From WYCF’s Spring 2018 Newsletter

In November of 2014, Kevin and Anne McGowan received the worst possible news. Their 21-year-old son, Joe, lost his life while attempting to break up a fight.

You can imagine, the event shook the McGowan family to the core.

As Kevin and Anne grieved, they also made a decision. Something positive needed to be done to honor their youngest son.

For the McGowans it was important to support Joe and his passions, even after he passed. To do this, they set up a Donor Advised Fund with the Wyoming Community Foundation.

Creating a fund “was a way for something good to come out of this tragedy,” says Kevin. “To work through the grief.”

The McGowans were able to act in, what felt like, a helpless situation. And when others asked what they could do to help, the couple was now able to give an answer that created positive impact: Give to Joe’s fund.

Joe’s Legacy

So many in Lander remember Joe for the amazing young man he was. His endowment fund will let future generations – those who never knew Joe – learn about him as well. Each grant Joe’s family makes will reflect one of his many passions.

Because of your support, the Wyoming Community Foundation has the capacity to work with the McGowans, and others who have created funds, to give back to what Joe loved. So far, the fund has granted to the Lander Nordic Ski Association and Lander Art Center.

“For the whole family, it feels like we’re doing something to honor Joe’s name,” Kevin says.

The events of that tragic night can never be undone, but Anne, Kevin, and Joe’s older brother Patrick are courageously moving forward. “People need to know how he passed,” says Kevin, “but more importantly, how he lived” – with gusto and a love of life that will continue to
be honored.

Joe’s Fund at Work

Joe was a talented artist. He’d be pleased to see that the Lander Art Center was able to buy art supplies because of money received from his fund.

The McGowans are keeping Joe connected to art in another way as well: The Lander Art Center will be hosting a retrospective of his artwork on September 7th.

“It will be an emotional reception,” says Stacy Stebner, Director of LAC. “It’s really incredible because so many people knew Joe and know the McGowans.”