April is Volunteer Appreciation Month.  The OCF is blessed to have over 60 volunteers a year donate their time and talent to help advance our mission “activate generosity for a strong community.” The majority of our volunteers serve on committees.  When I started my career in 2011, we were desperate for volunteers and particularly looking for people to serve on the investment committee to assist the board in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities over investment management.  Back then we didn’t receive much mail that wasn’t an invoice so I will never forget the day I received a letter from Steve Qua.  Steve reached out in response to a call for volunteers in the Herald Times.  In his letter he stated his desire to serve on the investment committee, and shared his deep experience with the Cape Coral Community Foundation (FL), Chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Retirement Trust and Cape Coral representative on the City’s Firefighters Retirement Trust.  I promptly reached out to Steve and he has served on the investment committee ever since.  He, along with other committee members including Bob Courtois (Munson Healthcare OMH), Kevin Reynolds (Paxton Resources), Luke Noss (Edward Jones) and Janice Platte (Chemical Bank) have been a great source of guidance in the highs and lows of market.  In addition to being extremely knowledgeable, Steve has always been a source of support for me.  His communication always comes when I need it most and usually includes an inspiring quote, most recent for example “Happiness doesn’t result from what we get but from what we give,”  Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Born in Ann Arbor, raised in Cleveland, Steve attended the University of Michigan and graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. After serving two years as an officer in the Army in Guided Missile R&D he returned to Cleveland.  His father died early and he became a Buick Dealer at a young age. His career included multiple stores and dealerships for: Buick, Pontiac, Saab, Opel, Renault, Peugeot, Mazda, Rolls-Royce, Fiat and other brands.  Here is what Steve has to say about his volunteer experience with the OCF:

  • What attracted you to become involved with the OCF? Members of the Qua family have lived in Otsego County for more than 100 years and the property we own on Otsego Lake has been in the family for 100 years, this year. I have been a volunteer for our local Florida Community Foundation.
  • In your opinion, what is the most important work that this organization does? The OCF unites the community in common causes and provides a secure channel for funds to address these needs.
  • What’s it like to volunteer for the OCF? It is heartwarming to see the progress being made.
  • What do you hope the organization will achieve soon? In the long term? Involving more Otsego County residents in the Community Foundation and in the long term being the instrument for charitable change in the community.
  • What do you wish other people knew about OCF? That you (we) are here. Some years ago, the OCF was located in the basement of the 5/3 Bank building, where I got to know it from being Chair of the Headwaters Land Conservancy, also located there. Headwaters now has it’s own building and so does the OCF! OCF is not standing still!
  • Does anyone in your life play a role in supporting your involvement? In providing inspiration? My wonderful wife Charlotte!
  • What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering for the OCF? Enrich your life and volunteer!!

To learn more about volunteer opportunities visit https://www.otsegofoundation.org/connect/