Margaret Zentner Fund for California's State Parks

Maura developed philanthropic values at a young age thanks to her parents’ involvement with the causes they loved. “As a family we would donate to nonprofits or volunteer at community events, and seeing the positive impact of these actions reinforced the value of them,” she recalls.

When her mother, Peggy, passed away from breast cancer in 2012, Maura and her father, Jim, turned to the Foundation to create a fund that would honor her memory. Peggy had recently retired from a dedicated career with the California Department
of Parks and Recreation.

“We wanted to honor her memory and her years of service, so I felt creating a fund with the Sacramento Region Community Foundation would be a great fit,” explains Jim. “Working together on this project would help the two of us to heal from her loss.”

Jim and Maura established the Margaret Zentner Fund for California’s State Parks. Together, they continue Peggy’s work by using the Fund to support the California State Parks Foundation. Each year, Jim and Maura meet with representatives from the California State Parks Foundation to deliver a gift from the Fund and hear directly what their dollars support.

Updates about projects that Peggy had worked on are especially meaningful. When asked what advice he has for parents who want to teach their children to be philanthropic, Jim responded that it’s never too early to make philanthropy a family value.

“My recommendation is to engage children at a young age,” he says. “Whether it’s setting aside a percentage of their allowance for their favorite nonprofit or bringing them along for a community workday, encouraging them to care for and support others will enrich lives for so many.”

Jim hopes Maura will continue supporting the Fund in the future and expand her own philanthropic interests. She was just 17 when her mother passed away, and her experience managing the Fund alongside her father has meant a great deal to Maura, as well. “It is so powerful to be able to do tangible good in her name,” she says. “It feels good to honor her memory together, and to continue her legacy.”


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