Beth and Scott Albright are leading lives very different from what they might have imagined when growing up. The change in their financial circumstances and a desire to give back to those not as fortunate are among the reasons the Garnet Valley, PA, couple have decided to open a donor-advised fund at The Foundation for Delaware County.
Both came from small towns and families with modest means. Scott grew up in the small Pennsylvania borough of Catasauqua near Allentown, where his graduating class had about 150 students. Beth’s early years were spent in upstate New York on an 87-acre farm in the village of Weedsport, not far from Syracuse.
“We slaughtered our steers, had a one-acre garden, and froze and canned our own vegetables,” she says. “We did not have a lot of money early on.”
The two met at Penn State University. After graduating, they continued dating, but lived apart for three and a half years so that they could begin their careers — Scott as a mechanical engineer in upstate New York and Beth as a human resources professional in South Carolina. When they were finally able to find jobs close by in New Jersey, they married and 10 years later began raising a family.
Both continued to take progressively more responsible positions. Scott worked for GE Aerospace, Martin Marietta, which became Lockheed Martin, and others. Beth worked in senior HR positions at several companies, including Rohm and Haas, Day & Zimmerman and DuPont. In her last position, she was part of the executive team that spun off The Chemours Company from DuPont into a publicly traded company.
Along the way, they found they wanted better balance in their lives. Scott became a stay-at-home dad in 2009 and Beth left Chemours in 2017 and is currently on a sabbatical.
Today they feel very blessed. They’re comfortable financially and want to spend more time helping others. But how?
After a conversation with their financial adviser, they decided to consider opening a donor-advised fund with a community foundation. One of their first priorities was to include their children Eric, 15, and Heather, 13, in their planning.
“I think it’s really important to instill in them a philanthropic value,” Beth says. “If Scott and I did this alone, we would have missed a tremendous opportunity to teach the kids what philanthropy is and what it means to give back.”
The next step was to determine which causes were important to them.
As a family, they methodically scanned the 1,300 categories of charities listed in Charity Navigator and began taking notes. Heather was interested in helping unwed mothers and people with cancer, as well as preventing cruelty to animals. Eric wanted to support down’s syndrome research and charities like the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Environmental concerns also came up, and when the children and parents finished the exercise, they were pleased by how many of their interests overlapped.
Another consideration was whether they wanted their dollars to support national or local initiatives.
“When we talked about what we wanted to do, we thought wouldn’t it be nice to have a local impact,” Scott says. Beth felt supporting local causes would have the added advantage of allowing the Albrights to be personally connected to the people and organizations on the receiving end.
The final consideration was how to put their thoughts into action. Because Beth was familiar with The Foundation for Delaware County through a prior affiliation as a board member at Crozer-Keystone Health System, the Albrights decided to contact and work with the foundation.
“There’s a lot for us to learn about the foundation, but I definitely was comfortable from the get-go that this is a great organization,” Scott says.
Beth agrees. “I like the idea of having someone to help guide us, because it can be overwhelming. We don’t know exactly what we’re going to do, but we’re willing to give it a go with people who can help us. We will learn along the way.”