‘Jeopardy!’: Alex and Jean Trebek’s Generous Decision

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek and his wife, Jean, have decided in recent years to more intentionally use their resources and position to help out those around them.

It’s a move that has brought the quiz show icon and his spouse great joy and fulfillment.

Alex and Jean Trebek
Alex and Jean Trebek | Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI

How the couple met

In a July 2020 essay Jean composed for Guideposts magazine, she described her life with Alex since they learned of his cancer diagnosis. She also explained how the two met.

“After leaving Pepperdine [University],” she wrote, “I was still here on the West Coast…Saturdays I had a part-time job, doing bookkeeping for a guy in Malibu. Alex was my boss’s buddy. He’d come over every Saturday to play backgammon and have lunch. I knew that he was on some TV show, but he never said much about it and I didn’t ask.”

Jean and Alex Trebek
Jean and Alex Trebek | Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

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Alex, in his 2020 memoir, The Answer Is… described knowing Jean was ‘the one.’

“I wasn’t looking for love. But with Jean, I recognized at a gut level that here was someone who was going to complete me as a human being,” he said. “She was the most charming person I had ever met; not only polite, but exuding a warmth that showed character and spirituality as well. And she was drop-dead gorgeous.”

The couple’s recent gift to their community

In June 2020, Trebek and his wife, Jean, according to TMZ made a generous donation to faith-based nonprofit, Hope Of The Valley, for the creation of a homeless shelter, Hope Central, in San Fernando Valley in the Los Angeles area.

TMZ’s report also noted that the new space is meant for the community’s homeless seniors. One of the larger rooms in the facility is being named The Alex and Jean Trebek Multi-Purpose Room.

In a statement, the couple said at the time, “Alex and Jean Trebek contributed $500,000 to the charity because they believe in helping locally as well as globally. They have lived in the Valley for over 30 years, and want to help support their community.”

Their charitable foundation was their generous decision

Trebek in his memoir explains that it was on his accountant’s good advice that the couple decided to start a foundation instead of continuing to donate money to one charity after another.

“So we did. It just changed my philosophy completely. Now instead of giving small amounts to a hundred different charities a year, I’m able to give away larger chunks, and help so many more people than before,” he wrote.

Alex and Jean Trebek
Alex and Jean Trebek | Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI

In addition to giving to his alma mater, the University of Ottawa, Alex and Jean have also shown their support to the college their son, Matthew, graduated from, Fordham University. The National Geographic Society and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society have also benefited from the Trebeks’ foundation.

They’ve even adopted a village in Zambia. “It has about seventeen hundred residents…They had a lovely banquet for us,” Alex said in his memoir. “We can make differences in simple ways and significant ways that don’t cost much.”

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