Finding A Place of Belonging

Photo of Will Stoltz and family

Will Stoltz is leaving a gift in his Will to House of Friendship, as a way to share the blessings he’s received with others.

“I want to share what’s been a part of my life with others. You only get to keep what you give away.”

That’s the philosophy that Will Stoltz lives by. At 82 years old, it has served him well.

Growing up, Will was a self-described introvert, and struggled to connect with others. That changed with the love of one special person. “Jean was the first – and last – woman I ever dated.

“She helped me discover out how important it is to have unconditional love in your life, to build confidence, because if you’re a loner, you wall out the pain of being hurt again, but you also wall out a heck of a lot of love,” said Will.

Jean helped Will discover the joy of being part of something bigger. For the first time, he understood the importance of a community.


It’s important that we all have a place of belonging, and we feel good about who we are.


Will was inspired to give back, so he got involved with Big Brothers. The experience moved the Stoltzes to volunteer at the KW Big Brothers camp for kids whose fathers weren’t a presence in their lives. Jean endearingly became known as “Cookie.”

“I had a strong pull to be with and empower those who didn’t feel they belong, because I knew it from my own childhood,” Will explains.

He got active with church agencies, and even went on to become an ordained church minister.

One night, Will led a retreat for men at House of Friendship. Something special happened. “The guys were very responsive, enthusiastic and curious,” he remembers. Will was so affected by the impact he made, that he decided to focus on society’s most isolated individuals, serving as a chaplain in prison ministries.

These days, Will loves spending time with his daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Thinking about their future, he created a Will that includes both his family and House of Friendship.

He feels good knowing his decision represents his core values: “I get great joy out of my future gift to House of Friendship, and also, helping my kids and their kids.”

“My legacy is taking the unconditional love I received, and using my gratitude to say, ‘Hey, I want to share what’s been a part of my life with others.’

Posted on: September 29th, 2023

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