Merry and Jim Mosbacher Q&A
To whom much is given, much is expected.
Or, as Merry and Jim Mosbacher would say: “To those who give, you get much back.” Philanthropy, they say, is part of who they are.
Together, they’ve found their passion in community involvement and made it a way of life. With more than two decades of volunteer experience with United Way, the Mosbachers are looking forward to leading the de Tocqueville Society campaign as its 2019 co-chairs.
We sat down with the Mosbachers to learn about what inspires them to continue being hand raisers for our community.
Do you remember the first time you gave back to the community or volunteered?
MERRY: I grew up in a household of giving back – mostly through church, and I was a Girl Scout as a young girl. Community service was just part of our family life.
JIM: I was a freshman at Saint Louis University and someone approached me because they knew I played soccer and asked if I would be willing to coach a grade school soccer team at St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf. I initially said, “No, I’m not interested,” but I got talked into going just once. I got hooked and it led to me coaching there for 13 years. We’ve now been involved with that organization for over 40 years.
Why do you feel it’s so important to volunteer your time?
MERRY: We all have skills and knowledge that can be applied in a way to help others. By partnering with nonprofit organizations, we can apply those skills differently than we do in our day-to-day world. I’m helping organizations by bringing those skills to the table, but these experiences also help me grow as a leader because I’m stretching myself to deal with situations that are different from what I would normally encounter.
JIM: We’ve always been doers and active in our community, rather than just writing a check. Our engagement is important to us.
How do you choose which causes to support and how to invest your time?
JIM: We have a lot of discussions about what are the areas that we want to be involved in. We’ve zeroed in on what’s important to us over the years, and it really comes down to community, arts and education, and then there will be special projects – things that hit us that we didn’t know we’d be attracted to.
MERRY: Another thing is that we feel we’ve been blessed with so much and have an obligation to give back. We both came from fairly humble beginnings. When you align your time, talent, and treasure with what you’re passionate about, you experience a sense of gratitude. It feels really good to give. And that’s what we want to inspire everyone to do – find those causes where you feel you can make a difference and that align with who you are, and then get involved.
JIM: You’ve heard the saying “give until it hurts”? We think it’s “give until it feels really good.”
How do the two of you encourage each other to stay involved and give back to the community?
MERRY: There’s no need to encourage each other. If anything, we’re reining back. We’re both active and we support each other. One of the reasons we have really enjoyed United Way is that it enables us to work together as a couple.
JIM: At this point, I’d say it’s pretty much ingrained in what we do, and it’s an everyday discussion. That’s how important it is. Once you get the mindset that you need to give back, it just comes up a lot.
What inspires you to be a de Tocqueville member?
JIM: The ability to give back to the community and make it a little bit better each year. We want to spread that message more and more. We see all the good things happening in St. Louis; and yes, we have our challenges, but United Way is helping us work on those challenges within the community.
MERRY: We know United Way is a good steward of our dollars and will allocate them to organizations that are making an impact across the metro area. In addition to helping the broader St. Louis community, we also want to be role models and inspire others to step up and join us.
What’s the first piece of advice you’d give to a new de Tocqueville member?
JIM: Share your “why”. Why did you get involved? Find out what the why is for other people and help promote de Tocqueville not just today but for the rest of your life. Make this a passion of yours and make yourself an extension of United Way.
MERRY: People should feel really good about the difference they’re making in the St. Louis metro area, and they should take advantage of the opportunities and benefits they receive as a de Tocqueville member.
How do you recharge/inspire yourself/what do you do when you’re not working?
MERRY: We love to travel. I’m a constant learner – I enjoy the exposure to different cultures and people because it helps us realize the world is a really small place and there are good people doing good things everywhere.
JIM: We also love sporting events and the arts. We have season tickets to most of those, and that’s what keeps us active and energized.
What do you love most about the St. Louis community?
MERRY: It’s an amazing metro area where we have a rich history, a broad arts culture, strong educational institutions and great sports. As a resident, the St. Louis area offers us an incredible array of options, and the people are so generous.
JIM: We’re often asked, “Where else do you own a home?” or “Where do you want to retire to?” Our answer is always the same. We don’t own any other homes; we love to travel, but St. Louis will always be our home. We don’t plan on moving any place else. Why would we? I think because of our involvement in the community, we’re so passionate about it, how could we walk away from that? We can’t. That’s a part of what we do.