Where have the years gone? I am talking about 23 years administering charitable family trusts in the Trust Department of the former National Bank and Trust Company of South Bend and 13 years as the first Executive Director of the Judd Leighton Foundation. Looking at the seven pages of photographs on our website depicting projects that the Judd Leighton foundation has financially supported or made possible gives me some idea of what I have been doing for at least the last 13 years. Looking at plaques and name plates on buildings and other fixtures in the community reminds me of foundations I was administering in prior years. But what these pictures and plaques represent to me are the relationships that I have developed over the years with the wonderful organizations and people in our community who are doing the work to better our community with the financial support from our grants.
If there is anything I have learned over these past 36 years, it is that I live in a very caring and giving community. We are very fortunate to have so many charitable organizations, educational institutions and health facilities that make South Bend and St. Joseph County such a good place to live and to raise a family. I am honored and humbled to have played a role over these years in the bank’s trust department and more recently in my capacity as the Executive Director of the Judd Leighton Foundation both of which have made a significant impact of lasting value.
It is because of these wonderful relationships and memories that my decision to retire was a very difficult one. But I have made the decision and it will be effective at year end.
What has made my decision easier has been the fact that I have had the opportunity to work with Kate Mullins over the past year. Kate had worked for Judd in the family office for several years and was involved to some extent in the financial matters and investments of the foundation. Last year, Kate expressed an interest in taking on more responsibilities with the foundation. Working with Kate this past year made me realize that Judd’s wishes and goals for his foundation will continue on the groundwork I have begun with Kate at the helm. Kate will become the new Executive Director of the foundation on January 1, 2023.
I am not leaving the community, but I do plan to enjoy more time with family, grandchildren and traveling. Before I step away, I want to thank all the community members involved with nonprofits, business and government leaders and the leadership of the local educational institutions and health care facilities for their collaboration with me and the foundation to make an impactful difference for the benefit of the citizens of our community, just as Judd would have wanted.