Wednesday, July 27th, 2011
Couple believes in 'giving while living'
By Amy Kronenberger
ROCKFORD - Rockford natives Paul and Dorothy Schumm Shaffer have dedicated their lives to giving back, surpassing $1 million in charitable donations.
The Shaffers, who celebrated their 60th anniversary in June, believe giving should be a part of life.
"Giving while living means being able to see the results yourself," Paul Shaffer said. "Why wait until your obituary is published to do your giving? That's the message I want to get out to other people who have the means to give back. Do it now."
The Shaffers grew up in the Rockford area, both Depression-era farm children. They graduated from Rockford High School in 1944. Dorothy Shaffer worked at General Electric in Decatur, Ind., while her husband got a job as a teller trainee at Rockford National Bank after serving a year in the U.S. Army Air Corps.
In 1952, Paul Shaffer was hired at Fort Wayne National Bank and the couple moved to the city. The Shaffers raised their two daughters there, and Paul eventually became bank president and chairman.
"We both came from farm families," Dorothy Shaffer said. "Money was scarce in those days, so we know what it's like to not have much."
Because neither could afford to attend college, the emphasis in their giving has always been education.
The couple 10 years ago set aside a $250,000 scholarship fund for Parkway students attending Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW).
"This will be the last year we offer the scholarship, because the money's almost gone," Paul Shaffer said. "I wanted to tell people about our accomplishment, because I thought if I tell people now, they'd want to give too."
The couple also has given to church food banks, the YMCA and Junior Achievement program. They gave $1 million through their involvement in IPFW, where Paul Shaffer served on the chancellor's advisory board. He also captained a $1 million drive to build a new library at the university.
"I'm just so proud we were able to reach the $1 million mark in our lifetimes," Paul Shaffer said. "I'm 85 years old, and my health isn't very good anymore. I'm glad we were able to accomplish this."