James B. Blume ’63 and Kathryn W. Frank

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“Williams stands for the right things and does the right things.”

James Blume and Kathryn FrankFor Jim Blume, giving to Williams is a matter of the heart. “In general it’s hard for me to get excited about supporting an institution of any kind, but Williams is an amazing collection of people who’ve significantly enriched my life.”

Those people range from his former professors, James MacGregor Burns ’39 and Warren Ilchman, to his late classmate Tom Frank, whose sister Kathryn is Jim’s wife. They also include dozens of fellow students he met as Kappa Alpha president, Purple Key secretary, Gul business manager, Junior Advisor, as a member of Gargoyle and the Civil Rights Committee, and as class president. And he’s continued to nourish his extended Williams family as class secretary, associate agent, and on the 50th Reunion Fund Committee.

Jim also learned early on that “Williams stands for the right things and does the right things.” He came to believe in Williams’ values when, as president of the Intrafraternity Council, he worked with and admired people like President Jack Sawyer ’39 and trustee Talcott Banks ’28 through the challenges of phasing out fraternities.

An accomplished investment manager who graduated from Harvard Business School, Jim also has a doctorate in psychology, so his understanding of philanthropy spans the practical as well as the emotional. “Making my own 50th Reunion gift through a combination of outright and charitable remainder unitrust gifts helps me do what I want to do for Williams, while at the same time creating an income stream that helps secure future support for my wife, Kathryn.”

While the benefits of making a life-income gift are clear, Jim says the charitable impulse comes first: “I have a deeply held philosophy engendered by my father that I’ve been fortunate, and it is critically important to me to give back.”(Giftwise Spring 2013)