A local couple gives back by planning for the future

After moving to Winter Haven from New Jersey, Paul and Jean Cate quickly took to their new community.

Aside from being mayor and a city commissioner of Winter Haven, Mr. Cate was a board member of numerous nonprofits, including the Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce and United Way of Central Florida, and was a council member of the Community Foundation of Greater Winter Haven. Mrs. Cate was active with Lake Region Country Club, Keep Winter Haven Clean and Beautiful, and First Presbyterian Church. They were active advocates for their community and grew to be well-loved by those in the area.

“Jean and Paul Cate were the perfect example of a couple who retired to Winter Haven and completely embraced their community civically, socially and philanthropically,” said Bob Gernert, a former Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce Executive Director and a close friend to Paul and Jean. “Mentors for many and living life with gusto into their late eighties, they inspired many to community service and activism — always for the greater good.”

Paul and Jean wanted to ensure their support of their community would continue even after they passed away, so the couple set up a fund within the Community Foundation of Greater Winter Haven, now the GiveWell Community Foundation.

Their fund, the Paul and Jean Cate Charitable Endowment Fund, was designed by the couple to benefit nine nonprofits. Every year after the couple’s passing, these local nonprofits each receive a grant to help support the organizations’ missions. So far, the fund has given more than $1.2 million dollars since 2006.

That is the power of endowments – more than 10 years after their passing, the Cate’s legacy is living on through their generosity to the community they loved.