The Aubuchon name has long been synonymous with quality, but it's the family's longstanding tradition of generously giving back in different ways that will ensure their legacy lives on. The Aubuchon-Mayall clan has been making regular contributions to the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts for quite some time and has been deeply entrenched in the Fitchburg and greater community for generations.

“We have a family legacy of philanthropy,” said family patriarch Bill Aubuchon, adding that a building at Fitchburg State University was named after his father “for the time and effort he gave to the entire state college system and to other organizations at the time.” He went on to say that his late parents made a lot of financial contributions to local organizations and that they were always volunteering their time, including time and treasure that his mother gave with the Fitchburg Public Library and Fitchburg Art Museum. “It was an unbelievable number of hours.”

“It wasn’t always money, it was the time aspect,” Bill shared. “We come from that heritage, and we tried to bestow it to our kids as well.” Their two adult children and now their five grandchildren are carrying on the multigenerational family tradition of giving back. The first time Bill and his wife Karson spoke to their kids about perpetuating the idea of helping others they were young and, as such, the conversation was age-appropriate.

“We wanted to continue a legacy that had already been developed, that had gone through a couple of generations already.” Karson expressed. “Talking about hard money at that time made no sense. It was either going to be taken in the wrong way or it was just going to fly over their head. So, we found that philanthropy through helping others was the gateway. It was a softer gateway to talk about than family wealth in general. Then we got to talk about what is family wealth, by concentrating on helping others rather than dollars.”

They have had many annual family meetings built around the topic of philanthropy and family values. One such meeting was held in Las Vegas in 2019 when they were on a family vacation.

“We got serious because we knew that we were getting to the kids, that we had piqued their interest,” Bill recalled. “We had started to talk about philanthropy in general and what historically had been done. We got their attention, and I sensed what we really needed at that time.”

Bill said they always wanted their kids to learn more “about being a responsible citizen of earth” beyond extracurriculars and education. And, in order to do this, they were going to have to put their words into action.

“We’ve never given big presents for any holiday,” Karson said of their efforts to remain humble and grounded. “We give them experiences.” When they were in Las Vegas, Bill tasked everyone with an exercise on the topic of family values.

“I listed a number of them,” Bill said. “For example, accepting and respecting the diversity of people, taking personal responsibility, taking care of family, being smart about money, caring for family pets, being grateful, kindness, hard work, being honest and truthful, being educated, being humble, wanting peace in the world.” He handed out a form to all of the family members who were there, including the children, the spouses, and the grandchildren. Bill told them he wanted them to take their time and really think about what they value and respect.

“What do you admire? What do you honor? What do you appreciate?” he asked them. They all came up with a number of ideas and thoughts, so many that they eventually had to narrow them down. “We were going to craft family values and we were going to try and express what we were all about and what we wanted to be,” Karson conveyed. “We aspire to be grateful for everything that has been given to us by those who preceded us. We wanted to work hard at every task set before us. No matter how fortunate we are, whatever jobs we took, we were going to work at it. And at the end of the day, we were going to be humble about our accomplishments. That little exercise led to our mission statement.”

They started to realize that they needed to do more than just have general conversations. They decided to create the Aubuchon/Mayall Family Governance in December of 2019, and this is what they came up with:

We are grateful and we appreciate what we have and what we’ve been given. We are also grateful for each other. Being grateful makes us happy.

Through hard work, integrity, humility, and mutual respect, we endeavor to pass on the importance of charitable giving to improve our communities. We also endeavor to dream big.

These are our shared family values. They give us a sense of purpose and will guide our responsibilities in helping others.

“We all signed off on it, everybody,” Bill said. “Companies do this. Schools do this. Why don't families do it, arguably the most important unit?”

They were inspired by the United Way, which works from the bottom up instead of the top down to help those in need, and the family began donating funds to “community builders” who were trying to better their own lives and the lives of those around them. In fact, the family was instrumental in starting the Community Builders, with the idea that people in need always know how to solve their neighborhood issues if only given the chance.

“This is a progressive kind of conversation,” Karson added. “We start at a level where the kids can appreciate something. If the family is lucky enough and we're grateful for what we have, can we share some of that with people who are less fortunate than us? So, let's just start with that concept. And I know you can get even the youngest members of the family tied into that kind of an idea.”

All of the family members are very engaged in conversations about philanthropy and long-term plans to continue and solidify their giving-back legacy. The grandkids research charitable organizations and make presentations at Thanksgiving about why they want to donate to their particular projects.

With the help of the Family Governance Guidelines that they had crafted, they discovered that they could even make “a double donation” by not only giving a monetary gift but also contributing their time, such as volunteering to help out with dinners at the Spanish-American Center in Leominster. They continue to have deep family conversations about giving back, delving into various aspects of what that means, and nowadays they are evolving and growing together.

“With philanthropy in general, it’s just family values,” Bill said. They talk to their children about the family that came before them and how their hard work has helped them achieve where they are today. Karson, in particular, has really helped to lay that foundation by delving into their family history as a way to better understand their genealogy and where they came from, which has enriched their philanthropic energies.

“We're very lucky, but we didn't get here automatically,” Karson said. “People came before us to give us the blessings that we have today. We have to acknowledge that. And I always went out of my way to take every opportunity that I was given to acknowledge whoever preceded us, to make mention of their generosities, because we wouldn't have the life that we do without the sacrifices of those who came before us. It's a simple story, but they have to understand.”

“And yet, when it comes to wealth, we don’t talk about dollars. As a matter of fact, we've had conversations around the table where I've asked all the grandchildren to talk about types of wealth other than money,” Bill said. “What does wealth mean to you? And it was very interesting to hear what they came up with. Family and family relationships, good teachers, good coaches, the opportunities that we have been given compared to others, health. Health is wealth, too. Having this type of discussion helped to broaden the concept of wealth so that it doesn't focus solely on dollars, which allows for other sorts of conversations to happen,” he continued. “It opens up the dialogue; it allows for a free flow of conversation to happen. There are no restrictions. The message that Karson and I try to underscore for our family is that every voice counts. Everybody participates. Everybody is meaningful; everybody's important. We are interested. We want to hear from you. We love you.”

Reflecting on the experience of working with the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts over the years, the couple shared, “There is no more natural partner to help us execute our family mission than the Community Foundation. They are so tied into the needs and opportunities of the region, and offer such a simple and supportive way to give. They’ve been a great resource for us. If we could offer a word of encouragement for any other families looking to explore the idea of philanthropy and giving back, it would be to start with a conversation about what really matters, and see where it takes you. It’s been truly remarkable to see the kids grow not only as kind and respectful people, but really as citizens of their communities and of the world. We can’t wait to see what new ideas they come up with next.”

If you are considering how to embark on your own journey of charitable giving, be it as an individual, a family, or a business, we would be honored to help. Contact Erin Thomason, Director of Philanthropy, at or at 978-230-1001 or visit our website at We look forward to making your vision a reality.