Paul and Lois Jordan: A Family Legacy

Paul Jordan was earning a medical degree and establishing a career in medicine back when his younger brother spent six summers studying violin, voice and piano at Interlochen Arts Camp. So it wasn’t until Paul and his wife Lois began sending their own children to Camp that they saw Interlochen for themselves. “All three of our children had great experiences,” Dr. Jordan said of their son and two daughters who attended Camp in the early 1960s.

By the mid-1960s the Jordans had joined a summer colony in Elk Rapids, about 35 miles northeast of Interlochen. This seasonal proximity allowed the family, settled in Texas, to remain engaged with Interlochen through the decades. One daughter returned to Camp as a counselor, and a granddaughter has attended Camp as well.

“We have seen a lot of changes at Interlochen,” remarks Dr. Jordan. “All for the better: the added arts disciplines, the new facilities, the landscape beautification. But as donors, our funds have not been earmarked for the physical plant.” In fact, the Jordans for many years were among those listeners who provide steady support to Interlochen Public Radio.

They have also long served as institutional advocates. “We tell people about Interlochen, bring them to campus,” Dr. Jordan relates. “They’re always very impressed, amazed, for instance, at how the Camp’s World Youth Symphony Orchestra can sound so professional in so short a time.”

After a visit to campus in the summer of 2007, the Jordans made a decision to significantly increase their commitment to Interlochen’s mission.

“Currently there is so much attention paid to individuals who make scads of money performing on stage but are not talented,” Dr. Jordan muses. “The emphasis in our society is too strongly focused on people who draw great crowds and make tons of money and have no talent at all. Our aim is to turn this around by fostering the kind of talent you find in Interlochen students. But while attracting top talent is important, our interest is in helping children who demonstrate talent but need help with the resources to attend.”

By establishing charitable gift annuity funds through Interlochen, the Jordans are doing just that. Earnings from these invested funds provide income that fuels scholarships.

Charitable gift annuities (CGAs), Dr. Jordan asserts, are a practical vehicle for carrying out long-term philanthropic goals. “Our resources have never been as great as we would like them to be,” he says. “I spent sixty years teaching medical students, so I never had the kind of practice that made enormous sums of money. For people who don’t have a great fortune, CGAs are a way to secure retirement funds and still leave a legacy. It’s a great way for both the institution and the donor to benefit.

“It works for Interlochen because the institution will get a sizable sum of money when we die, which Interlochen can utilize to provide scholarships to students who show promise and merit but who can’t take advantage of what Interlochen offers because of lack of means,” Dr. Jordan concludes.

“With funds for children’s arts programs decreasing, we must do what we can to perpetuate the arts. Our country needs to promote the arts in our children, and the best way to do that is with scholarships. If you think your modest gift is not important, be reminded: many modest gifts will eventually equal a substantial one and make a big difference.”