You can't help pausing and thinking - wow, this will be after I'm gone. "What do I want my legacy to be?" Is it just financial assets and jewelry? How do I want to pass on my values? Can I continue to inspire after I'm gone?
There are a number of ways to do this. You can leave an ethical will or a letter detailing what your values are, what you've held dear during your life time and what you hope for your children, what lessons they will learn and what kind of people they will be as they get older.
You can also embrace caring for the community in your will. Leaving a percentage of your assets for community needs is a wonderful way to keep your inspiration perpetual. It is doubtful that your children would miss five or 10 percent of your assets. In fact when we've checked with our donors, their children love the idea that funds will be flowing into the community and that Mom and Dad will be remembered in the days to come.
So how do you go about it? Let's say you want to leave funds to your Alma Mater, your synagogue or church, a youth literacy program and something for future emergencies. You can go to your Alma Mater, who will be happy to work with you to figure out where within the university you would like to leave funds; to your synagogue or church to determine what program you'd like to support and look around for the best literacy program that might be worth funding. At this point you've probably given it all up and decided to think about this tomorrow.
OR, you can make an appointment with someone at a Community Foundation, who will sit down with you and make it all happen for you. Those working for community foundations have no vested interest in one organization or another. It's all and ONLY about YOU.
The only thing that goes into your will is that X percent or X amount goes to the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona (for example) for charitable purposes. That's it.
Then you sit down with us - or with someone at your local Community Foundation and walk through where you'd like the funds to go. The Foundation invests the funds and then a portion of the interest is sent each year to your beneficiaries. As in, forever. The reason why only a portion of the interest is distributed each year is that this allows for your fund to grow while hedging against downturns in the economy.
If you want funds to support what is most needed at the time, emergencies or capacity building in a given program area, Community Foundations can do that too.
And, if you change your mind at any point, there are no legal fees, you just come in and we do an amendment.
The Legacy Conversation, as we call it, is fun. We learn about you and what you care about, and we get to brainstorm together to make sure that those causes you care about are supported in the days ahead.
This way, you are not only investing in our community, but you are role modeling for your children and others in the community about the importance of making a difference now and always. It's about your legacy. It's about You.