Bill and Mary Wasserman feel passionately that strong arts and culture are critical to enhancing and sustaining a vibrant lifestyle and economic opportunity in Essex County, today and for the future. To underscore that, they believe in and support the mission of Montserrat College of Art.
Building on this region’s incredible arts backbone and history, for nearly 50 years, Montserrat, located in downtown Beverly, has offered an exceptional arts education.
“It is wonderful to see the transformation, the graceful maturing that takes place as these kids travel their four years of college,” said Bill, now a devoted trustee of the College.
When he retired as owner and publisher of a chain of weekly newspapers, Bill chose to pursue his own passion for art at Montserrat. During his years of study at the College, he learned first-hand the benefits of Montserrat to the community and region, but most importantly, to the students.
“Montserrat provides students, many of whom have limited means, a nurturing and quality path to a creative and productive life,” said Bill. “These young people can become contributing members in our economy with careers they are passionate about.”
In keeping with these priorities of insuring education and opportunity for all, Montserrat enjoys a diverse student population – in their personal creative vision and also in demographics and economic background. Many students are from middle-to-low income families, and the opportunity to build a career out of their passion for art isn’t always readily available. Many of these students are able to attend Montserrat because of the significant amount of financial assistance that the college offers, due in part to generous supporters like Bill and Mary.
The Wassermans have partnered with ECCF to simplify their charitable giving to Montserrat and other causes they care about. Bill explains that making one major charitable contribution each year to the Foundation eliminates the need for multiple stock transactions, mounds of tax records and cumbersome bookkeeping.
“Once the proceeds are at ECCF, I can parcel them out in big or little pieces,” said Bill. “The timing of the gifts is up to me, or at the convenience of the benefactor if I wish to accommodate them, but it is not dependent upon fickle financial winds.”
And, he added, there is an added plus for the Foundation.
“ECCF earns some money off of the account management, and that money is reinvested into the community,” said Bill. “My use of ECCF makes a small contribution to a good cause, namely a better life in Essex County.”