Giving Back: Tim and Sharon Ubben
“Our philosophy is giving while living,” says Tim Ubben, who along with his wife, Sharon, concentrates considerable donations on a limited number of nonprofits, so they remain meaningfully engaged in each one. “It’s very satisfying to actually see the benefits we may have brought to an organization, as opposed to a bequest, which is giving when you’re six feet under.”
The couple, originally from Glencoe, Illinois, became seasonal residents of Naples in 2000, but had been vacationing in the area since 1985.
Earlier this year, the couple presented a $10 million endowment gift to the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County, which serves 3,000 kids aged 6 to 18 in after-school programs. It was the largest donation in the history of the BGCCC.
“It’s so much more than just a place for kids to hang out after school and stay off the streets,” Tim says. “They offer one-on-one tutoring to supplement the public school education. There is a healthy lifestyle program that promotes exercise and nutrition, an arts program, and vocational training. It’s a needed organization in this community.”
The couple has been generously supporting the BGCCC since 2003, and Tim has served on the board since 2007.
“I’ve seen the evolution of this club during that period of time and have great respect for what it does,” he says. “I’ve also seen the need to provide some financial stability to this organization, as the club is taking on an expanded role in Immokalee.”
The return on the endowment will help fund a new building in Immokalee, support operations, and create a scholarship fund.
The Ubbens are also longtime charitable supporters of Artis—Naples, which Tim calls the “cultural gem of Southwest Florida.” Beyond the Sunshine State, the couple contributes to their alma mater, Depauw University, as well as the Posse Foundation, a youth organization in New York.
“While it probably won’t happen,” Tim says, “we’d love it if the last check we ever wrote was to the undertaker, and it bounced.”