This week we are mourning the loss of a dear family member of Financial Beginnings. On Friday January 21, 2011 James “Bill” Young passed away. Bill was a founding Board Member and even after his departing the Board he continued to be an avid supporter of Financial Beginnings.
Bill came to be a Founding Board Member as a favor to me. When we were creating Financial Beginnings we did everything, including scratch utilizing the Oregon Nonprofit Corporation Handbook. Though the book was great it still wasn’t enough for two 20 somethings to start a nonprofit. One of the requirements of running a nonprofit in Oregon is that you much have a minimum of three board members. We decided that it would be best to get some legal expertise on the board to help us through the logistics of getting the organization off the ground. I asked Bill if he would be willing to take a seat on the board and he gladly accepting.
We immediately found the need for his expertise as the draft of the articles and bylaws were not quite jiving and we did not know one thing about holding a board meeting. I recall Bill saying “be sure that the meeting minutes reflect…”. He served on the Board from 2005- 2008 which was just long enough for Financial Beginnings to get its foundation laid. You should have seen the Board at the first meeting without him trying to determine what should or shouldn’t be voted on. We immediately began to seek someone with legal expertise to join our team.
In the first years of Financial Beginnings I would always call Bill to share our successes. Bill was always one of the first I would call after getting a grant or setting up an important meeting. It’s almost fitting that Financial Beginnings was announced a large grant on the day of his death. I was definitely thinking of him as I was speaking to the foundation.
Even after Bill’s board term ended he continued to be one of our biggest supporters. He would always sponsor a table at our annual funding raising dinner: A Tale of Good Cents and each time we had a donor campaign he would always be one of the first to contribute. Every time I would see him he would ask about Financial Beginnings and tell me how impressed he was by what we are doing.
Bill grew to be such a huge support to not only Financial Beginnings but to me. He gave me support as I ventured into this unknown nonprofit business world with no expertise, but just passion. He taught me how to play racquet ball (and always beat me), allowed me to step on his toes on the dance floor and even in the last few months helped me as I struggled as a tenant in foreclosure. He became a family member to me. I feel so fortunate to have had him in my life.
“Having had the opportunity to work with Melody and reviewing the work of her volunteers I became more than ever convinced that Financial Beginnings has been, and will be, a strong force in the education of students in the greater Northwest Oregon. Having the tools to understand basic banking, the use, and misuse , of credit and the value of the dollar is sadly not readily available to all and in too many cases involve topics not discussed in many students’ homes. All of that and more is offered by Financial Beginnings which is why I shall continue to lend some financial support to the enterprise.” – Bill Young 2010.