Between running Fox Head Inc., which they founded in 1974, and raising four kids, Geoff and Josie Fox had limited resources for philanthropy. But that changed in 2014 when they retired after 40 years of selling motocross clothing and sportswear on a global scale. It was time, they decided, to give back.
They had turned to Community Foundation Silicon Valley in 2002, which merged with Peninsula Community Foundation in 2007 to form Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF). In the 15 years since they created their donor advised fund, their philanthropic goals have evolved.
Josie Fox at St. Patrick’s Cemetery Chapel, Madison, Indiana. The chapel was built in 1877 and restored in 2007 with help from Josie and her husband, Geoff Fox.
They have given back to the schools they have attended, including St. Edward’s High School in Elgin, Illinois, Bellarmine College Preparatory and Santa Clara University, which Geoff attended, and Burris Elementary and Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, which Josie attended. The two met as graduate students at University of Wisconsin at Madison, where she was studying art history and he was working on a physics PhD.
“We focus on education with an emphasis on faith-based schools and we’ve become active in conservation, both environmental and historic preservation and restoration,” says Geoff Fox. “We visit sites and talk with the representatives at the various projects we’re interested in. We like to be involved. That’s key to making good decisions.”
In 2005 while visiting Madison, Indiana, Josie noticed that St. Patrick’s Chapel needed restoration. Since Josie's ancestors are buried in the cemetery, the couple decided to restore the 19th-century chapel. “I consulted with a local planner and hired a contractor,” says Josie. “In 2007 the chapel was rededicated and now holds annual prayer services for the community. Students from schools across the street sign up for maintenance projects, such as restoring the cemetery headstones, cleaning the chapel and cutting grass."
Josie with her great-great grandparents' headstones,
St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Madison, Indiana, 2016.
In addition, Geoff and Josie support various Indiana Land Trusts and the Knobstone Trail Hiking Association, a trail-building association. In 2012 they donated 16 acres to a local land trust in Josie’s hometown of Muncie, Indiana. Currently they’re funding development of the expanded 31-acre site, the largest nature preserve in Muncie open to the public.
"Because land trusts bring in school groups for field study, restoring the native prairie and wood lots provide a healthy retreat from commercial development," Josie says.
Josie Fox with a shirt commemorating the work of the Knobstone Trail Hiking Association.
Science education projects at University of Wisconsin at Madison, Santa Clara University and Ball State University are also on the agenda. For example, Geoff and his brother Bob recently funded the restoration of the science lab at St. Edward’s High School in Elgin, Illinois.
The couple also has spent a month annually for the past decade in Freiburg, Germany, helping to shepherd Santa Clara University students through the University of Freiburg’s 106-year-old German language summer program. Josie and Geoff have been contributing to restoration of Freiburg’s nearly 700-year-old Gothic cathedral since 2003.
“The nice thing,” says Geoff, “is that SVCF takes care of all the legal requirements and administration. It makes it easy for us to accomplish our goals and concentrate on who we are working with. We love it."
For information about creating a donor advised fund at SVCF, please contact us at email@example.com, or 650.450.5444.