Volunteer Spotlight - Touma Family

Posted on December 30, 2019

For the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, it is all about people and place. Our donors, committee members, community members, grantees, partners and local leaders are the people who help us provide meaningful philanthropy. The Touma family in particular has three generations involved with the Community Foundation all at the same time.

“Having all been raised in St. Clair County, to say we owe a lot to our community is an understatement,” said Andrew Touma, president of the Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC).  “The same people who supported my grandfather and my father have since guided me to where I am today.

“In our eyes, we feel like we owe it to our community to do our part in repaying them,” he added. “Philanthropy is something we can all participate in, but in our own ways. In the end, philanthropy has been something that has brought us closer together and given us an opportunity to bond.”

The Touma family has been actively involved in the Community Foundation for over 40 years. Doug Touma, Sr., Doug Touma, Jr., Andrew Touma and Katie Touma combined have served on seven committees through those years. Sarah Touma, Doug Jr.’s wife, played an active role in opening the Port Huron Town Hall Fund and Carol Touma, Doug Sr.’s wife, is a Women’s Initiative member. Philanthropy and community involvement is truly a family affair.

Doug Touma, Sr. first started on the Community Foundation Board in 1975, serving two other additional Board terms over the years, most recently 2014 through the end of this year when he retires as a Trustee. Doug Sr. has also been a valued member of the Governance Committee, Legal Advisory Committee, Community Capital Club (C3) and a founding member of the Blue Water Land Fund Board.

“One of my proudest moments was when my son S. Douglas and grandson Andrew, my wife Carol and I attended the annual dinner together,” Doug Sr. said. “I’m also proud of Doug’s involvement with the building of the new YMCA and having Andrew as President of YAC, as well as my granddaughter Katie being a member of YAC and Carol joining the Woman’s Initiative. Community involvement is a family commitment.”

The example Doug Sr. set for his son and family through his work on the Blue Water River Walk and Blue Water Land Fund has led Doug Jr. to want to build on the legacy of those who served and bettered our community before him.

Doug Jr. has been an active member of the Foundation’s Grants Committee since 2012. “I still recall my first annual dinner for the Foundation at Fore Lakes and first meeting with the Grants Committee that followed,” he said. “I looked around the rooms and saw the group of diverse community leaders who were donating not only their funds, but also their time and passion. It was both inspiring, and a bit intimidating at the same time. They had accomplished so much.” 
Andrew Touma has been involved with the Community Foundation’s YAC since 2016, and credits the committee for teaching him more than any academic course ever could. The experience has taught him how to think critically, look at the whole picture and make tough decisions.

“YAC taught me how to politely discuss differences, find common ground and balance resources” he said. “Most importantly, YAC has taught me how to be an effective leader and philanthropist - two positions that have proved to be much more similar than different.

“In a broader sense, my family has taught me the personal value that philanthropy can have for an individual,” Andrew added. “For us, it allows us to give back to our community in a truly unique fashion.” 

The Touma family values the rational thinking that comes along with philanthropy. Not getting wrapped up in a certain story or initiative, but closely analyzing the specific steps laid out to reach a charitable goal - not surprising coming from a family of attorneys. Philanthropy has provided them with an opportunity to bond, give back and create a legacy for multiple generations.

The continued generosity, leadership and community involvement from the Toumas’ is greatly appreciated by all involved with the Community Foundation’s work. Philanthropy is a powerful tool we love to see multiple generations embrace simultaneously.

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