The joy of giving

Growing up in the southwest/Locke Street area of Hamilton, John Greene never imagined he would be part of transforming the city he loves. But as a contractor and as landlords, he and his wife Sue Stewart-Greene have rejuvenated a score of small multi-residential properties in the core over the last 30 years. The couple moved closer to downtown too, and feel a strong commitment to Hamilton. “I don’t want to be anywhere else,” says John, “except maybe for a few weeks vacation…”

Concerned about the growing homelessness problem — “the issue has gotten more and more evident all around us,” says Sue — they are hoping to be part of the solution and launched the Greenestyle Fund at Hamilton Community Foundation with a focus on affordable housing innovation, the arts, and other issues. Longtime supporters of First Unitarian Church on Dundurn, their fund’s goals also include social justice outreach led by that church.

John and Sue, who was Burlington’s first female firefighter, love bringing folks together. They are known for hosting large music events that introduce strangers to new friends. “It’s fun to connect people,” Sue says.

Referred by their accountant, the couple came to HCF because it is “solid, trusted, grounded in research,” says John. “It fits with our values” and the donor-advised fund option lets them “direct without having to manage.”

They have been deeply moved by setting up the fund. “After years of modest giving, we are now in a position to do more,” says John.  “We are still learning and developing a plan, but we’ve been amazed at how great it feels to give back in this way.”

“Walking home from HCF after setting up the Greenestyle Fund,” adds Sue, “we just felt incredibly joyful.”