The Legacy

The mission of the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation is to support and enrich the cultural, social and economic life of Greater Kalamazoo

Irving S. Gilmore demonstrated a sincere commitment to Kalamazoo through his caring, kindness and support. In simple, elegant ways, Mr. Gilmore inspired the community to pursue a strong sense of social and cultural awareness for the benefit of all people.

A uniquely multifaceted individual, Mr. Gilmore was a merchant, an arts patron, a concert-quality pianist, a business leader and a military veteran. He was also a gentle man with a dry sense of humor who showed heartfelt compassion for others around him. Throughout his life, Mr. Gilmore helped by sharing his good fortune with others less fortunate.

Mr. Gilmore shunned the spotlight, preferring instead to contribute in a quiet, dignified manner. He showed his concern through frequent and often anonymous gifts that addressed a wide range of needs. In addition to sharing numerous financial gifts with the community, he worked to help others gain the skills needed to help themselves.

Mr. Gilmore found his greatest joy in the arts, for which he showed unwavering support. He not only helped gifted individuals express their unique talents, but encouraged others to support the creative expressions of the human spirit as both artists and audience. He knew that cultural and performing arts needed support to grow. He also knew that the arts offered powerful instrumental benefits. Indeed, Mr. Gilmore understood that the arts catalyze imaginative practices in and across community sectors.

Looking ahead, Mr. Gilmore wanted to provide for his community in perpetuity, ensuring that his special personal philanthropy would live on. In 1972, Mr. Gilmore established the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation and arranged for it to receive the bulk of his estate upon his death. Mr. Gilmore passed away in 1986 at the age of 85, leaving Kalamazoo a wonderful legacy.

Just as he encouraged others to unlock their own potential, today the Foundation funds key organizations that help unlock the community’s potential. Through the Foundation that bears his name, Mr. Gilmore’s commitment to the people of the Kalamazoo community lives on.