The William & Saundra Stout Charitable Fund (permanent) and the William & Saundra Stout Charitable Fund II (pass-through) were created in 2010 as a means for the Stouts to support some of their favorite charitable causes. Specific charities have been designated to receive grants from the fund when the Stouts are no longer able to make recommendations.
William and Saundra Stout were raised in neighboring, close-knit towns in Washington County (Sandy in Ellsworth and Bill in Bentleyville) during the Baby Boom era. Sandy’s dad was a coal miner, and Bill’s, as the founder of Atlas Railroad Construction, was a school-teacher-turned-businessman. Both had stay-at-home mothers. Part of the mindset of their parents’ generation was the idea that through hard work and a quality education, their children could do a little better in life than they did.
Bill graduated from Washington & Jefferson College with a liberal arts degree. Sandy earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from California University of Pennsylvania (now PennWest California) and later attended the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned a doctorate in administration and policy studies, her certification in curriculum supervision, and both a principal’s and a superintendent’s letter of eligibility.
Both of the Stouts had the potential to go anywhere and do anything, but their deep roots in the community swayed them to settle close to home. While Sandy came to be known as an expert in education (including pioneering a day-long kindergarten program for four-year-olds in Allegheny County that was the first in the state), Bill helped to transform his family’s “small enterprise” into a nationally recognized business. His career culminated in 1986 when he assumed the role of President and owner of Atlas. He remained in this leadership position until the company was acquired by RailAmerica Inc. in 2010. Looking back on the evolution of the business, Bill believes that the culture of the area helped Atlas to thrive, and for that, he is truly grateful.
“I really feel the people here are special…they have the kind of values we respect, like honesty, integrity, and a sense of duty.” In Bill’s eyes, his employees will always be extended family. Rich in spirit, family, and faith, the Stouts have been committed to giving back to the community that has done so much for them. Just a few of their passions include maintaining a high caliber of healthcare in the region, engaging in Christian outreach initiatives, promoting the arts, helping animals, and supporting the next generation of teachers through scholarships (a cause that is particularly dear to them both). “I feel blessed in my life. Whatever I can do to help someone else, I will,” Sandy stated.
When the couple was in a position to make a significant contribution to our region, they searched for a vehicle that could best achieve their objectives.
“After selling the company, we had to make some decisions about what we wanted to do about the charities we support,” Bill stated. “We knew we wanted our gift to be used in this area. What we’ve made of our lives, we did locally...Friends of ours who had connections to the Community Foundation suggested we look into it. We had heard its reputation was very good, and most importantly, we learned that through the WCCF we could create a fund to help all our favorite causes in this community.”
“We’re connected to the people of this area…the people who have helped us,” Bill said. And through their funds at the WCCF, the Stouts have created an opportunity to touch many local lives, solidifying a lasting connection with this region they are so proud to call “home."