Philanthropist of the Year Honorees
Each year, the Community Foundation honors Door County’s great philanthropists.
But how exactly do you define a philanthropist?
Donating to charity makes one a donor, and that is a beautiful thing to be. It’s critically important to our community that we all give to charity on a regular basis. But simply writing a check is not sufficient for a person to become a philanthropist.
Next to our love, the most precious thing we have to give is our time. A philanthropist is one who gives generously of both of these most valuable of treasures. They see an issue (or an opportunity) and cannot sit idly by while that condition exits in the world. So they must act.
A philanthropist is born when a donor’s passion compels them to give more of themselves than merely money.
They give of their time to the charities they care about. They share their wisdom as members of boards of directors. Philanthropists champion the causes that resonate in their heart and cannot help but openly share their passion with those around them. Their enthusiasm for community service is contagious.
Perhaps most important, a philanthropist is one who believes that the best way to lead is by serving others. These are the qualities the Community Foundation seeks in the people it honors.
Mike & Marge McCoy
2019 Philanthropists of the Year
Mike McCoy was born in Janesville and Marge moved there at the age of 10. Amazingly, while they were in the same class in high school it wasn’t until after graduation that they first met. Regardless of when they found each other, it was meant to be as this August they will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
Mike graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa and is a CPA. He began his career his career in public accounting prior to joining Dubuque Packing Company and stayed with FDL foods as the company split in 1980. Eventually, Mike became the Executive Vice President and CFO of Hormel Foods in Austin, Minnesota until he retired in 2006.
The McCoys have always been passionate about philanthropy, both as volunteers and benefactors. Marge was a very active volunteer and board member of Meals on Wheel and the American Red Cross, both in Dubuque and Austin. Her remarkable commitment led to her being named as a Volunteer of the Year with the Red Cross in Minnesota. Mike was equally committed to the community, having served on the boards of the United Way in Dubuque, Austin Economic Development Commission, and Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.
It was when serving on the board of the Minnesota Zoo that the McCoys worked to ensure that every 4th grader in the Austin School District would have the opportunity to visit the Zoo, which is the largest environmental education center in the region. In gratitude for their efforts, the McCoys began receiving thank you letters from students and schools, which made them grow even more passionate about helping the community. “You don’t have to start out giving huge amounts,” says Marge. “As you are able, increase and expand your giving. Get in the habit of giving. You just feel good about it.”
The McCoys built a home in Door County and, upon Mike’s retirement, moved to Ellison Bay. Their generosity spread to our community Through their leadership, counsel, and philanthropy, a wide variety of organizations have been touched by their generosity. The Door County Land Trust, Neighbor-to-Neighbor, United Way, the Crime Prevention Foundation, Bethany Lutheran Church and Northern Sky Theater have all been made stronger because of the McCoys. Mike also previously served on the board of the Community Foundation itself.
As the proud parents of Matthew, who is married to Kelly, and Michele who has three sons with her husband Brian., Mike and Marge are creating a legacy from which their family – and really the entire community – can be inspired and learn.
In 2013, Mike and Marge made a very generous gift to Wartburg College, endowing a Chair in Heritage and Mission. “We don’t do things to be recognized for what we’re doing. It’s not something we’re really comfortable with,” says Mike. “But Wartburg taught us to get our name out there. It may inspire others. If being recognized will help the organizations we care about, then it is worth it.”
Inspiring others to join them in serving the community is very important to the McCoys. “You don’t ‘give until it hurts,” says Marge. “Instead give until it feels good and that makes you want to do more.”
The Door County Community Foundation is pleased to honor Mike & Marge McCoy as the 2019 Philanthropists of the Year.
The Community Foundation would like to express its sincerest thanks and appreciation to the following sponsors which allow this event to be a free and honest celebration of giving: