Meet Our Donors
Connie Wenger is 85 years young. She has an easy laugh and a quick-witted sense of humor. We are happy to have her as a member of Grand Rapids Community Foundation's Metz Society.
Connie's estate planning attorney introduced her to the Community Foundation. "I spoke with Gina [Bovee, development director] when I revised my trust. I felt that what I have should go someplace where it can do good and help people and animals," Connie said. Gina and Connie worked together on a solution to meet her goals. Through her estate plan, Connie has designated a bequest and residuary distribution to go to the Community Foundation to create the Connie Wenger Fund for Animals and the Arts.
Here are some tidbits we think you should know about Connie.
Animals are dear to her heart. Since most of her family has passed away, Connie says that she cherishes her friends and her animals. "I've always loved all animals and have traveled all over the world to see them," she said. Today, she dotes on her fluffy feline companions, Rhett and Scarlett.
Her mother Pearl was an accomplished musician. She had a concert trained voice and was a marvelous pianist. "My mother died young. She was only 53. She was so lovely and talented. I've always wanted to do something in her honor. She's the reason I am including the arts in my estate plan," Connie said.
Connie's father, Gus, came to America from Greece. He landed on Ellis Island alone at the age of 18. He didn't speak English and had but $50 to his name. He labored in steel mills and worked his way to Grand Rapids, where his relatives had settled. He opened a restaurant, the Hill Café, on Michigan Street. "He did well and brought other relatives to this country and made sure they received an education. Education is a major point of pride for immigrant families," Connie said.
Her heart is home at her family's cottage on Bostwick Lake. After living most of her adult life outside of Michigan, Connie came back to Bostwick Lake following Jack's passing. She has made the cottage she has visited since childhood her permanent home and has enjoyed reconnecting with old friends still in the area. "They say you can't go back, but being here does feel like home," Connie said.