A natural athlete, Carter Giese excelled at numerous sports, including hockey, tennis and golf. But it was his sportsmanship and compassion for others that his parents, Charlie and Linda Giese, say really made him shine.
“He wasn’t that competitive,” says Linda Giese. “He just wanted to play, and he played for the team.”
In 2013 and on the cusp of receiving his bachelor’s degree, Carter died in a car crash, leaving his family and members of the Dubuque community heartbroken. Today, his parents honor his memory by giving back.
Through the Community Foundation, the Gieses’ family and friends established the Carter R. Giese Endowment Fund, enabling them to support sports and recreational experiences for local children and teens. Their passion is for programs that instill the values Carter exemplified, which is why they have supported initiatives like assistance for youth hockey players and free golf lessons for underprivileged youth.
“The Community Foundation knows the needs that exist in Dubuque. We’ve worked with them to help provide positive experiences for children who might not have the same opportunities as Carter,” says Charlie Giese.
Among the organizations the Gieses have supported is the Dream Center, an anchor of Dubuque’s Washington Neighborhood that provides programming to strengthen families and improve academic achievement.
The center aims to boost proficiency in math and reading—and extracurricular activities like athletics keep students motivated. They also teach interpersonal skills and offer opportunities that families might not otherwise be able to afford.
Thanks to funding from the Gieses, the Dream Center purchased basketball uniforms—each carrying Carter’s name—that have instilled pride in young athletes, the Giese family and the broader community.
“They are so much more than jerseys,” says Racquel McClellan, the center’s donor relations coordinator. “It makes students feel they are a true team and part of a community. And they feel proud to honor Carter and his family.”
For the Gieses, the ability to make such an impact in Carter’s name is the true benefit of the fund. Because the endowment will pay out annually, forever, they are confident Carter’s passion for life will always be felt in Dubuque.
“Thanks to the guidance of the Community Foundation, I feel like his name will go on forever,” says Linda Giese. “Thank you to all our family and friends who continue to support Carter’s foundation. Without you, this impact wouldn’t be possible.”