Ellis Rowe and his wife, Antoinette, have always had a giving spirit. In their early years, they always found a way to give their time and resources to their church, family and community. Ellis’ career led to several relocations, and importantly, Antoinette provided the in-home structure and support for the family when Ellis’ travel increased. But after a very successful career, they retired to Jacksonville, where they worked with their professional advisors to begin deepening their passion for philanthropy. In 2014, they chose to open a Donor Advised Fund at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida. Since then, they have actively invested their charitable dollars in organizations that do the work they care passionately about—helping underserved youth.
Ellis is especially devoted to ‘A Better Chance,’ which recruits gifted minority students to attend some of the nation’s top public and private high schools. Ellis participated in A Better Chance during his high school years, ultimately enrolling in and graduating from Dartmouth College.
“It changed my life,” he remembers. “I’ve had this trilogy of things that have happened that made the difference: A Better Chance, my Dartmouth College family, and my work culture. All three were so important in influencing my value system.”
He has shown his gratitude by dedicating time and treasure to A Better Chance for decades and relishes the time he has spent mentoring students over the years. He also has a long list of accolades from his alma mater, where he was a member of the track and football teams, served as president of the Black Alumni of Dartmouth Association and was recognized recently with 2015-2016 Dartmouth Alumni Award.
Now, Ellis and Antoinette are enjoying the fruits of their labor, and their Donor Advised Fund has opened their eyes even further about philanthropic opportunities.
Fortunate enough to be surrounded by family, the Rowe’s now involve their adult children in making charitable gifts. They proudly point to new organizations they have been exposed to by the passion their children display for giving back. Ellis says he and Antoinette are excited to see how their children’s and their grandchildren’s philanthropic passions will evolve over time, and that family philanthropy has become an important focus.
“I see our donor advised fund as a way to channel our giving more appropriately,” he concluded. “By using the efficiency of the Foundation, it frees us not to think about ‘if’ but to think about ‘how much,’ and that makes the experience all the more meaningful.”