“We’ve been blessed. Our CPA said, ‘If you give it away while you’re alive, you’re going to feel a whole lot better.’ We see the value of endowment giving, and have created a planned gift that will benefit Marist and others. By making a planned gift we’ve left a lasting gift that lives forever.”
— Jon & Terri Anderson
Jon and Terri have seen the results of many of their gifts, one of which is sponsoring a room in the science wing at Marist.
Jon & Terri Anderson: "We are committed"
Even in the midst of the hundreds of runners pounding the Boston Marathon course, Cornell University track star, world-class long distance runner and Olympian, Jon Anderson was alone, running.
He wasn’t always a runner. He began as part of his training for competitive skiing. Skiing eventually became secondary as he reached various running milestones. “Every time there was a reachable carrot, I’d reach it; so, I’d go for the next one,” he said. In 1973, the next “carrot” was the Boston Marathon. Jon passed the defending champion near the 20-mile mark and won in 2:16:03.
Running a successful business is a different kind of competition. Jon is the president/publisher of Random Lengths, a leading trade publication for the wood products industry. Jon and his team of 14 glean information by telephone and computer and analyze trends.
There are singular activities like running, there’s managing a business team, and then there’s the plurality of philanthropy. Philanthropy is a community activity, a partnership among like-minded people who want to make a difference. Perhaps not surprisingly, Jon is a leader in this respect, too.
Jon comes by his philanthropic spirit naturally. Jon’s dad was Les Anderson, the mayor of Eugene from 1969 to 1977. A decorated World War II veteran, he guided Eugene through the troubling times of the late 60s and 70s. Mayor Anderson’s legacy includes creating the first 50 miles of city bike paths and advocating for clean air in opposition to local farmers practicing field burning. When Jon's wife, Terri, heard Jon had said “yes” to being one of the co-chairs for the ambitious Advancing Marist campaign in 2013, she laughed, “Oh, that’s his Dad. That’s Jon. Anything to make the community better.”
Jon describes his dad, Les, fondly as “a supportive father, involved, a great dad, one of the ‘greatest generation.’” Random Lengths was his dad’s company. Jon began working there in 1974 “to fund my running career,” he said with a grin. He became the president/publisher in 1984 and continues in that role today. As he talks about business, Jon speaks of so many of that generation – local families who built local businesses like Giustina, Gonyea, Alltucker, Bowerman – names woven into the fabric of Eugene.
Jon’s other roles often involve supporting education. Jon said, “I think a lot of lip service is paid to education. Education is the future. Let’s go beyond lip service.” Jon certainly has done that, by sharing his time, connections, and resources. He champions causes related to education, through volunteer work with the University of Oregon, The Oregon Community Foundation, Eugene Civic Alliance and others. Jon has been a member of the Marist Foundation Board since 2012. His service on these boards has been educational in itself, helping Jon learn about a variety of philanthropic tools and their benefits.
Jon and his wife Terri joined the Marist community when their son, Drew '14, graduated from St. Paul Parish School and became a Spartan. Jon and Terri were both born and raised in Eugene and attended public schools, but when Drew was ready for first grade, they talked to other parents and put him on the path to Marist. Jon and Terri “dove in” as volunteers at St. Paul, a commitment that led to Jon serving on the St. Paul Foundation Board for 14 years.
Drew enjoyed being a Spartan. He had wanted to come to Marist and he thrived here. He played lacrosse, ran cross country and was involved in other activities. “If you want your child to have a complete education in a Christian environment at the high school level, this is the place,” Jon said.
The Andersons are two local humanitarians whose generosity extends far beyond Marist, and into future generations. The Andersons give back to their community in many ways because “we’ve been blessed.” They share those blessings with Marist and others.
“I remember my CPA said to me, ‘If you give it away while you’re alive, you’re going to feel a whole lot better.’ Implying I’m not going to feel a whole lot when I’m gone,” Jon mused. “I don’t know if I’ll get to see it after I’m dead!” Jon and Terri have seen the results of many of their gifts, one of which is sponsoring a room in the new science wing.
His CPA’s sentiment aside, the Andersons also see the value of endowment giving, creating a planned gift that will benefit Marist and others through the Oregon Community Foundation.
“You’ve left a lasting gift that lives forever,” Jon said.
— From Marist Magazine, Volume 8 No. 1, Fall 2016.