By: Maury Harris

Starting and growing organizations is extremely difficult. There is an enormous amount of time, risk and energy involved. There is also a huge emotional investment. Just ask the Hattons.

Greg and Betsy Hatton smiling into the camera in 1971.

For 53 years, Greg and Betsy have been confidants in marriage and leadership. Greg built a global commercial vehicle component business based in Vancouver, while Betsy helped establish and operate the Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra. All the while, the couple held a deep sense of gratitude and care for the many communities that enriched their lives.

Whether it was music, cycling, public schools or their alma mater, the Hattons have always been actively involved and supportive. But they say their perspective on giving changed as they approached two major life milestones — the sale of their family business and retirement.

“You get to a point in life where you realize what you’re looking forward to is shorter than what you have to look back on,” Greg said. “This is when we started to think about what’s next and what we wanted to leave behind.”

Greg and Betsy Hatton smiling in front of the Portland Columbia Symphony.

Greg and Betsy already had a Donor Advised Fund at the Community Foundation, so they knew where to turn to plan a lasting legacy. They had a lot of respect for the trajectory of the organization, its mission and our staff. Working together, we created an estate gift that — in their words — helped them evolve from donors into philanthropists.

To them, that means taking a holistic view of the community and our shared humanity. The Hattons still dedicate a portion of their giving to personal passions, but they have also entrusted the Community Foundation to direct a large part of their estate toward our region’s greatest needs.

Having led organizations for decades, they also understand the constant and inevitable nature of change. They saw the unique role our team can play in stewarding their charitable resources and leveraging them for the best interests of our entire community.

“We’ve worked hard, scrimped and saved to have the funds to make an impact,” Betsy said. “Now, as grandparents, that means having a healthy community for our kids, their grandkids and all the generations to come in southwest Washington.”

Greg and Betsy Hatton with their grandchildren.
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About The Author

Maury Harris

Maury Harris crafts key messages that promote the foundation’s products, services and brand. Outside of stringing words together, he is passionate about the natural world and tries to hit the trail as much as possible with his family.