Sometimes, the name says it all: Margaret’s Hope Fund not only brought hope and meaning to its namesake, the late Margaret Jonikas, while she was alive; the Donor-Advised Fund established at the Community Foundation continues to inspire hope in her memory today.
Donor-Advised Fundholder Spotlight: Joe Jonikas
“My mother was the biggest donor to the fund,” says Joe Jonikas, Margaret’s son. “She had many medical issues, including Parkinson’s. And after my dad passed away, she felt she needed to do something more in her life. That’s how the fund came to be.”
Indeed, according to Joe, when Parkinson’s began to limit what Margaret could do, physically – including volunteering – she found joy in talking about the impact the fund was having in our community.
“Every time I visited her, we talked about the fund,” recalls Joe, an attorney with Kottke & Brantz, where he focuses on taxation, wills, trusts, and small business consulting. “My mom passed away in May, but I’m convinced that she lived six years longer than she otherwise would have. The fund – with the stated purpose that everyone in our community deserves a safe place – gave her meaning.
“Today, our whole family – from my siblings to my daughters – participates in Margaret’s Hope Fund, in one way or another.”
Specifically, the family identifies and considers potential grantees with an eye on addressing mental health issues through innovative, impact-driven ideas that maximize charitable contributions.
“I talk to a lot of grantees, asking them about their organizations, their impact, and what’s on their wish list,” continues Joe. “They share with me what’s working, and what’s not working.
“In discussions with various organizations, connections start to happen, and creative ways to stretch one dollar of grant money into two dollars begin to emerge.”
He adds, “I’ve learned that charities need to run like businesses. They have to be efficient. And to be efficient, sometimes there are opportunities to pair organizations together to work in more effective ways – just like business networks operate.”
Among Margaret’s Hope Fund grantees, Mindful Works provides transitional employment for individuals recovering from mental illness. Through the fund, Joe has advanced collaboration between Mindful Works and CenterStage's Tapestry Theatre, and all-abilities theater company. “We did something similar between Bridge House and Community Food Share, where my wife volunteers,” says Joe.
Another grantee of Margaret’s Hope fund is Soft Voices, a Longmont-based drop-in center where people with mental health challenges can explore their creativity and build community in a safe environment. Currently, in response to pandemic restrictions, Soft Voices is distributing safe-at-home art kits.
“We like innovative, we like efficient and effective, and we like figuring out how to take good ideas to the next level,” concludes Joe. “As you talk to people, you realize the possibilities.”