They're the Swiss Army knives of donors

You could call Liz and Jerry Charlwood the Swiss Army knives of donors.

Few have donated to the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund as many times and in as many ways as the Charlwoods.

Woman and man looking at a wall displayAnnual appeal? Check.

Employer-matched giving? Check.

Permanent fund? Check.

Recurring online donation? Check.

Giving Tuesday? Check.

That’s a lot of checks, adding up to a lot of support for our borrowers.

As with many donors to nonprofits, Liz’s and Jerry’s philanthropy comes from deep personal connections with the Community Loan Fund’s work and values.

“I can really relate to being a consumer of the Community Loan Fund. Back in the day I was a single parent, and it’s very hard sometimes to juggle it all,” says Liz, a senior project manager for an online cloud services company.

For people in that situation, the Community Loan Fund’s assistance might be direct, as in a mortgage for a manufactured home, or less visible, in the form of financing that helps child care centers keep quality high and prices affordable, or that enables business owners to create good jobs.

Jerry, an electrical engineer, views the Community Loan Fund’s work as “the difference between giving someone on the street a dollar to buy a cup of coffee versus giving a loan so that somebody can build a business, or get a career going, or get an education—all those things that support people’s growth. To me, all human beings want to do that.”

“You’re supporting people so they can become self-sustaining. I think that’s the thing that lights me up.”

The couple know the Community Loan Fund better than most. Liz worked here in a variety of leadership positions for eight years between 1998 and 2008 before moving away.

She saw the ROC-NH program help people in danger of losing their manufactured homes “flip the coin” and become community owners, then teach them how to run their newly acquired businesses.

“That transformation, the empowerment of people, gives me the chills,” she says. “The Community Loan Fund has the chill factor.”

“When you have an organization that’s as effective as this one, you know your donation is being used really well,” Liz says. “You’re making a difference.”

This story originally appeared in the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund’s 2017 annual report.