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Some people in Pinal County, like those across the country, volunteer their time, and often their dollars, to support community organizations. This is something they enjoy doing, especially during retirement but not just then. Those efforts provide a good deal of what is available to the public in the arts, especially in smaller communities.

The organizations sometimes get government money, but they mostly exist on the goodwill and generosity of members and other supporters. Some of those groups in Casa Grande have received a bonanza that was announced this week from the estate of a deceased Casa Grande couple, Claire and Don Davis. They left half a million dollars to five organizations, one of which is a Catholic religious order that Claire was a part of as a nun when she was younger. The others are based in Casa Grande: BlackBox Foundation (which supports theater), Friends of the Casa Grande Public Library, Casa Grande Friends of the Arts (which runs the Casa Grande Art Museum) and Strings of the Sonoran (which supports instruction in string instruments).

Some of these organizations have been around for decades and some are newer. However, many people have volunteered and donated to start them and keep them going. They all support the arts and culture in the Casa Grande area.

Claire Davis was a teacher, counselor and elementary school principal who died in March. Her husband, Don, was a World War II veteran, teacher, college professor and behavioral health administrator who died in 2007. Both had extensive involvement in volunteer work and contributed to various organizations while they were living. They decided to make a major contribution after they were gone.

Most communities benefit indefinitely from the generosity of people long gone, and most residents don’t even know who they were. The Davises worked to make their town and world a better place, and they certainly did that.

— Donovan Kramer Jr.

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