Lou Deleguardia served in the Navy, studied culinary arts, and even owned a motorcycle shop. But an interest in financial management kept resurfacing and led Lou to a career as a financial advisor.
His interest in the field was inspired in part by the difficult experience of settling his father’s estate. He and his siblings were all young adults when their father passed away without a will or estate plan. “I thought, ‘There has to be a better way,’” said Lou.
Several years later, a job opening in investment and financial management piqued his interest and he took advantage of the opportunity.
“Sometimes there are roadblocks—you don’t see the path, then all of a sudden a door opens up,” Lou remarked. Of his now-career, he said, “I get to help people. It’s been pretty rewarding.”
Through his work, Lou was aware of the Community Foundation as a resource for local giving. He decided to get involved, first by naming the Community Foundation in his own estate plan and then by creating a fund through the Build-A-Fund program. With those two steps, Lou also became one of the newest members of Our Next 75.
Lou’s field of interest fund will support recreation programs in Newaygo County, especially those for youth. His own hometown in New York state had a robust recreation program and a large park that housed sports fields, a teen center, community gardens, and more. Knowing how important those programs were to him and others, Lou wants to help provide similar opportunities for his neighbors here.
“These programs are training for life,” he said, noting that sports and other activities help kids learn about teamwork, find mentors, and cultivate positive habits.
In addition to supporting valuable opportunities for others, Lou sees his fund as a way to thank the community that welcomed him.
“With a fund at the Community Foundation, I can touch a lot more people than I could on my own,” he said. “I’ve been blessed here, and I want to give back.”