William C. and Elizabeth J. Wilhelm Funds

Touching lives in the places that shaped their own, Bill and Elizabeth have contributed to and set up need-based college scholarships for high school graduates in their respective hometowns. For Elizabeth, this is Tarboro, NC, while Bill’s roots are in New Jersey. With a scholarship fund established through WCF they help a chemical engineering student attend Bill’s alma mater, the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

After retiring in Williamsburg, Bill volunteered for ten years as an interpreter at Jamestown Rediscovery Archaeological Project at Jamestown Island, and the couple has set up contributions for the maintenance of the site. “I have an interest in archaeology,” Bill says, “so it was a really interesting way for me to get involved” in local history.

The Wilhelms concern for local issues is balanced by their support of more global initiatives through their donor-advised fund at the Foundation, where they choose various agencies that help the elderly, needy and veterans. Meals on Wheels is a particular favorite. “I really think it’s the greatest volunteer organization,” Elizabeth says, “because it helps older adults stay in their own homes.”

“We had talked about setting up a family foundation,” Bill states. “But you have to get approval, you have to set up a management structure, etc. Instead, our attorney asked us, why go through all that when there are already established foundations that you may want to look at? So the Williamsburg Community Foundation seemed like a natural after we thought about it, and I think it has nicely fit our vision for giving.”