Keeping Philanthropy Local

Peter Oberdorf

From Fidelity to the Adirondacks, Peter Oberdorf looks to keeping philanthropy local.

Peter Oberdorf first came to the Adirondacks to attend Camp Read on Brant Lake. Camp Read serves Boy Scouts from Westchester and Putnam Counties, near New York City. What began as a summer activity led to a life-long passion for the camp and the Adirondacks.

While working as a lawyer for the CIT Group in New York City, Peter bought property near Schroon Lake, spending vacation time there with his family. He continued to support Camp Read throughout the years. After retirement in 1998, Peter moved to Schroon Lake full time and also became involved with the Seagle Music Colony and is now on the board of directors. Seagle, located in Schroon Lake, trains young artists in opera and musical theater during the summer and presents numerous shows to the public.

Peter first established a charitable family fund with Fidelity in 1995. A few years ago he learned about Adirondack Foundation through word of mouth and from former Adirondck Foundation Trustee David Johnson, a lawyer in Tupper Lake. After some further research, Peter decided to transfer his fund to Adirondack Foundation.

"I was attracted to the ease of management that Adirondack Foundation provides," he says. "While of course I could call Fidelity in Boston at any time, here I can actually meet with the staff in person. Adirondack Foundation is simply more accessible and more tuned in to my local giving options and needs."

Through Adirondack Foundation, Peter can see and be involved in the entire life cycle of his philanthropic activity.

"This region is where I give, and it helps the local purposes to have my investments managed on site," he says. "I can see first-hand that the impact is meaningful."

Peter has seen both Camp Read and the Seagle Music Colony grow in size and sophistication over the years. As a member of Seagle's board, he brings a depth of financial and governance knowledge, as well as an understanding of how nonprofits function. Tony Kostecki, Seagle's General Director, says, "Peter just finished leading an effort to thoroughly revise our bylaws. It is great to have him on board."

Peter understands how Adirondack Foundation can help in the growth of other nonprofits.

"The seminars that Adirondack Foundation organizes, both for nonprofits and as continuing legal education, are a great resource for the local community," he says.

Peter attended a seminar last fall that gave credit for continued legal education.

"It's just another service to the local community that Adirondack Foundation provides," he adds.

For both individuals and nonprofit organizations, Peter sees Adirondack Foundation as important in providing for the continued integrity of donor intent. Donors to organizations like the Seagle Music Colony that have their endowments with Adirondack Foundation can be assured of local oversight and commitment to the organization's mission.

"It is Adirondack Foundation's business to know your philanthropic interests and the changing needs in the Adirondacks," Peter says. "While large commercial funds that may not be familiar with local needs could go in different directions with my funds after I'm not here, I have confidence that Adirondack Foundation will maintain my original goals."