Making an Impact: LTF sat down with Tom Cleveland to discuss his involvement with LTF. Besides being generous supporters, Tom serves on the Executive, Development and Grants Committees. He and his wife, Barbara, have been steadfast in their commitment to LTF’s mission.
You have been loyal supporters for some time! How did you and Barbara originally get involved with the Foundation?
It has been a long time — we have been supporting the Foundation since we became members of Lost Tree in 1997! At first, we were very modest contributors, but our involvement changed dramatically fifteen years later after I had a real eye opener on my first site visit. Along with Hank Baer, our team captain, Penny Edison and Carroll Bennett, I went to see The Child Protection Team, which serves victims of child abuse, as well as children who have been neglected or abandoned. It is disturbing to me that there would even be a need for such an agency, but there is, and it’s significant. That’s the reality of much of the need that exists in our surrounding community.
As a result, I decided to learn more about the Foundation. The more I learned, the more impressed I became. There is so much need. There are lots of wonderful agencies and caregivers. We can make a big difference by providing support that helps make a significant improvement in the lives of our neighbors in need. All this makes our surrounding community stronger. In the process, it also makes our Lost Tree community stronger.
You have since expanded your involvement to leadership positions.
Yes, Joe Melone had already asked me to serve as a member of his Development Committee in 2012, a position that I continue to hold. Both Barbara and I have also made many site visits. After a couple of years as a site visitor, I became a Site Visiting Team Captain and a part of the Grants Committee. I also continue to serve in this capacity. All of this has given us the opportunity to better get to know, work with and build many wonderful relationships with other members of our community—in ways that we never would by just being members of our club.
What are some of the most important LTF accomplishments during your tenure?
We have made special gifts to the Riviera Beach Literacy Project as well as a leadership gift to support the Foundation’s outstanding response to the COVID crisis. It was also tremendously exciting to be a part of the development effort this past year. During our April Development Committee meeting, we saw an opportunity to substantially increase participation. Diane Bodman once again focused on first-time donors and Barbara and I joined with her to offer a match for first-time gifts. We got great help from Carl Kreitler and several others who personally reached out to many members of our community. Not only did we receive gifts from 31 new donors that we hope will be involved with the Foundation for many years to come, but we were also able to encourage many past donors to give again. This all combined in our achieving a record-breaking participation of 75%, 8% more than the previous high of 67%, and this is truly exciting! I have always felt – as have many others – that knowing what incredible work the Foundation does, we should have outstanding participation among ALL Lost Tree residents. This 75% milestone is incredibly gratifying, and I hope we can keep this momentum going to further grow this support. The more we get, the more we can give.
As you look forward, what are you most excited about for the future of the Foundation?
Barbara and I are so proud of our Lost Tree Foundation and of being a part of it. We are proud of the success it has achieved, and its dedication to continually improve. We believe that the best is still ahead. We look forward to being a part of the Foundation for many years to come.