Acquiring an important piece of open space, providing environmental education, or maintaining trails and building a viewing platform are among the community investments envisioned by William (Bill) Bloss, who recently established the Jared Eliot Fund on behalf of an anonymous donor.
The donor-advised fund was started with a $200,000 contribution and will focus on environmental issues, the preservation of open space and improving educational services in Guilford. Bloss explains the unusual sequence of events that led to the establishment of this latest fund at The Guilford Foundation.
“As part of a resolution of a case a person made a charitable contribution and I designated The Guilford Foundation as the recipient,” explained Bloss, an active community volunteer and trial lawyer with Koskoff, Koskoff and Bieder, PC.
The fund derives its name from Bloss’s Guilford homestead, the Jared Eliot House, built in 1723. The Mulberry Point house is on the National Register of Historic Places and once was home to Jared Eliot, a colonial theologian, doctor, entrepreneur and intellectual.
Bloss’s commitment to Guilford is evident in his volunteer endeavors. As vice president of the Guilford Land Conservation Trust and chairman of the Board of Education he devotes countless hours for the betterment of the town.
“These are the two things I’m active in,” he said. “The great thing about open space preservation is that once the Land Trust buys a piece of land, that’s it, it’s forever preserved open space and that’s a fantastic result to know that some vital piece of our town will be protected for generations and generations to come. And, similarly, in preserving and improving education the community is strengthened forever, as well, when children are able to reach their top potential.”
Bloss created the fund with very little constraints, which leaves it available to support the beneficiaries in a variety of ways. As a donor-advised fund, Bloss can make recommendations to the Guilford Foundation Board of Directors on how the fund should be granted.
“Funds like this have a great deal of flexibility,” said Bloss, “and can be used to supplement existing programs in a way that just would not be possible through the normal budget.”
While no monies have yet to be disbursed, when that time comes Bloss will be looking for advice from individuals who are more closely aligned with the issues that the Jared Eliot Fund benefits.
“I’m going to rely on people who have greater expertise than me about that and listen to others and consult with the Foundation and try to make sure this works for Guilford in the most effective way possible,” he said.
He is humble when asked how he feels about having this unique opportunity to give back to the community he calls home.
“Guilford has been very good to me and very good to my family,” he said. “My girls are in the public schools and I am nowhere close to giving back to Guilford everything that it’s given to my family, so I’m very proud to live in Guilford. It’s a group of people that care passionately about our town and about others. So I’m just happy to live in this community.”
And the Guilford Foundation is honored that Bloss selected them to help him meet his philanthropic vision.