June 2024

Koenig InvestmentFor Jeff and Alexi McCullough, family and community are what matters the most. Shortly before their marriage in 2015, they decided to move to Ashland and start a family. Alexi, an Ashland native, knew it was the perfect place to raise children. Jeff, a financial advisor and owner of Koenig Investment Advisory, moved his office from Medford to Ashland in 2023 to better support the community organizations they are involved in, and to be close to their kids’ activities, their favorite of which is swimming. 

A love for water sports runs in the family. Alexi’s father, Chuck Butler, was not only a well-known businessman, philanthropist, and volunteer, he was also a sports enthusiast who had a passion for aquatics and a long history of supporting youth swimming and water polo programs in Ashland.

After Chuck’s passing in the spring of 2023, Alexi knew they wanted to honor her father and continue his legacy while also making a long-lasting impact on the health and safety of the children in their community. 

Through a gift of appreciated stock made to the Ashland Community Health Foundation, Jeff and Alexi established the Chuck Butler Memorial Aquatics Endowment. Funds from the endowment will help support direct services, new program development, or facilities that make it possible to provide water sports and activities to youth in Ashland, Talent, and Phoenix. “This endowment is a reflection of my father’s love of our community and his enthusiasm for youth aquatics,” Alexi said. “It is a beautiful way to honor his generous spirit.”

Jeff serves as board president of the Ashland Community Health Foundation, which manages the endowment and oversees the investment of funds in local programs. The foundation’s focus is on advancing health and well-being in a range of settings throughout Ashland, Talent, and Phoenix. The organization funds and fosters local, innovative health-related initiatives that benefit the communities it serves. They also emphasize efforts to improve access to essential health services for those who face barriers to care, as well as focusing on the health and well-being of the community.

“It’s so important for kids to build lifelong water safety skills, not to mention the health benefits water sports provide,” Jeff says. “We’d love to see a thriving aquatics community with accessible and seamless programming from first-time swimmers to high school swim teams and water polo. We want to remove any financial or access barriers families may face so that every child who wants to learn how to swim and participate in aquatic activities can do so.” 

While researching how to best utilize the funds from the endowment, staff at the Ashland Community Health Foundation learned that one of the barriers to swim lessons for youth is due to the shortage of swim instructors in the area, which limits the number of kids who can take lessons at any given time. Local swim programs often have a lengthy waitlist of families hoping to sign their children up for lessons.

The Ashland Family YMCA and the Ashland Community Health Foundation recently partnered to address this shortage and increase swim lesson capacity. Using funds from the endowment, the Ashland Family YMCA will host two Water Safety Instructor Classes, creating a pool of newly trained swim instructors which will increase swim lesson enrollment. These classes will benefit not only the Ashland Family YMCA, but other neighboring pools in the Rogue Valley. 

“It is exactly the sort of innovative program our community needs,” says Alexi. “It will open up space for potentially hundreds of children to sign up for lessons. As we continue to grow the endowment, we’re excited to see more opportunities like this created for kids to have fun and stay safe in the water.” 

For more information about the Chuck Butler Memorial Aquatics Endowment and how to support a thriving aquatics community in Ashland, contact Stephanie Roland, Executive Director of the Ashland Community Health Foundation at (541)482-0367 x2.