The George S and Delores Dori Eccles Foundation was established 60 years ago and since 1982, it’s given $600 million-dollars to help fund charitable organizations that enrich the lives and communities of Utah. Carolyn Murray has this:
A 90-page report was released in conjunction with the 60-year anniversary of the George S and Delores Dori Eccles foundation. It outlines in detail the impacts the Eccles Foundation has made in Utah.
Spence Eccles, Chairman and CEO of the Foundation talked with KPCW about the history of his family, their arrival in Utah and the legacy they have established with non-profits around the State.
"It was 1863 when the Eccles Clan came over here ultimately under the patriarch to be, was David Eccles. He was very successful. Therefore, the assets were built and saved and passed on and grew. They were used productively because he taught us to always share back our success. Myself and my cousin Barbara were the last of the fourth generation of the Eccles Clan. Those assets in large measure have found their way through to various family foundations. The largest of which is the George and Delores Dori Eccles Foundation. I was blessed to have been born into a family that has been taught to believe and to share back.”
Eccles said his children and grandchildren are being trained in the Eccles Foundation operations. They’ve donated to over 70 non-profits in the Park City area. He said the Eccles Foundations started with the family banking business which was First Security Bank.
“And I have four children and they’re very much there in the blood line to support what we are doing. And, now I have 10 grandchildren in the process of being trained to remember how. So, the foundation is here in perpetuity for all the Eccles Clan but the George Eccles in particular we are talking about. But we are very proud and pleased to be able to be part of what goes on in Park City and Wasatch and Summit Counties up there. Peoples Health Clinic and National Abilities Center, Peach House, Deer Valley Symphony in the summer, the Eccles Center, a joint venture with the school district. And, early on at the very beginning, the Sundance Film Institute. And of course, the Swaner Park which is the entry to the whole shootin’ match up there- Park City and surrounding area. And, the wonderful little Egyptian Theater including the new tunnel expansion.”
Eccles said his family foundation partners with other non-profits by encouraging philanthropy that supports charitable efforts all over the state.
“Everything’s finite dollars. The need seems to go on and on and it just grows. But once we have opportunity to learn of a need, a special need or just a budgetary need. Or just for their operations, besides special projects. That’s when we get a proposal. A proposal lays out everything that they’re trying to do. How to do it. Who’s involved and then we can get in and try to make a decision and hope we can encourage other donors to come forward and support it. We’re partners with the not-for-profits. They’re the cutting edge on the project and we are the financing edge. Then we get a chance to work through to the completion of the project or whatever it is.”
Eccles, his daughter Lisa, and General Counsel, Robert Graham have worked with the foundation for decades. They’re familiar with all the projects and organizations the Eccles Foundation funds.
“We have 400 to 450 proposals to us each year as we’re trying to serve the needs of the community. So, you can see there’s a lot more to it than just meets the eye and we’re very proud of it. And we’re very pleased to be privileged to be part of it. To be chosen to carry on the line of giving here from the Eccles Family.”
Eccles said they have 5 areas they identify in their giving philosophy. They include education, social responsibility for the underserved, arts and culture, medical care and conservation of Utah’s open spaces.
He said his aunt and uncle George S. and Delores Dori Eccles, built on the family legacy throughout their lives and then, with foresight and generosity, they created a foundation to carry on their philanthropic vision, entrusting the next generation to build upon that legacy. He said it is a humbling responsibility but one to which his family is committed. The link to the Eccles Foundation 60th Anniversary Report can be found on KPCW.org and is posted with this story.