By: Janie Spurgeon
MBill and Catherine Byrd smiling in front of their home in the 1990s.

Bill and Catharine Byrd were philanthropic trailblazers, establishing the first Donor Advised Fund at the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington in 1989.

Over the years, the couple unassumingly donated more than $200,000 through the Byrd Family Fund to support local organizations like Columbia Presbyterian Church, The Historic Trust and I Have a Dream of Southwest Washington. In addition to financial contributions, Bill Byrd spent years helping the foundation become what it is today by serving on our board of directors from 1987 to 1992.

As accomplished in their personal lives as they were in their philanthropy, Bill and Catharine were known for their compassion, determination and hard work. Bill served in World War II, became a sailor and pilot, and volunteered with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington. Catharine graduated summa cum laude from the University of Portland, helped found Friends of Hospice Southwest Washington and became a pillar of her church community.

For them, helping others was second nature, and they passed these values onto their children by encouraging them to make contributions to the fund instead of purchasing gifts at Christmas. Today, the Byrd’s heartfelt generosity shines on through their family, showing us all how community members of all means can create a lasting impact.

“Life’s been good to us. We want to acknowledge the benefits we received by helping others.”
– Bill Byrd, Jr., Community Foundation’s second Board Chair (1987-1990)
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About The Author

Janie Spurgeon

With 20 years of fundraising experience and a passion for helping donors create rewarding philanthropic goals, Spurgeon leads the Community Foundation's development and donor services team. In her spare time she enjoys skiing, camping and all the wonderful adventures that come with raising two children.