January 19th, 2016

Two donor stories: Estate gifts continue commitment to learning


Imagine someone launching a teaching career in the late 1930s and still being in the classroom as the 21st century drew near.

That was Donor A. She taught in various school districts for 49 years, and then spent the next 10 as a substitute teacher. And her commitment to education didn’t end there.

When Donor A died in January 2015 at age 97, her estate plan called for a $1.2 million gift to be made to the Donor A and Spouse Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation, named for her and her late husband, a former business owner.

The fund will support annual scholarships to help “high-achieving graduating seniors” from the six high schools in the County and will support educational, library, speech, forensics, and theater programs in the area.

Donor A learned from her attorney that a charitable fund at the Community Foundation is a way to effectively make favorite causes in your community your heirs.

“It’s just an outstanding way to enable people to give back to their community,” the lawyer said. One of Donor A’s nieces is just plain pleased with her aunt’s gift.

“I am just overwhelmed,” she said. “It makes me proud.” With the scholarships being awarded annually, she said, “Their names will live on for a long time.”



A lifelong county resident, Donor B, in 2010 through her will, established an Endowment Fund to provide nursing scholarships at a local college and annual grants to eight of her favorite nonprofit organizations. Her gift was unique; a company which holds mineral interests provides regular monthly payments to the Community Foundation for disbursement.

February 2015 marked the 5th anniversary of the establishment of this legacy fund. The Community Foundation evaluated the eight nonprofits in 2014 to understand the impact the Endowment Fund has had on the clients they serve.

Common themes emerged. The first grants from the fund were provided shortly after the economic downturn of 2007-09, a point in time when nonprofits were still recovering from decreased donations and cuts in federal and state funding streams.

Several of the recipient organizations noted that the Community Foundation’s Endowment Fund, “enabled them to not only keep their doors open, but to stabilize operations.” Several other organizations noted that the “funding enabled us to focus on program delivery to clients and provided us with needed flexibility.” The Community Foundation’s partnering enables non-profits to keep apprised of needs and concerns in their respective fields and also keeps agencies informed of other organizations who are providing similar services, if they are at capacity.

All eight of the organizations said the Community Foundation’s collaborative initiatives or “Collective impact initiatives with other area providers [are] so important.”

Donor B worked for 37 years in human services, administering public support and welfare programs for the economically disadvantaged.

The daughter of Donor B noted of her mother, “Mom has always had a very large heart for those who don’t have very much. My mom is leaving the world a better place – helping people she doesn’t even know – now and 50 and 100 years from now. This is what she wants her gift to do.”