Expressing love through generosity

January 31, 2014




After long, full lives and 64 years of marriage, Carl Wagner and his wife Emma Belle are now gone. But their love for each other, for Baltimore, and for philanthropy lives on. 

In a 2009 interview, Carl talked about how he and his wife began to plan their legacies.  “I knew about BCF from its earliest times,” he said. “You’ve got to trust somebody, somewhere, sometime, and we decided to trust the judgment of BCF.” 

The couple’s generosity was historically far-reaching. “We were giving on a scatter-shot basis to a lot of organizations—all worthwhile, but they didn’t in total represent anything in particular,” he said. 

In the 1980s BCF helped the couple to narrow down their interests to make the greatest possible impact.  “We came up with half a dozen categories, including education and the arts. Then we filled in names of specific organizations, like the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.”

Carl credits BCF with making it easy to support the causes he and his wife loved. “If you don’t have millions of dollars to set up your own foundation, you can create a legacy at BCF, something permanent to carry out your wishes and help the Baltimore community,” he said. 

Today, the Emma Belle and Carl Wagner Fund still makes annual grants to the couple’s favorite causes – a love story that repeats each year. And will continue to do so – forever. 

Learn more about creating a legacy at the Baltimore Community Foundation

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