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People get involved at the Danforth Center in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons. Check out what our donors say about why they give—and what they get out of being part of a cutting-edge plant science team that’s saving the world.

A Good Challenge: Cheryl & John Bohney

Seeing the world can be eye-opening. It’s a way to experience different cultures, meet new people, and explore unique locations. But it can also bring to light the aspects of life that Westerners often take for granted, like daily access to nutritious food.

“John and I both like to travel,” says Cheryl Bohney, a retired IT auditor. “When you go other places in the world, you see that they don’t have what we have in the U.S.”

After learning about the Danforth Center’s work to promote food security at a Conversations event in 2005, John and Cheryl joined as Danforth Society members and have been annual givers ever since. They have also included the Danforth Center in their estate plans.

“The Danforth Center has the equipment, the talent, and the cutting-edge research to make a real difference,” says John, a retired electronics Quality Assurance Representative for the federal government. “To feed the world is a good challenge.”

For more information, contact the Development Office via email or call 314.587.1234.

La Vie en Rose: Doris & John Wolfe

When Ralston Purina wanted to transfer John Wolfe to France, he had two replies: “(1) I don’t speak French, and (2) I don’t like French people.” A 10-hour-a-day Berlitz course fixed problem number 1, and problem number 2 fixed itself. “It turns out I really love French people. And France.”

Today, Doris and John Wolfe spend more than half the year at their farm in Normandy, where they live in a 200-year-old house and grow fruits, vegetables, and flowers. “The sunflowers in this region of France grow 20 feet tall!”

I know Bill [Danforth] from my Purina days,” says John. “When we heard about the Danforth Center, it seemed like such a great project to address so many issues in the world. We knew we wanted to help.” Adds Doris: “I appreciate the research, the idea that plant science can save the world. I believe that.”

The Wolfes have supported the Danforth Center personally and through John’s role as a trustee of The Bellwether Foundation. When it came time to create a legacy, the Wolfes chose a charitable gift annuity at the Danforth Center, as one of many ways to give.

For more information, contact the Development Office via email or call 314.587.1234.

For Future Generations: Ann Case

“I have always loved trees… you could say I’m a tree person,” says Ann Case, lifelong St. Louisan and member of the Danforth Center Legacy Society. Ann grew up climbing trees in the backyard of the Ladue home where she still lives. “Trees live a long time. When you plant a tree, you’re taking care of future generations.”

Ann is taking care of future generations in other ways too. When she and her late husband Mike were making their wills, they wanted to give back to the community. “We wanted to know that we were leaving a legacy to the St. Louis region, and the Danforth Center was a natural choice.”

Ann believes improvements in plant science have the potential to address many of the world’s ills, such as hunger and malnutrition. “I think everyone should be concerned about feeding people!”

Through her planned estate gift to the Danforth Center, Ann is helping to fund early-stage projects, training, and technology that have the potential to help feed the world.

For more information, contact the Development Office via email or call 314.587.1234.

Supporters since the Beginning: Janet & the late Jim Knight

Before Jim Knight passed away in September 2018, he and his wife Janet sat down for a chat about their long-time support of the Danforth Center and how they first become involved.

“Well, as with most married couples, it’s really all about my wife,” said Jim Knight, laughing. Jim’s wife Janet had a close friend at college: Elizabeth “Ibby” Gray, who later married Bill Danforth. When the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center was founded in 1998, the Knights were among Dr. Danforth’s earliest supporters. “We’re great admirers of Bill,” said Janet. “He can be very persuasive without ever asking,” Jim added, again with a chuckle.

Both Knights credited the “vision and values” as reasons why they supported the Center for over two decades. “When you learn people aren’t fed properly, you just have to do something,” said Jim. “The Danforth Center’s cassava project really matters.”

Jim and Janet were members of the Danforth Center’s Legacy Society for years after including a gift in their estate plans. Before he passed, Jim said “Janet and I feel the Danforth Center’s mission needs to be supported into the future beyond our lifetimes.”

Through their support, the Knights have helped to fund early-stage projects, training, and technology that have the potential to help feed the world.

For more information, contact the Development Office via email or call 314.587.1234.

Giving Starts at Home: Dr. Ken Mares

When Dr. Ken Mares thinks back, he can pinpoint the exact source of his desire to create a legacy: “My parents. My father gave lavishly to his alma mater. Giving was a big part of our family.”

Now in his 32nd year as director of the STARS program, Ken has spent a career creating a “high school-to-lab” pipeline for gifted kids interested in science. Ken is also a member of the Danforth Center Legacy Society.

“I chose to put the Danforth Center in my will because it is a world-class facility and by making a gift, I can be part of it.”

Ken’s legacy at the Danforth Center continues his life’s work in launching young scientists. His family trust gift benefits the Innovation Fund, which helps fund training for junior scientists, K-12 education and outreach, and new equipment and technology.

He adds with obvious humor: “It also delights me that when I go on to bigger and better things, someone gets new test tubes.”

For more information, contact the Development Office via email or call 314.587.1234.

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