John Anderson in his Maple Knoll Village home.
John Anderson in his Maple Knoll Village home.
(John Johnston / United Way of Greater Cincinnati 2021)

A Couple's Gift Signifies Love for the Community, and for Each Other

John and Helen Anderson's planned gift to United Way will benefit many for years to come.
December 30, 2021

CINCINNATI, Ohio (Dec. 30, 2021) — Over the course of their nearly 53-year marriage, John and Helen Anderson participated in many activities together. 

They enjoyed attending each other’s high school reunions. John is a Walnut Hills alum; Helen graduated from Hughes.  

They trained adults to be Scout leaders. “We just had a ball with all the friends we made,” says John, who is 91.

They sang together. And took many walks together. After the couple moved from the Cincinnati suburb of Wyoming to the Maple Knoll Village retirement community in 2010, “Somehow we got a reputation for walking around holding hands,” John says with a grin. 

When making decisions about charitable giving, they did that together, too. They chose to direct their dollars to schools and local organizations that were meaningful to them, including United Way of Greater Cincinnati, which recently received a generous gift from the couple’s charitable trust.  

John was introduced to United Way through Procter & Gamble, where he worked for 34 years, first as a product development chemist, and then as a computer expert. Each year, he contributed to P&G’s United Way workplace campaign.  

“United Way takes care of the people who really need it,” he says. “I’ve just admired what they do.”  

John cared for Helen as long as he could after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Eventually, she moved to Maple Knoll’s memory-care unit. John took a short walk to visit her every day. 

In July 2020, Helen was 88 and nearing the end of her life. “Of course, she was no longer walking. But she sang with me until the second-to-last day,” John says. “On the last day, she didn’t sing, but she smiled when I did. I can’t tell you how much that meant.” 

John and Helen’s gift to United Way will have a significant impact on the organization’s work. Their gift will help United Way fulfill its mission to create sustainable solutions that allow all families in our region to achieve economic well-being.  

When John was asked whether the gift should be made in memory of Helen, he said no. He explains: “We worked on it together. It’s our joint gift. We had a good, equal marriage, I’m happy and proud to say. We worked as a team.” 

Now, thanks to the generosity of that longtime team of two, countless people in the community will benefit in innumerable ways. Asked how that makes him feel, John says: “It feels grand!”  

Like the Andersons, you, too, can invest in the future of the community you care about and help ensure that all residents have opportunities to thrive.

For information about the multiple options for planned giving, visit uwgc.org/giftplanning or contact Brigitte Foley, Director of Transformational Giving for United Way at 513-762-7100 or by email at giftplanning@uwgc.org.  

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