Giving is contagious

Fran Gammell-Roach, whose parents established funds at the Foundation, also has chosen to partner with the Foundation for her and her family's philanthropy. She's taken it a step further by introducing a number of organizations and individuals to the Foundation.

Generosity can inspire more generosity. That’s what one family has learned—to the benefit of our entire community. Fran Gammell-Roach shares, “My parents (Allen and Katharine Howland) were always volunteering and involved with nonprofits. The Y (Greater Providence YMCA) was dear to my dad’s heart, and they set up a fund at the Foundation for the Y. Later, he wanted to set up a giving system, was looking at how to do it, and was told he should set up his own foundation. But that was costly and complicated.”

She continues, “I think my mother and father set up one of the first donor advised funds at the Foundation. It was a new idea at the time.”

The Howlands focused much of their grantmaking on education, the arts, women’s issues, and opportunities for disadvantaged individuals. After Allen’s death, Katharine established four additional donor advised funds at the Foundation, one for each of their four children and their families.

“It’s the power of having your little pot of money being part of a larger investment pool."

- Fran Gammell-Roach
Fran Gammell-Roach
Fran Gammell-Roach

“It’s the power of having your little pot of money being part of a larger investment pool. People are fiduciarily irresponsible if they try to manage their own small fund. The Foundation has just always made sense to me,” Fran exclaims.

She’s introduced a number of organizations and individuals to the Foundation, including her husband, Nick Roach, and his adult children. The Roach family’s company, Jamestown-based The Chemical Company (TCC) was founded in 1988 and is an international chemical distributor, working with mostly Fortune 500 companies. The company, Nick states,“was built on a foundation of integrity and ethical business practices.”

The Roach family established the corporate-advised Chemical Company Fund at the Foundation in 2012. “You learn what you’re good at and you focus on that,” says Nick Roach, echoing his approach to the business industry and the family’s approach to philanthropy.

Nick’s daughter Liza and son Robb are advisors for the Fund. Liza explains, “The majority of what we do through the Fund complements what we do at TCC. We’re supporting programs focused on chemistry and programs that work to educate the next generation of scientists.”

“As a business, the best part of having the Fund is that it gives you a steady stream of funds for your charitable giving, so if there are years when the business isn’t doing as well you still have charitable dollars to contribute,” says Fran, TCC’s chief financial officer.

The Roach family’s philanthropy extends beyond what they do through their Foundation-based funds, with Nick and Liza sharing stories about individuals and organizations TCC has supported, not only through financial support, but also by providing assistance with marketing, advertising, and fundraising.

“Liza’s life is volunteerism,” her father says proudly. Among her many activities, Liza hosted a Foundation-supported Giving Circle, working with women on Jamestown to collectively contribute $5,000, which they donated to Southside Elementary Charter School in Providence.

“The Foundation is such an awesome resource for us,” Liza says, with Fran adding, “Having the structure the Foundation provides is great, but there’s also the flexibility in the different types of funds. It’s the Foundation looking forward and looking at the needs of the community.”