Leave a Lasting Impression Today.  Learn How.

Legacy Society Stories

The Community Guardian Legacy Society honors community-minded individuals who are dedicated to making a long-term investment in our region by ensuring their gifts are sustainable and entrusting that future generations benefit from their legacy of giving. As you will read in the stories below, our Community Guardians love this place, and want to see it, and the people here, thrive forever. 

100 Years From Now

After living in Chicago for 36 years, John and Rebecca Bercini were attracted to Northern Michigan because of the natural beauty and small-town feel.

When the Bercinis were revisiting their estate plan several years ago, they made plans to leave their assets to organizations that they believe will make a meaningful difference in the community.

“We are attracted to the model of community foundations – we understand the legal structure and have faith in the management and stewardship of the foundation.” The Bercinis also value the idea that the plans they are making today will have lasting impact in perpetuity.

“There are very few places you can do this – where you are going to give and know that 100 years from now, that gift will still be helping do good and will be used in ways that are reflective of community needs.”

Committed to Their Community

Will and Joan Larson shared their commitment to community through their giving. For 30 years, they gave through their family foundation.

“Will and Joan had a great fondness for the Leelanau County area and the people who live here,” said Larry Nelson, a friend of the Larsons. “During their lifetimes they generously assisted many individuals and community organizations.”

As part of a strategy to ensure they could continue to give beyond their lifetime, the Larsons gifted a portion of their foundation assets to create an endowment at the Community Foundation. This allowed them to remain actively engaged in their philanthropy while living and also be assured that the causes and communities they cared about would be supported in their name, for generations to come.

After Joan’s passing in 2017 and Will’s in 2019, the Wilfred and Joan Larson Endowment was the beneficiary of gifts they planned for during their lives—further growing the impact that the Larsons will have on causes they cared about in our region.

“It is wonderful to know that as a result of them establishing an endowment at the Foundation, their generous support to the region will continue in the future.”

Continuing Community Impact

Virg Mouch learned of the Community Foundation because of her love of the environment and involvement in protection of Torch Lake.

“Seeing the impact such an organization can have in so many different areas— and the singular focus on stewardship of endowments in perpetuity—inspired me to really become involved,” said Virg.

As she moved into retirement, Virg says she, like many, faced the important question of how to ensure sufficient resources during her lifetime, while meeting her desire of continuing her community impact long into the future.

“By including the Community Foundation in my estate plans, I can manage my assets and investments now and have peace of mind that I will leave a legacy to the community.”

Benefitting the Community Through IRA Giving

“We see good things happening in the area and are happy to support these issues. We hope we’re making a small impact by making our area a great place to live now and into the future.”

During their years working in education, Richard and Kimiko started a savings plan, putting away small amounts of their paychecks each month. They worked hard and lived frugally, and as they approached retirement, saved even more and took advantage of contributing to their IRA.

For the Williams, using their IRA for giving now offers them tax advantages and the opportunity to use those funds to benefit the community.

“We like to focus our impact on education about the environment; encouraging others to be involved in their natural environment; and preserving and encouraging the use and enjoyment of the natural resources we have.”

Through endowment giving and plans for an estate gift, Richard and Kimiko have also ensured that the giving they’re doing now will be sustained long into the future.

“We know gifts we make today will still be gifted for the benefit of the community after our lifetime. It’s good to know our gifts will last.”