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Benton County Community Foundation
June 1, 2017

Phil and Phyllis Borleske had never owned a home, but when Phil, a Lutheran pastor, retired, he and his wife put down roots in Vinton, Iowa. “After looking for a year and a half for a house, my wife suggested Vinton. I said, ‘Why would we move to Vinton? We don’t know anybody there.’ We came to love Vinton very much. I am home,” said Phil. 


Phil and Phyllis enjoyed retired life, traveling and visiting their three children and grandchildren. Sadly, Phyllis passed away in 2012 after a six-and-a-half year battle with cancer, but Phil continues to live in a way his late wife would have wanted him to, filled with faith, travel, and volunteerism. 


One of Phil’s volunteer commitments is as a member of the governing committee of the Benton County Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa. In that role, Phil saw the wide-variety of needs in the community and decided to start the Philip and Phyllis Borleske Community Impact Fund, a discretionary fund with the Foundation. “You know, we were never rich, but we were able to save and it put us in a good position by the time we retired,” said Phil. “For both of us, our faith has been a big commitment in our life and so with our faith, we are able to help other people, help other causes, and be as generous as possible.”


Phil thinks Phyllis would have approved of his decision to start the fund that provides additional dollars to the Benton County Community Foundation committee during the grantmaking process. “I think this would have been along the line of what is a deep commitment for the both of us. I’m sure Phyllis would have been delighted and pleased that we were able to do this,” said Phil. As the needs of communities increase, unrestricted dollars like those from Phil and Phyllis’ fund give local Community Foundation volunteers the ability to make more grants to fill the gaps.


Giving generously to meet community needs is something Phil believes in. “I don’t lack for anything I need personally,” said Phil. “It’s fun to give away money to various causes either through the Benton County Community Foundation or just outright gifts throughout the year. Why not?”