We had the honor of knowing Donald W. Hamer over the last two decades of his life. Don was a brilliant semi-conductor engineer, a successful businessman and a generous and compassionate philanthropist. Don’s willingness to help fund our community development and cultural heritage programming and flexibly provide general support was and continues to be instrumental to Via Foundation’s success.
With Don, financial support was much more than just signing a check. He wanted to know what kind of work we were doing and why. In 2002 he and his wife Marka Bednar took the time to visit a Via-supported project in Janov nad Nisou. There and repeatedly, he engaged us in conversation to better understand our work and share his approach to life and giving. He was always a keenly interested and astute listener.
It was through Marka that Don became deeply interested in the world on the east side of the Iron Curtain. Don always believed in the strength of civil society and although he knew that re-engaging communities weakened by almost 50 years of totalitarianism is a formidable task, he never waivered in his support and remained a source of inspiration to us.
We are grateful to Don for everything. Thank you.
Don Hamer passed away in summer 2016 but his smart questions, positive spirit and generosity will stay with us.