Guest Blogger: Kurt Geisheimer, Lakeside Chautauqua Foundation Board Member

I think you will agree that Lakeside has affected the course of our lives in many ways. It strengthens our connection to friends, family, spouses and children. It encourages us to be the best version of ourselves and nurtures our minds, our bodies and our spirits. Lakeside offers us all a gift to slow down and reconnect with our loved ones.

The Lakeside Chautauqua experience is unique. At Lakeside, strangers become cherished friends, and children become quick companions. It brings families together and even creates new ones.

For us, Lakeside is about our family. I don’t know how we could all get together in the summers without our Lakeside home. It’s a gathering place for our extended family, and even our friends. You find so many fresh and unanticipated connections when you reach out to the people around you. The result is a network of people that becomes a big part of your life.

Bridging the gap between our historic traditions and contemporary family life, and securing the future while maintaining our mission and vision is extremely important. If we can continue to meet the needs of today’s families, Lakeside will remain a vibrant and thriving community.

The Lakeside Endowment is one important vehicle to accomplish this. Years ago, Lakeside’s leadership set aside money to begin the first endowment fund. My wife, Debby, and I want to help keep Lakeside relevant and thriving. We want to leave our Chautauqua better off when we pass it on than it was when we inherited it.

Today, the Lakeside Endowment is about $5.5 million, which is small for a 143-year-old community. The vision of building a larger endowment remains extremely critical for Lakeside’s future.

Each year, a percentage of the earnings from the Lakeside Endowment are drawn to support the Chautauqua program and the preservation of many historic buildings. The endowment funds only 2% of our annual cost of operations, roughly contributing $130,000 to the approximate $7 million budget.

It falls on us to pass on the unique Lakeside experience. We ask that you join us and many other families planning a gift to ensure that future generations will be able to share the Lakeside experience.

You can plan a legacy gift by naming Lakeside as a beneficiary in an estate, IRA or life insurance policy. In addition, you can benefit in many ways by reducing income tax, avoiding capital-gains tax or reducing or eliminating state or federal estate taxes.

During this summer, the Lakeside Chautauqua Foundation Board has planned opportunities so that we can celebrate the generous gifts that are being given or planned by individuals and families. On Wednesday, Aug. 3, we will gather on Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile with those who are members of the Founders Society.

If you haven’t given or planned a gift already, I invite you to complete a Bequest Notification Form available at or contact Gretchen Colon, Senior V.P. of Advancement & Communications, at or (419) 798-5396 to discuss the endowment.

Thank you for your consistent love, devotion to and support of Lakeside Chautauqua.