Philanthropic quandaries | AspenTimes.com

Philanthropic quandaries

Dear Editor:Thank you for asking me for my thoughts re the renaming of Paepcke (“What’s in a name?” August 11); might I please qualify my remarks (as I did during the oral interview)?Mine are not frivolous remarks: starting 150 years ago, numerous venues in Indiana were named after one of my great-great-grandfathers (the Democratic vice-presidential candidate in 1880) – some of which have had their names (or “intention”) changed, since, and some of which have not. Our Indianapolis foundation (founded 1924) – from whose board I retired last year, the English Foundation – retains its name, as does as its 80,000-square-foot building. However, its funds have been recently co-mingled with the Indiana Community Foundation (against my wishes).English Avenue has been renamed. Our 770-acre plantation in southern Indiana (with its abused children’s program and assisted-living facilities) has been partially renamed, and (in my opinion) not appropriately supported by the English Foundation itself. However: none of my family has lived in Indiana since 1926 (unlike the Paepcke family, which still lives in Aspen), and – unlike the Paepckes, with modern Aspen – we did not found Indiana (though we helped, mightily!).As Paula Zurcher is quoted saying: “I can’t say that I’m happy, but I think this is the best way to resolve it.” In these philanthropic matters there are changes which aren’t appropriate, changes which are: some changes are respectful and some aren’t. However, I’m told the surviving Paepcke daughters would not have felt the same had they known the entire Aspen Institute board had not been consulted.I realize I seem to regularly want to be “bearing witness” to the truth and to reality: this is very much the proud legacy I have from my mother: a decorated (by France and England), French, Catholic war heroine who spent the last year of the war in Ravensbruck concentration camp (after being tortured) and who – her own life not being truly affected by the Nazi occupation – risked her all, to end the German abuse of the Jewish people.Christopher English WallingAspen

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