Leave a Lasting Impression.  Here's How.

A Personal Bequest, A Lasting Impression

posted March 18, 2016

At the Community Foundation, we are focused on our role as the local giving partner for lasting community impact. Within this, we often share about the opportunity each of us has to leave a lasting impression through planned giving. And while we always encourage folks to consider their own opportunity to leave a lasting impression and make sure you’ve begun the conversation about your intentions, there is quite a different, yet equally powerful, way we can leave a lasting impression.

For those of us in the latter stages of our careers or enjoying the opportunities of retirement – or the “encore years” of giving back to our communities through volunteering – there lies opportunity for legacy that is just as important, and maybe more so, than the financial impact we might create in a planned gift.

I recently read a thought provoking piece on “Bequeathing Your Wisdom,” written by Josh Patrick (read here), in which Patrick gives great suggestions about how we can share our legacy with those we love. This led me to consider my own experiences and knowledge of others in bequeathing wisdom.

When my father was 98 years old, I spent time “interviewing” him and creating a two hour video. There were some things I wanted to know, things I wanted my kids and grandkids to know, and it gave him an opportunity to share from his history and his heart. Think of my grandkids listening to their great grandfather talking about life from his starting point of 1911!

My mother wrote a little history of her life… both of my maternal grandparents had passed before I was born. I have a picture and my mother’s story to connect me to them. They were a small farm family, raising enough to feed the family of seven and sell some to help with other expenses. They had a milking cow and some chickens. My mother was born in 1912… do you think my grandkids can even imagine what life was like back then?

Every once in a while, I go to our website to visit Larry Miller, a past Community Foundation Board Director that died last year – Larry was a dear friend and I miss our visits. I am so grateful for the bequest he left us through that video that shared some of his life and his wish for how he would be remembered.

OK, here is my point in case you haven’t caught it. You have stories. You have memories and wisdom to bequeath to the next generation and beyond.

I’d like to encourage each of us to consider what Josh Patrick suggests – consider our own opportunities to bequeath our wisdom. Please give thought and take actions of some form to offer your personal bequest to those that matter to you.


Phil Ellis, Ph.D., Community Foundation Executive Director
e: plellis@gtrcf.org | p: 231-935-4066

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