Stories of Meaningful Change


Stories from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.

Rob Houghton: One of Clio’s Biggest Fans

Rob Houghton and Wife

You would be hard-pressed to find a more loyal Clio fan than Robert "Rob" Houghton, a life-long resident whose local roots run deep. His grandfather came to Clio in 1885, later starting a grain elevator business that was eventually operated by Rob's father.

"I've always lived here," Rob says. "I feel I've been a very fortunate person to be born into the family that I was and being born in Clio. Clio has been very good to our family over the years."

Rob has been good to Clio too. As a professional advisor, he encourages his clients to remember the community in their estate plans through a variety of charitable giving options. He personally supports the community through service and giving, and co-founded the Clio Area Community Fund.

"Prior to getting involved with the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, there was a group of people looking to start their own foundation for the community," Rob said. "We found out what was involved with government reporting, etc. and sought advice from Clio Mayor Alice Boyse who was serving on the Flint board."

In 1991, the Clio Area Community Fund was established with gifts from individuals in the community at the Community Foundation. Rob recalls at the same time, the Kellogg Foundation was offering a $125,000 challenge grant to establish youth program funds to encourage philanthropy with young people. But how would they raise the matching funds?

Rob recalls the generosity of Harold and Charles Boyse. Their sister Alice had since passed away and left her estate to her brothers. Knowing how much Alice loved the Clio community, Harold and Charles gave a portion of her estate to establish the Alice L. Boyse Community Fund.

"This estate gift helped leverage the Kellogg youth grant," Rob said. "If it wasn't for their generosity, we wouldn't have been able to start the Clio Youth Initiative Program. And we were also able to make grants sooner than later for the arts, parks and beautification-all the things Alice loved about this community."

Charitable giving is a win-win situation for the right person, Rob says. Typically, someone who wants to leave a legacy for the community is someone who is always doing things through involvement on committees and organizations, and seeing that things happen.

"The beauty of the Community Foundation is that your gift is here for good, forever," says Rob. "Your gift continues to provide income which is then used for grantmaking as the principal is never spent. The first dollars that came in 20 years ago are still there as are the donations made since then. Grants are being made today for things that weren't even thought of 20 years ago, which is another plus of the Community Foundation."

When someone makes a gift to the Clio Area Community Fund, they have the assurance that their contributions are being overseen by a group of people in Clio that care very deeply about the community, adds Rob. "The endowment will be there forever."

After the deaths of his dad (Dick) five years ago and then his brother (Fred) three months later, Rob decided it was time for him to slow down from some of his community involvement. He still remains a member of the Clio Rotary Club and serves as chairperson of the finance committee at Bethany United Methodist Church.

Rob and his wife, Sue, have two daughters who live in Midland with their spouses and children.