Ann Tompert

Posted on June 5, 2019

Ann Tompert, a former teacher and award-winning author who lived to be 101 years old, has left her entire $1.3 million estate to the Community Foundation.

“Ann knew she could trust the Community Foundation with her life savings and that the greatest impact would be through an unrestricted gift,” said Mike Cansfield, Community Foundation Board Chair. “She made an unrestricted gift through her trust to support our community and her alma mater.”

The Bob & Ann Tompert Endowment Fund will benefit our community’s greatest needs and opportunities as they change over time, as well as Ann’s alma mater, Hillsdale College. Unrestricted gifts give the Community Foundation flexibility by allowing the Board of Trustees and staff to use their knowledge and expertise in determining which efforts or initiatives would be most impactful for the community. Donors can also use the Community Foundation to steward their charitable assets designated for charities all around America, including their alma mater.

“Ann knew that her most impactful philanthropy could be done through an unrestricted gift,” said Jackie Hanton, Community Foundation Vice President. “Today’s priorities may not be tomorrow’s, but an unrestricted gift allows us the flexibility to change over time. Ann’s most powerful gift was her last gift with no strings attached.”

The Community Foundation has 16 out of more than 250 funds that specifically support unrestricted giving. As times change, needs change and these funds allow the Community Foundation to address our region’s challenges and opportunities.

In a 2018 Times Herald interview, Tompert said that the key to longevity was “not taking life too seriously.”  An award-winning children’s book author, she wrote more than 50 books, including Harry’s Hats, Just a Little Bit, and Little Fox Goes to the End of the World.

Tompert first came to St. Clair County after marrying Bob Tompert who had a job in Marine City at Mueller Brass. Prior to becoming an author, Ann was a first-grade teacher by trade, teaching at St. Clair Shores, East Detroit, Grosse Pointe, Marine City and other Michigan cities for 20 years.

Tompert’s stories, many of which are based on tales and legends from around the world, were often inspired by her own experiences. The idea behind Harry’s Hats, for example, developed out of Tompert’s collection of over three-dozen hats. Errant Knight was inspired by her selfless and hardworking father, who postponed his personal dreams to raise Ann and her two sisters. These and all of Tompert’s other stories were first written in long hand and then transcribed on her word processor. Ann started writing in 1959 and published her first book in 1965.

Tompert was introduced to the Community Foundation by Dave O’Connor, a former Board Member, in the early 2000’s and her legacy will live on through the Bob & Ann Tompert Endowment Fund.

The Community Foundation was founded in 1944 and is celebrating 75 years of community philanthropy. Since its inception, unrestricted gifts have benefited a wide range of programs, projects and organizations in our region based on the Community Foundation’s current priority areas.

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