Sometimes, we’re fortunate to grow up in a culture of giving. For Jacqueline and John Susong, they were raised in environments where giving, gifting and serving were a part of everyday life. Both Jacqueline and John’s parents modeled how to serve others. John’s father was involved in an Atlanta prison ministry for many years and his mother taught special needs children for over 30 years. Meanwhile, Jacqueline’s parents were serving in mission fields and helping meet medical needs around the globe – something they still do today.
“We believe that giving and serving is a great commission from our Lord and Savior,” Jacqueline Susong said. “We have been business owners for over 20 years and God has really blessed our efforts. Luke 12:48 says, ‘To whom much is given, much is required’. Giving back to others in the way of time, talents, and money is something we feel a sense of duty to do thoughtfully.”
The Susong’s, who own Cumming, Georgia-based Industrial Access, which provides inspection, testing, maintenance and repair for power generation, heavy industrial and manufacturing clients, have given back for a number of years. But it wasn’t until they met with their financial advisor Justin Porter that they were introduced to the idea of giving through a community foundation.
“We were discussing our giving goals and Justin offered to find a community-based donor advised fund for us,” Jacqueline said. “He then connected us to the Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia. After one lunch with President/CEO Randy Redner and their Director of Fundholder Experience Britt Ramroop, we were sold.”
In 2018, the Susong’s became fundholders at the Community Foundation.
“The Community Foundation is so dialed into the local nonprofits in metro Atlanta and have built such a great network of people to draw from. We have been connected and introduced to so many organizations in such a short time,” Jacqueline said. “Their online donation tool also makes it very simple to make a contribution at any time. They have an ongoing stream of great workshops for their clients to participate in as well.”
The Susong’s have also really appreciated the benefits of their donor advised fund.
“Having a donor advised fund allows you to have a timeline for more thoughtful giving,” Jacqueline said. “You always have the option to park your money there with great tax benefits until you figure out where you really want to make your contribution. Plus, it’s been really constructive to be able to evaluate so many different nonprofit organizations. You can avoid that reservation, that feeling of being rushed into making a donation before year end. If you are unsure of where to put your dollars in your community, the Community Foundation has built great relationships with so many organizations. It is such a great channel to connect with a local nonprofit in a very personal way.”
Over the years, the Susong’s have become involved in their Forsyth community as well as supporting international missions agencies and affiliates in Africa, Romania, Guatemala and Cuba. They’re also working to instill a passion for giving into their son Denver, a rising sophomore at the University of Georgia, and their daughter Macy, a rising high school senior.
“We know how important it is for our children to see [giving] modeled at home so that they also carry that into their own adult lives. It’s a great exercise to see past yourself and learn to sacrifice for others,” Jacqueline said.
“I currently serve at The Place of Forsyth and have for the past couple of years. They provide emergency financial assistance, relief from food insecurity, and career counseling, among many other services. There are no shelters or housing assistance of any kind in our entire county and that is a challenge that we’d like to play a part in tackling in partnership with others in our community.”
The Susong’s have also traveled extensively, which has influenced their giving.
“It is such great exposure to see other cultures and people from all over the world. All of the different food, currency, music, wildlife, architecture, and scenery shows us how diverse the world really is. You could travel forever and never really see it all. From skiing the slopes and scuba diving oceans, to zip lining the jungle or ATVing through forests, we are always on the hunt for new adventures as a family,” Jacqueline said. “Traveling has instilled a greater appreciation of our home country and all of the freedom, wealth, and opportunity we take for granted. Seeing people of all races, religions, and walks of life really expands your worldview.”
To learn more about becoming a fundholder at the Community Foundation or the benefits of opening a donor advised fund, contact Randy Redner at email@example.com or 770-813-3384.