Continuing a Tradition of Caring at Canterbury Woods
Throughout their time at Canterbury Woods, resident Cathy Gordon and her late partner Martha Buck have helped to build a supportive, caring community through their time and philanthropic contributions.
“The community and this organization play an important role in helping provide services and support to seniors in need,” Cathy said. “I know that it won’t just take care of my needs, but will be there to take care of others as well. My donation to the Foundation is one small way to help.”
Canterbury Woods, a Front Porch community nestled in Pacific Grove near Monterey, CA, has a rich history steeped in the spirit of compassion that is a hallmark of Front Porch. The land was gifted to the Episcopal Church in the late 1800s by Margaret Tennant to honor her brother John, and the John Tennant Memorial home for the elderly was built. In the first half of the 20th century, the buildings and land were used as a girls school and then as a clergy holiday home, with the basement reportedly serving a role during Prohibition as a waystation for “rumrunners” plying their trade along the coast.
In 1965, a newly-formed nonprofit purchased the land from the church and Canterbury Woods was built as the first retirement community of Episcopal Homes Foundation (a Front Porch predecessor). The Rev. Darby Betts, an Episcopal priest and the founder of Episcopal Homes Foundation, had a strong interest in architecture as a way to build community and led the design and building of Canterbury Woods as well as four more Northern California retirement communities.
The Episcopal diocese then donated the purchase price of the land back to Episcopal Homes Foundation to care for retirement community residents who outlived their resources. This tradition of generosity has been passed down through the generations of Canterbury Woods residents.
Sallie Brun grew to care about Canterbury Woods when her parents resided there. When she moved to the community, she committed to making improvements for current residents and the next generation by making a gift to the Foundation to enhance the landscaping and gardens.
“I have this community in my heart,” she said. “It’s so meaningful to me to be able to provide support for Canterbury Woods through my time and gifts.”
This story was originally shared in the Spring 2023 edition of Community Matters.