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Mother's legacy spurs siblings' charity

The Hunter-Durr Family

"When I was a child, philanthropy looked like a dress-up party," said Ann Durr, daughter of the late businesswoman and philanthropist Kathryn Hunter. "I remember going with my mom to Birnbaum's. They had this room with a giant chandelier and a pedestal, and that's where she would go to get an evening gown for a gala."

Ann's brother, David Hunter, remembers his mother as someone who "was either planning a party, enjoying a party, or both."

It wasn't until later that Ann, David and their brother, James, realized their mother wasn't just planning parties, but giving back to the community she loved.

John and Kathryn Hunter stressed the importance of philanthropy with their children. Ann remembers the family's afternoons on the lawn at Blossom Music Center reflecting on the area's abundance of educational and cultural resources.

Those resources required funding, but it wasn't until Ann was in high school that she experienced her "Aha!" moment.

"It was the first time I went to a Women's Network dinner," she said. "The woman was speaking about how her grandmother made three little bowls for her allowance that were labeled 'now,' 'later' and 'others,'" Ann said. "I got it. I realized I don't have to give everything away, and I don't have to save everything all the time, but there's a way to look at all three."

Ann and David also learned the importance of hard work. At age 16, both began their careers working in the family businesses, David at the family's title company and Ann at Valley Savings Bank. They remained heavily involved in the bank through the majority of their adulthood. 

Over the years, something became clear. "The next generation — Ann's children, my children and our brother James' children — had interests that were going in different directions," David said. 

In 2014 they sold the business to Westfield Bank, a larger, but still local institution. Their focus then turned to the lessons learned on summer lawns and dressing rooms. Both wanted to give back in a way that perpetuated their legacy and honored their mother's.

Ann and her husband, Jim, and David and his wife, Margaret, used a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Valley Savings Bank to devote to the "other" category – starting charitable funds at Akron Community Foundation that bear their family names. It allows them to offset taxes, keep their giving local, and pay homage to the parents who inspired them.

"Mom would always talk about counting your blessings," Ann said. "I look around now in the situation that we're in, and that's why we want to be able to provide a slice of our blessings to other people."

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