Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation > <b>Give</b> Current & Future Donors > Donor Stories > Francoise Kelz

Francoise kelz: a 'natural' philanthropist

A surprise gift from a beloved relative has allowed Francoise Kelz to expand her lifelong practice of helping other people.


Francoise's Uncle 'Charlie' was for decades a waiter at the '21' Club, the famous New York City restaurant and lounge. With no children of his own, Charlie left Francoise his estate when he died.

Long a fixture in the Sharon community, Francoise established the C. and F. Kelz Fund last year to support her most cherished institutions in the area, including religious and preservation organizations and favorite schools.

Francoise learned early on the value of an education, especially for girls. "My maternal grandmother had been cheated out of an education years ago," she says. "When her brothers were sent off to school, she was sent to work at a nearby farm in Normandy. So she vowed that if she had daughters, she would give them the best education and the best opportunities that she could. And so she did."

Through her donor advised fund, Francoise is extending that legacy, with two modern - and notable - twists. Because she has arranged a planned gift to her fund, it will become endowed and her giving will go on after her lifetime. Also, the gifts she makes from it are unrestricted, so the organizations she loves have the flexibility to seize new opportunities, strengthen existing programs or meet unexpected financial needs.

“It's a nice thing to be able to reach out and help the community," she says. "We should all be natural philanthropists. And it's what Charlie would have wanted."

Francoise Kelz
Antonio Pieropan
Antonio Pieropan
Antonio (left) and Albert (right) Pieropan