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Donor Spotlight

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Jane Mong | The Helen Grettler “Got Music” Fund


Jane Mong
The Helen Grettler “Got Music” Fund

Her whole life, Helen Grettler was passionate about music. As a young child taking piano lessons, she watched her brothers learn the violin and dreamed of brandishing a bow herself. Though Helen began to pick up the violin on her own, she always hoped to take the lessons that had been reserved for the boys of the family. At age 94, Helen took her first violin lesson, fulfilling a lifelong dream and inspiring many.

When Helen’s family decided to open a fund to celebrate her legacy, they knew it had to offer others the opportunity to enjoy music and the arts as much as Helen has in her life, so The Helen Grettler “Got Music” Fund supports the persons of Hocking County in inspiring, experiencing, or learning the performing arts.

Helen’s daughter Jane shared a little bit about her mother and starting a fund in her honor.

Q: How did you decide to create the Helen Grettler “Got Music” Fund?
A: It is a gift for my mother. She has always enjoyed music. It’s been a major part of her life and she shared it with everybody. She taught so many people. She had the skill and the talent to teach others. We’d like that to be a continuing legacy for her. At 99, she was still taking violin lessons. My mother had a love for it and she really practiced and worked hard to accomplish it. We want to be able to share that joy with others so that they can enjoy music in that kind of way.

Q: How did your mom develop her passion for music?
A: She took piano lessons when she was a young girl. The male children in her family had the opportunity for violin lessons and that was more important for male children at the time. She had picked up violin from them, but didn’t take a lesson until she was 94. Then she was able to learn the theory. She has always had that talent and that gift. And she has always taken on a challenge. My mother was a pianist when she was young and at another job, she started taking pipe organ lessons in Pennsylvania. She also worked with disadvantaged and special education students by teaching them music, to play instruments, and to put on plays and musicals.

Q: Where did your interest in giving start?
A: My mother befriended a lot of people. Giving of herself was always very, very important and sharing her talents in every way.

Q: What does the word “philanthropy” mean to you?
A: Well, if you put it that way, my mother was very much a philanthropist. She had a very modest income, but she just wanted to share all her money and she would deny herself things first so that she could give to others.

Q: What will be possible because of this fund?
A: The Fund began because we wanted to support children. We wanted to perhaps help families without the financial means to offer music lessons to their children or maybe there would be a student in the band who wasn’t able to rent an instrument when he or she started to take lessons – then we enlarged upon the idea. Because of this Fund, others can enjoy music the way that my mother did.

Make an online donation through Network for Good, designating The Helen Grettler “Got Music” Fund or contact the Foundation for more information at 740.753.1111.