The 2012 Odysseus Award in Philanthropy

UPDATE – David Beebe passed away November 4, 2012 – his personal presence will be greatly missed, but his inspirational legacy of courage and love of mankind will continue in our hearts.

In September, I was honored to be able to tell the story of David & Carolyn Beebe in a short presentation at the 2012 Odysseus Awards, held at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium:

The Work Is the Gift

David & Carolyn Beebe

The Odyssey is also known as “The Wanderings of Odysseus”, recounting how one man adapted to the challenges and sufferings in life to become an example of strength, generosity and courage.  A seemingly random sequence of tests, obstacles and frustrations becomes the life’s work of Odysseus, and in the end it enables him to benefit his family and his entire kingdom.

In the same way, David and Carolyn Beebe have dedicated themselves to working for the greater good, despite personal and physical obstacles.  In the process, they have shown us the way to build and sustain a legacy of authentic giving.   Their expressions of philanthropy are seen in not only through the sharing of wealth but also in sharing their wisdom and work.

David and Carolyn’s families can be traced back to the very beginnings of America and Ohio.  David’s family were among the first to settle Ohio after fighting in the American Revolution.  Thus, he and his brother have been accepted in the Sons of the American Revolution and the First Families of Ohio.  Clearly, David and Carolyn come from a long tradition of working to build communities.

David attended Ohio University and is a graduate of The Ohio State University and Capital Law School.  Carolyn chose teaching as her profession, graduating from Capital University and teaching young children for over 30 years.  David and Carolyn chose their professions so that they could make an impact every day.  As David expresses it – “I can help people in a meaningful way and make a living at the same time.  It’s wonderful.”

David entered a career in Trust advisory services, working at BancOhio, which later became National City and is now PNC Bank Trust.  He worked with clients to establish and implement long-term estate plans that included philanthropy.  One of the most notable families he assisted for many years were the Hartmans, who were innovators in agriculture and owned the massive farms south of Columbus.  Meeting the families and showing them the ways to continue to make a difference were the most rewarding aspects of the business for David.  He pursued this with such professional excellence, that he was recognized many times over by National City for his service to clients.  Because of David’s sage advice to client families, Columbus has many services and non-profit organizations that would otherwise be smaller or missing altogether.

            But David was not content to be alone in the estate and philanthropic advisory profession.  He shared his knowledge and understanding through his leadership in the Columbus Estate Planning Group.  This was a group of allied professionals in estate planning and philanthropy that included attorneys, trust officers, foundation and non-profit executives and financial advisors.  For many years the Columbus Estate Planning Group flourished under his guidance and energy.  He received many awards from them in recognition to his dedication, hard work and effective education of professionals engaged in advising individuals and families in philanthropy.

            David pursued his law degree and a career in Trust advisory despite the diagnosis of arthritis at age 21.  Pain and exhaustion are part of the disease, but David did not let it deter him.  In fact, he and Carolyn partnered to dedicate themselves to active participation in the fight against arthritis.  David has been a volunteer, donor and highly involved board member for the Arthritis Foundation.  David had served as chairman and President for many years and they have given thousands of hours of volunteer time for the cause.  Without David’s wisdom and work in action with the Arthritis Foundation, thousands of lives would be less abundant.  He has lead major capital campaigns for the Arthritis Foundation and tirelessly used his unique “call-to-action” skills to inspire personal friends and professional colleagues to join the cause for research and treatment of arthritis.   Indeed, his work has been so important and significant to the cause, that he received the National Volunteer Service Award and the Jerry Walsh Courage award from the Arthritis Foundation.  David and Carolyn have been truly dedicated to making lives more rewarding and healthy. 

            As if that were not enough, David also has been highly active in Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio.  He served for many years on their board and, again, was an active volunteer.  One of his special projects was volunteering at Faith Mission.  He says that volunteering to serve the people at Faith Mission has been one of the most rewarding activities of his life.

            Clearly, whether in the classroom, the office, the boardroom or the back streets of Columbus, David and Carolyn have been busy throughout their lives to encourage, build, strengthen and grow the community.  They are always looking for a way to put their values of courage, loyalty and generosity into action.  They give with their whole hearts and encourage others to do the same.  David says that volunteering is especially rewarding – he highly recommends it as a way to be happy; saying that you will never be sorry – receiving much more than you give.

            David and Carolyn believe strongly in providing financially for the causes and organizations that they value and promote.  They give faithfully to the Arthritis Foundation and Lutheran Social Services.  They also are strong supporters of the Columbus Museum of Art, Franklin Park Conservatory, their church and their alma maters.   For instance, they recently donated the funds for their church to purchase trumpets for the organ so that Sunday worship services can be an expression of glorious beauty.

Beyond gifts during their lifetime, David and Carolyn also feel it is important to support those same causes well into the future, even if they will not be there to see it.  They recognize that the organizations we support during our lifetimes can be left with a serious gap upon our passing.  Not only will our personal presence be missing, but our economic support could disappear as well.  David and Carolyn believe that prudently making arrangements for those organizations in estate plans could prevent staff reductions and reduced services, especially if we have been a significant contributor and advocate in the past.  In this way, the Beebes know that we can make an expression of love and dedication to others, even for those whom we will never meet.


Philanthropy means love of mankind.  For David and Carolyn Beebe, love is not an emotion – it is an act of will.  The Beebes have served others with grace and love despite the challenges in their lives.  Their work has been their chosen vehicle of philanthropy.  It has truly been “love in action” – they are not content to watch but actively participate in the success of the organizations and causes to which they are devoted.  They have encouraged and inspired those who know them.  They have given of their wealth, wisdom and life’s work to improve lives and make a difference.  Their life is one of dedicated love of mankind with personal sacrifice.   Because of their inspiration, Waller Financial Planning Group is honored to recognize David and Carolyn Beebe as the recipients of 2012 Odysseus Award in Philanthropy.

Posted on September 28, 2012, in Excellence, Inspirations. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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