With intention and commitment, Harriet and Locke Macomber dedicated themselves to organizations in our community they truly loved. Throughout their over 40 years of marriage, the couple was active in organizations which started in this community, expanded in this community and now live on in this community. Together they were engaged participants for decades in leadership roles with many nonprofits, including the Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines Symphony, Drake University, Orchard Place, YMCA of Greater Des Moines, United Way of Central Iowa, the BWA Foundation and their church, St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral.
After Locke’s passing in 1998, Harriet continued to be a loyal follower and patron of the organizations they enjoyed. She also began to work with the Community Foundation to plan for what would become the couple’s lasting charitable legacy. Harriet established several Community Foundation charitable giving funds, each funding a local organization she and Locke had supported through volunteer service and annual giving. Her investment acumen drew her to the Community Foundation as her charitable assets grew over time to maximize her giving. Considering her long-time partnership with the Community Foundation and the trust she had developed; Harriet began planning how she could continue supporting the causes she cared about during her lifetime. She worked with her professional advisors to include gifts to her Community Foundation funds in her estate plans. This became an opportunity for her to provide sustainable support and to honor the memories of Locke and the generations of family before them who had called Des Moines home.
Upon Harriet’s passing in 2020, our community lost not only a committed volunteer but an intentional and strategic charitable spirit. Her careful planning and astute investing ensured her impact would continue. With Harriet's instruction, over $45 million will create lasting endowments forever benefiting eight local organizations. This act of generosity marks the largest estate gift ever facilitated by the Community Foundation and the largest contribution in the history of many of the recipient organizations. “The Macombers were great supporters of this community, and especially the Des Moines Art Center. Harriet was a board member and later an honorary trustee, but perhaps most importantly, she was a participant. With this financial support, the Art Center can more fully participate in the art of our time, bringing contemporary art and diverse audiences together through major exhibitions, as well as acquire works of art that have been out of financial reach in the past,” shares Jeff Fleming, Des Moines Art Center director.