Starting life out in the Woodlawn neighborhood of inner northeast Portland, where money was tight and tempers often flared, Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East Legacy Society member Jeanne Arbow knew from an early age that this is not where she wanted her life to take her. Home life was not easy as her parents struggled to provide for basic necessities. But she was blessed with neighbors and scout leaders willing to freely give of their own time, and with a penchant for studying, Jeanne aimed higher. She was top of her class at Jefferson High School, and after starting at Portland State, Jeanne transferred to U of O, graduating in a little over 3 years with an accounting degree, later followed up by a Masters of Tax at PSU.
Remembering those people who gave selflessly of their time when she was growing up, Jeanne vowed to give back to her community if she was ever in a position to do so. It was in 4th grade when she heard President Kennedy’s words of “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” That has stuck with her all her life.
In her 28 years in the practice of accounting, Jeanne reached out to many professional, charitable, and sports organizations to offer her services and talents. Working closely with the Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) in connection with her accounting practice, Jeanne saw that it wasn’t just the wealthy who could make a difference in the future of many. Through OCF Jeanne selected about a half dozen organizations that remain close to her heart, and Habitat is one near the top. “Habitat gets top billing because these houses are not “hand outs” as in many charitable organizations, but a situation where the family has to put in their sweat equity before they get the house,” says Jeanne. “It really means something more if someone is willing to put in the effort, they should have a good basic, decent standard of living.”
“For all the organizations I support, I look to what that would have given me, if those had been available when I was young and struggling up the ladder. As a person who strongly believes in a smaller, more efficient government, that simply means that “the people” need to step up to honor their beliefs and give of themselves what they can.” Thank you, Jeanne, for paying it forward with Habitat.
It takes a special kind of person to make plans for the benefit of unknown people in the unknowable future. The Legacy Society was designed to recognize these forward-thinking friends. There are only two requirements for membership. First, make arrangements to benefit Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East beyond your lifetime. These arrangements might include a bequest in your will, or a plan that provides life income and income tax benefits, like a Charitable Gift Annuity. Second, please let us know about your plans. It is not necessary to specify a dollar value for these plans, but knowing that you have included Habitat in your bequest is appreciated. Please contact Tracy Matchett Oswald at 503-287-9529 x25. Thank you.
More information can be found on our website: https://habitatportlandmetro.org/get-involved/donate/legacy-giving/