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A Natural Next Step

In the year 2000, the Gaston Community Foundation created the Next Generation Fund. The “Next Gen” was established to involve couples and individuals in philanthropy through the Community Foundation. It was the year 2000, when the Vaher Family became a partner of the Foundation. Drs. Barbara and Harald Vaher joined the Next Gen that year and so started their relationship with the Foundation. The Vahers have continued their membership in Next Gen to this day.

Fast forward to 2017, the Vaher’s daughter, Kristina joins the Community Foundation’s Teens Changing Gaston County program. Through Kristina’s participation in “TCGC,” she learns about nonprofits, serving on a board and awarding grants to community programs. While serving on the TCGC Board, Kristina also learned the process for applying for grants. She applied for and received a grant to start children’s libraries in two local YMCAs. Kristina rejoined the Board in 2018 and with increased knowledge of grants from the previous year, she submitted a second application for funding on behalf of Catherine’s House. She was also awarded funding for this library.

As stated in Kristina’s grant application, “The reading areas can provide an inspirational place for children to expand their minds and cultivate a love of reading.”

Kristina had the benefit of learning philanthropy from observing her parents and growing in her knowledge of charity through the Community Foundation. “Kristina used the knowledge she has gained through the Community Foundation to apply for another grant through Friends for Larson and she created two children’s libraries at both Boys and Girls Clubs in Gastonia and Lowell,” stated Barbara.

The Vaher’s younger daughter, Katelin is also community minded. She currently volunteers through their Church, First United Methodist, with the Feeding the Children program. Katelin has also volunteered her time at Second Harvest Foodbank.

As the Vaher Family continued their involvement with the Foundation, Barbara and Harald found the Foundation’s Donor Advised Fund an excellent option for their charitable giving. During 2018, the Vahers established the Vaher Family Fund. Their donor advised fund has allowed them the ability to collect the tax deduction in the year they needed it and will allow them to continue to donate to their church and nonprofits for many years. Barbara stated, “the Community Foundation was a natural choice for our fund. And we appreciate how easy they have made the entire process of setting up the donor advised fund and how smoothly we have been able to make our donations through this fund.”

When it comes to the Vaher Family, philanthropy comes naturally.


This is a sample from the 2018 Annual Report which will be coming out very soon! To learn more about the Foundation and receive the most up to date information about our activities and publications subscribe to our newsletter here.






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