worked together to observe best practices.”
The sorority supported the wellbeing of children by hosting events for local youngsters and by participating in a national outreach effort to help needy children.
She credits her courses at Bucknell, including English literature, sociology, and religion, with “opening a new door of discovery to how all citizens can become involved in an ever-changing effort to build community.”
Energized by her mission, Bovard serves on several boards and is active with myriad volunteer initiatives, with a particular focus on health and education. Singing is a passion, which she vocalizes with the Northeast Choral Society. However, she is perhaps more comfortable with a tennis racket than a microphone in her hand and has been awarded several mixed doubles trophies at the Scranton Tennis Club, her “home away from home.”
Posted Winter 2007
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