One Kiwanian’s individual kindness helps make the big picture brighter
For Francine Pease, the well-being of women and children has always been a guiding inspiration. Her life reflects her interest—from her professional career as a speech pathologist to her personal generosity. Of course, it also shows in her Kiwanis-club membership.
Now retired, Pease has recently purchased property for an eventual move to Florida. In the meantime, she continues to make a positive impact on children’s lives—through gifts to the Kiwanis International Foundation.
“Things only happen because other people give,” she says.
A teacher’s early lessons
Pease’s own life drove that point home at an early age. In fact, the benefits of public education offered an early lesson in the widespread opportunity that can come from shared sacrifice.
“I’m one of eight children, and six of us have advanced degrees,” Pease says. “If not for the taxes people spent for people like me, I never would have gone to school at a university. Public scholarships for 100 bucks were available then—and that 100 bucks changed my life. I feel like it’s give-back time.”
Pease has given back with financial gifts, of course. But throughout her adult life, she has also given her time and talent. Her career as a speech pathologist came mostly from a love for children, she says, and that choice shows the lasting impression that adults’ generosity made on her as a child.
“I’m a teacher, and I’m proud of it,” she says. “I believe it all happened because people gave to me—because of a hundred-dollar scholarship 50 years ago.”
An outlet for generosity
After her husband’s death in 1989, Pease renewed her emphasis on making the most of life—particularly through service to others. Eventually she joined the East Troy Kiwanis club. That decision, in 1999, led to an important insight.
“It’s when I realized that what I did in East Troy affects everybody in the world,” she says. “I realized that ‘little me’ makes a difference.”
Through her Kiwanis-club membership, she soon discovered the benefits of giving to the Kiwanis International Foundation. In fact, our foundation is one of several outlets for Pease’s natural generosity—but the Kiwanis experience itself has been a major catalyst for all of her efforts.
“I have really become philanthropic while I’ve been a part of Kiwanis,” she says. “I give money to Kiwanis, but I give a lot of money to the community, usually things that involve children.”
A memorable moment
Women’s safety and welfare is also an important focus for Pease. So is recognition of women’s contributions—throughout Kiwanis and elsewhere. One of Pease’s most satisfying moments as a Kiwanian came in December 2011, after she had made a gift to the Kiwanis International Foundation. She made sure that the club ceremony honoring her gift also recognized five other women for their contributions.
Each of the six women were presented with a George F. Hixson Fellowship, which is awarded to Kiwanians who donate US$1,000 to the Kiwanis International Foundation. The opportunity to extend her Kiwanis impact, combined with the recognition of her fellow women members, made it one of Pease’s fondest memories of the East Troy club.
“I felt like I killed several birds with one stone,” she says, laughing. “It was just the most exciting moment to honor these outstanding women.”
The Eliminate Project’s positive impact on the health of women and children makes Pease especially enthusiastic about the campaign. “I can’t believe everyone isn’t standing in line to give to our foundation for all the wonderful things it does, including The Eliminate Project,” she says.
For Pease, it’s another great example of Kiwanians’ individual and local efforts adding up to a global impact. “That’s something I would even tell my students—it’s not all about you,” she says. “One person can make such a difference.”
Join Francine in giving
The Kiwanis International Foundation is supported solely by voluntary contributions from Kiwanis-family clubs, members and other friends. Gifts of all sizes are deeply appreciated and make a difference in children's lives. Support our foundation today.