Now 71 years old, Dr. John Rusche described his career arch as follows: physician, healthcare administrator, politician and now philanthropist. According to him, it is the role of philanthropist that is born out of thanks for the opportunities the first three professions provided.
Dr. Rusche is a member of the Confluence Leadership Council in the Lewis Clark Valley. He shared why he established the Confluence Community Endowment Fund with a $10,000 matching grant fund through Innovia Foundation as part of its 5% Invested, Fully Committed Transfer of Wealth initiative to elevate the importance of ensuring long-term funding in Asotin and Nez Perce counties.
He spoke before 60 people in Lewiston on June 8, which included the entire Confluence Leadership Council, representatives from a number of nonprofit organizations and volunteers at the Hells Canyon Grand Hotel. Banner Bank sponsored the event.
“Kay and I lived here for 40 years before she died,” he said of his late wife Dr. Kay Rusche. “We achieved a lot of value from our relationships within the Lewis-Clark Valley _financially, emotionally and socially.”
Dr. Rusche went on to say, “We felt it was important to consider that as we determined what to do with our assets. We realized it was very important to support a community fund. The $10,000 matching fund was the start of that.”
He issued a challenge to his fellow retirees in the room to consider directing mandatory IRA distributions imposed by the Internal Revenue Service into the fund.
“A qualified charitable distribution directed to the Confluence Community Endowment Fund captures that money into the valley for the future of the valley,” he said. “I really encourage you to consider what value the community has brought to you and consider those ways to donate.”
In addition to Dr. Rusche, Kayeloni Scott, also a member of the Confluence Leadership Council, spoke about the positive impact Innovia has had on the Nez Perce Tribe for which she serves as its communications manager.
“One of the things they Innovia was able to provide for us was the resources to be able to provide housing for our homeless populations,” she told the group.
She presented the following grant activity Innovia has distributed in Asotin and Nez Perce counties in the last two years.
- $249,160 to 22 grantees from COVID-19 Response and Recovery Funds.
- $70,569 to 11 grantees in fiscal year 2022 via the Community Grant Program.
- $60,337 to nine grantees in fiscal year 2021 via the Community Grant Program.
- More than $33,000 distributed in micro-grants through the LC Valley Small Business fund to support recovery and sustainability through the pandemic.
“Innovia knows that all of our communities are so different,” Kayeloni said. “The community foundation takes the initiative to ensure that it’s not just one solution presented, but instead asks, ‘tell me what you need so we can help meet that need.’ ’’