John and Barb Phair

For Barb and John Phair, children and family have always been integral to their giving. When their four children were younger, the Phairs worked tirelessly to support their schools and church. (“Barb was the ‘weiner wagon lady’ for years,” John jokes, referring to her work in the Adams High School concessions stand.) More recently, John, who is president and CEO of Holladay Properties, has supported the Family & Children’s Center and Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County, for whom he and Ernestine Raclin led a successful campaign to build its permanent home. Barb has worked with many children’s cultural organizations, including Southold Dance and Campfire, and is dedicated to St. Vincent DePaul, too.

In the ’90s, the Phairs established the Barb and John Phair Fund, a donor-advised fund with the Community Foundation, to create a lasting tie to the community for their children. A few years later, they decided to use another philanthropic product to strengthen their connection with their parents.

Barb’s parents, Jack and Doris Baum, were good planners, and they were proud that they’d been able to save enough to be secure in their retirement. But Barb and John wanted to be able to help them with some extra income. After consulting with the Community Foundation, they decided to purchase charitable gift annuities, naming the Baums as the recipients.

Emphasizing the fact that they would get an attractive tax deduction for establishing the annuities, Barb and John were able to convince their parents to accept. The regular checks gave the Baums a chance to splurge on small treats, like meals out, without feeling like they were taking a handout from their children.

“My father worked for Metropolitan for years, so I’m sure he understood exactly what we were doing. But it was a nice way of doing it,” Barb says. “He used to call it his ‘mad money.’”

“They probably spent most of it buying presents for our kids,” John says, smiling.

Both Barb and John value the Community Foundation and its work. John describes it as an “anchor” for the community, and it’s helped to anchor the Phairs, too. The Wisconsin natives moved to South Bend in the early ’70s, but these days, you’d never know it—except, of course, when Notre Dame plays Marquette.

“We’re more Hoosiers than Badgers now,” Barb says. “Our relationship with the Community Foundation helped make South Bend more ‘home’ for us.”

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