October 22, 2019Donor Stories

A Career of Giving

Geri Polvino has always been a trailblazer.

When she was in high school, her parents gave Geri and her sister a choice: they could pay for a wedding or college, but they could not afford to do both. Geri’s sister chose the wedding; Geri chose college. She was the first in her extended family to attend.

“My parents received a lot of pushback from relatives who thought it was foolish to send a girl to college,” said Geri. “They believed girls would never use their education.”

Geri earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York at Brockport, a Masters in Education with an emphasis in sports science from Eastern Kentucky University, and later, a PhD from the University of Iowa.

Geri joined EKU’s Department of Physical Education, Health & Recreation faculty in 1966. She took over the successful women’s volleyball team from Coach Millie Maupin.

“I wanted to coach softball,” Geri said, “but EKU didn’t have a women’s softball team at the time. The university thought softball was ‘too rough’ for girls.”

After receiving her PhD in 1970, Geri was promoted to full professor at EKU and continued working with the women’s volleyball team. The Colonels won nine conference championships and eight combined league tournament titles, and graduated over 525 alumnae under Geri’s leadership.

Geri became world-famous for her contributions to the sport. In 1984, she was the first certified female coach instructor to be inducted into the prestigious International Volleyball Federation.

Geri’s goal as a coach always included going “beyond winning.” In addition to athletic excellence, she made sure her players also pursued and achieved academic excellence. Using the medium of volleyball, Geri made it possible for young women to pursue larger opportunities.

After Geri retired from EKU in 1997, she embarked on a new career as a financial advisor for Edward Jones. She now helps clients identify and reach their long-term financial goals.

Geri has given careful thought to the legacy she wants to leave.

“The Community Foundation helped me clarify my goals and what I want my impact to be,” she said. “BGCF’s expertise and personalized solutions perfectly align with how I serve my own clients.”

At BGCF, Geri established the Dr. Geri Polvino, Russell, Josephine & Mary Family Scholarship Fund — named after her family in appreciation for the opportunity to pursue an education.

The scholarship will benefit female graduating seniors from Fayette, Jessamine or Madison County, with preference given to first-generation college students who demonstrate significant academic improvement during high school. Geri is funding the scholarship with IRA charitable rollover contributions during her lifetime and will enhance it after her lifetime with an estate gift.

Geri also established a BGCF Donor Advised Fund to simplify her current giving. Gifts of highly appreciated stock allow Geri to maximize her giving power while minimizing her taxes.

“I’m delighted with the ease and convenience of organizing my charitable giving through the Community Foundation,” she said. “Now, I happily recommend BGCF to my friends and clients who want to leave a meaningful legacy.”

To learn how BGCF can help you establish a charitable legacy aligned with your goals, contact Lisa Adkins, President/CEO, at 859.225.3343