Giving Back

TAPinto Westfield Profile: Betsy Chance, Executive Director of the Westfield Foundation

94201d2a56f2da770404_b8159177f995a2d08aaf_Betsy_Chance.JPG
Betsy Chance, executive director of the Westfield Foundation.
94201d2a56f2da770404_b8159177f995a2d08aaf_Betsy_Chance.JPG

WESTFIELD, NJ — For 23 years, Betsy B. Chance has served as executive director of the Westfield Foundation, established in 1975 by a group of civic-minded leading citizens  — H. Emerson Thomas, Frank Ketcham, Bob Mulreany and Donn Snyder, who each put in $500 to officially form the foundation.

The aim — then and now — centers on enhancing and supporting the quality of life in Westfield. The coffers grew substantially over the years with a mixture of modest contributions rolling in, augmented by extremely generous supporters such as Charles Anderson, who donated more than $1 million. More recently, some contributions have exceeded Anderson's initial largesse. Since its inception, the foundation has distributed $6,400,000 to various organizations. This quarter alone, $93,262 was allocated to multiple recipients, which are listed on the website at thewestfieldfoundation.com.

Betsy Chance explained the way the non-profit foundation operates.

Sign Up for E-News

“We have a 15-member board of trustees that meets quarterly to determine the beneficiaries of funds. Each member serves a maximum of two three-year terms. That way we have an influx of new ideas, new backgrounds and new experiences. We don’t want to become stagnant,” she said. “The atmosphere at our meetings is always collegial. In fact, virtually everyone is sorry to leave us.”

At the helm of the Westfield Foundation is Janet Sarkos, president, who also serves as executive director of Caring Contact.

“Janet is a gem,” said Chance. “As current president, she is insightful, energetic and very thoughtful. Janet acts on what she believes and thinks things through.”

Sarkos returned the compliments.  

“Betsy is the heart and soul of the Westfield Foundation,” she said. “As trustees, we come and go but we’re only able to do that because we know that the organization rests of the able shoulders of Betsy. She understands and honors the history of the foundation while always keeping her sights set on the future, maintaining the stability and integrity that the organization has enjoyed for over 40 years."

Gail Cassidy, who served as president of the foundation from 1999 to 2005, agreed.

 “I thoroughly enjoyed my two terms as president," said the 45-year Westfield resident. “I believe there would be unanimity among trustees, especially all who’ve served as president, that Betsy is the brains behind and the success of the Westfield Foundation. She takes care of everything and makes all of us look good. It was a true pleasure working with her.”

Chance’s multifaceted background made her ripe for the challenges as foundation director. Born and raised in the Youngstown, Ohio area, Elizabeth Bruhn Chance graduated from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio in 1972. That’s where she met her husband, Terry. She went on to earn a Masters in Criminal Justice from Michigan State before the couple married. They remained in Ohio for about a year while she worked as a community liaison for the county sheriff until Terry accepted an offer back east from Compass Maritime Services in Teaneck, where is now a partner.

For a brief time they lived on Staten Island where Betsy Chance took a clerical job with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service that she described as “pure drudgery.” In 1975, they bid goodbye to Staten Island, choosing Westfield for their home. In 1980 they welcomes daughter, Sarah, followed two years later by Megan. During their early school years, their mom became a part time paralegal working from home for the local firm of McDonough, Corn and Eichorn.

Sarah and her husband, Colin, live in Scotch Pains with their son Liam, 5, and daughter Lainey, 18 months old. Sarah is a senior publicist for Crown Publishing while Megan's career went in an entirely different direction as a horse trainer and riding instructor in North Carolina where she and her husband, Ryan, live with their son Alex, 10.

When her children matured, Chance took on the responsibilities of the foundation, devoting four days per week with fluctuating hours depending on the workload.  She was constantly motivated by the wide spectrum of challenges, she said.

“I love the job because I do so many different things, from clerical to the issuance of scholarship checks and managing community grants,” she said. “You get to see everything. It’s very rewarding helping non-profits who operate on a shoestring. We have managed to give much needed support for community needs and we’re always looking for new projects, new programs and helping with capital needs in our community.”

For example, she said, “Say a furnace dies and you don't have that need in your budget. We step in for needs of that kind.”

The foundation's overall mission is to enhance and support quality of life issues for Westfield citizens in far-ranging ways. Support goes to organizations involved in the arts, health, aging, historic preservation, social services and civic projects.  

“The foundation can be viewed as a ‘savings account’ for the community,” Cassidy explained, “for building a charitable endowment that will exist into the future while still utilizing a portion of income from that endowment for current grants as seed money for capital needs not met within operating budgets, or for special projects which could not otherwise be funded.”

But where does the majority of that capital come from?

“Tom Phelan and his law partner Bill Peek, have been responsible for a lot of our funding,” Chance said. “When clients are seeking his counsel on estate planning, Tom says they often choose Westfield Foundation for a bequest. That’s where the bulk of our assets comes from.” Then the trustees determine how to allocate the funds.

Phelan shared his take on the topic along with his admiration for Chance.

“The Westfield Foundation is an amazing resource for the community,” he said. “It has the funds to respond to the needs of the community and to initiate projects of lasting value for the town. Betsy is a tireless advocate for the foundation. She not only does an amazing job of keeping the books, including differentiating the many, many funds held within the foundation, but she is also the fact of the foundation, representing it at meetings throughout the year, with organizations and individuals seeking information about the foundation and encouraging them to seek grants when appropriate.”

Sarkos summed up the non-profit foundation’s reliance on Chance: “Betsy is a rock.  As president, she makes my job very easy.”

To contact the Westfield Foundation, call 908-23-9787 or email foundation@westfieldnj.com.  The office is located in the train station on North Avenue.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

17-Year-Old Academy for Information Technology Student Dies; GoFundMe Page Established to Help Family

July 21, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — Seventeen -year-old Fenov Pierre-Louis, a Roselle resident and student at Union County's Academy for Information Technology, lost his battle with stage 4 Nueroblastoma cancer this week.

Friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help his family. 

Diagnosed when he was a second grader, Fenov fought the disease for about half of his lifetime, ...

Corruption Has No Place in Union County

July 19, 2018

The Union County Freeholders’ decision to appoint State Senator and newly-elected Union County Democratic Chairman Nick Scutari’s chief of staff, Ed Oatman, as county manager smelled of corruption from the start. To place a political consultant like Oatman in the role of overseeing 2,800 employees and running the day-to-day operations of the $500 million county budget suggests ...

Westfield Police Blotter: Multiple Businesses Report Thefts & More

July 18, 2018

July 11,2018 3:50 p.m.

A business located on the 100 block of Central Avenue reports being the victim of a theft. Unknown actor came into the business and removed $2,200.00 worth of property.

July 12, 2018 2:40 a.m.

Danny Burke, age 32, of Edison, NJ was arrested for driving while intoxicated pursuant a motor vehicle stop. Subject was arrested, processed and released to a ...

Kid Make Their Own Pizza

July 21, 2018

Parents, looking for something special and fun for your kids on the weekend?

Emma's now hosting kids make their own pizza on the weekends. Also we are now booking kid parties!

IRS Working on a New Form 1040 for 2019 Tax Season

The IRS plans to streamline the Form 1040 into a shorter, simpler form for the 2019 tax season. The new 1040 – about half the size of the current version – would replace the current Form 1040 as well as the Form 1040A and the Form 1040EZ. 

 

This new approach will simplify the 1040 so that all 150 million taxpayers can use the same form. The new form ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 18

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll find out how accessing care at Atlantic Health System is now easier, more affordable and closer to home than ever, learn which item from the produce aisle could be the newest weapon against cancer, see what Atlantic Health System, the New York Times and Instagram all have in common and much more.

 

 

Picking up the Pieces – The Benefits of Account Consolidation

Over a lifetime of investing we often have numerous accounts located at different financial firms.  Rarely are these accounts managed with a grand plan that takes into account all the individual pieces.   Account proliferation can be detrimental to your investment performance, increase your risk profile, and lighten your pocketbook.  

Account consolidation offers the ...

Big Changes in Store for New Jersey’s Employers and Employees

Big changes are in store for New Jersey’s workplaces, with dramatic legislation aimed at improving conditions for New Jersey’s workers. These changes include the enactment of New Jersey’s Equal Pay Act, a new law to help the unemployed, and passage of New Jersey’s Paid Sick Leave Act. Most likely one or all these laws will impact you or someone in your family.

New ...

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...

26 Homes Sold July 8-15 in Westfield and Surrounding Towns

There were 26 homes sold between July 8 and July 15 in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Cranford and Mountainside`

TOWN          ADDRESS    STYLE            RMS   BRS BTH   GAR   Sale Price

Cranford  115  Bryant Ave ...

Dog Found in Garwood

UPDATE: Reunited with owner.

ORIGINAL POST: Dog found on Pine Avenue in Garwood. He was given food and water. Garwood police now has him. Sweet and friendly. Contact the Garwood Police Department.

It's Not What You Are Eating, It's What's Eating You

EMOTIONAL EATING: FEEDING YOUR FEELINGS

Emotional eating can be described as episodes of binge-eating, grazing and/or eating when not hungry to soothe feelings. Emotional eaters have a pattern of eating to cope with stress, emotional conflicts and problems of daily life.

Emotional eating is eating for reasons other than hunger. Instead of physical symptoms initiating the eating, ...

ELL Summer Experience at Westfield Public Schools

Westfield students representing six different languages recently enjoyed a weeklong summer camp focused on providing meaningful enrichment activities for students to continue their English language acquisition while having fun.

The ELL (English Language Learners) Summer Experience ran from July 9-13 at Wilson School, welcoming students in grades 1-4 whose native languages are Russian, ...

Westfield Area YMCA: Take Swim Lessions This Summer

The Westfield Area YMCA is providing a free one-week guest pass to non-members which will also enable access to purchase a week of swim lessons at full member rates during the summer.  The one-week guest pass includes use of the Y’s fitness facilities, land and water group exercise classes and open gym/swim.

“Our goal is to have people of all ages and skill levels grow to ...

Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper Welcomes Stephen A. Timoni to Firm

Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper P.C., announced that Stephen A. Timoni has joined the firm in its Westfield office. Stephen will focus his practice in the areas of Corporate and Health Care Law.

“Stephen brings additional depth and experience to our firm. He has tremendous experience in complex corporate, M&A and health care areas of practice. We anticipate that Stephen ...

Livingston Council Votes on Ordinance to Prohibit Vape Shops

July 19, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Concern about the increased use of electronic cigarettes and other vapor products were among the reasons why the Livingston Township Council adopted an ordinance prohibiting “vape shops,” or any establishment that primarily sells “electronic devices, liquid nicotine or vapor products,” in the township’s retail commercial ...

Obituaries

Eric Lieberman, 47, of Scotch Plains, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly Tuesday, May 22, 2018 ...
Read more