Donation of farm land gives opportunity to grow family's charitable legacy

As a child, Marianne Ivey remembers wading in a small stream and admiring the webs of garden spiders under willow trees on her family's farm land along County Road E in Omro. Her father, Bert Formiller, taught her to love this land, where she and generations of her mother's family were raised. The stream and willows were such a special memory, Marianne had an Oshkosh artist create a painting of them. "I always will find a place for it, wherever we live," says Marianne.

Life is about change. With the passing of Marianne's mother, Virginia Formiller in 2008, a few decisions were left to be made. She and her brother John, each with careers and children in other states, were unlikely to return to the family homestead. With careful planning and expert advice, the land was gifted to the Foundation and later was sold to a local farming family. The proceeds from the sale created the Marianne and Tom Ivey Charitable Fund, a Donor Advised Fund.

This common form of charitable giving allows the donor to lessen their income tax while providing an opportunity to give back to their community. The expert advice from attorneys, advisors and the Foundation was helpful, Marianne says, though it was still difficult to let the property go.

"I encourage other people to think about donating land or property, and to get expert help. (OACF) was very helpful ... there often is no road map to what you wish to do and you have to work it out together."
– Marianne Ivey

Her parents' families have deep roots in the Oshkosh area. Bert, a World War II veteran and recipient of the Purple Heart, purchased the farm from Virginia's father, William Sipple. The land abstract shows that William and his brother John purchased the property from their mother, Marianne says.

Bert's family lived in the Berlin and Winneconne area, where there is a road bearing the Formiller name.

"I believe in giving back and I think my mother certainly did. She took the first step," says Marianne.
"We will continue to honor what has been important to our family for a long time."

Virginia Formiller paved the family's path in philanthropy years before the land was gifted when she created the Virginia Formiller Family Scholarship, which benefits Omro High School students entering education, health care or social service fields. Virginia was a beloved educator for 40 years in Oshkosh and Omro.

"My mother was a dedicated educator," says Marianne. "She really cared for her students and they for her. I think some of her students depended on her for advice and as a stable adult in their lives when things were hectic in their own homes."

Virginia emphasized the importance of education to her children.

Marianne and John both achieved college degrees – Marianne becoming a pharmacist and John a social worker.

Marianne, now retired, and her husband, Tom, a retired physician, plan to use their charitable fund to honor their family's values.

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