Our Stories

Generosity from One Generation to the Next

You never know the impact your giving, large or small, can have on someone else. Take the Cooks for example. Both Dave and his wife Christa grew up knowing what it was like to really need basic necessities for life. And both of them experienced the difference giving people made in their lives.

“We saw the effect that our community had on us, and others, when we were younger. I had people like Mr. Ben in my life, who sponsored local kids’ sports teams – including mine. His example as a benefactor and steward was so profound that it shaped who I am today, ” Dave said. “People like him spurred a desire in my wife and I to give generously as well.”

A financial advisor with Edward Jones since 1996, Dave became involved with the Community Foundation several years after starting his career there. He and his wife, a former partner with Deloitte and Touche, just recently became fundholders.

“I was thinking about my role as a senior advisor and it dawned on me that I didn’t have a process that would help me talk about the Community Foundation as part of my everyday role as a financial advisor. So Dick LoPresti, President Randy Redner and I got together and started talking through how to make that happen. During this Randy looked at me and said, ‘So when are you going to open a fund?’

“For years I’ve been thinking we really needed to become a fundholder with the Community Foundation, we just needed to make it a priority.”

So that’s what Dave and Christa did in 2018 by opening the Dave and Christa Cook Family Foundation.

“For us, giving back in time, talent and treasure is important because the need is there more than ever. When we moved here, years ago, this was one of the most affluent communities, and still is. But back then we never talked about homelessness or some of the other issues we talk about now. The need is there.”

“We’ve also tried to set an example for our son to live a life of kindness and emphasize the importance of education and community involvement.  At age 30, he is working on his conducting doctorate at Northwestern University and will then go on and professionally serve in higher education and community.  I think it will be a great legacy when we’re gone that he will have the opportunity to direct the funds from our foundation. That foundation will live on as the Cook legacy.”

Over the years, Dave and Christa have been involved in the community in various ways, from Dave being chairman of the Duluth Development Authority to Leadership Gwinnett to church leadership for both of them. When Christa left the corporate world, she took a position with their church and became immersed in the many needs that a church community experiences. Christa is also a past treasurer and board member of the Aurora Theatre. Now she serves as the Lay Director of the Atlanta Catholic Cursillo Movement which she has been involved with for 20 years.  In their spare time, they love to travel and have experienced an African safari, the Sound of Music tour in Austria, trekking in the Amazon, foodie sojourns throughout Italy, and even Cambodia, Croatia and Amsterdam to name a few.

As much as they love traveling, they also love being able to give and bless others.

“I remember a capital campaign we did for our church,” Dave said. “We had a precious man who gave $10 a month and that was huge for him. I often think of that in terms of the Community Foundation – you don’t have to have huge amounts to give through the Community Foundation.

“I tell people – Don’t be afraid to think about a plan for giving through the Community Foundation. There’s power in giving together as a community and the Community Foundation is doing such good work and their fundholders accounts are growing. Everyone can do something.”