The clearest example of the power of a legacy gift is the seed money for the capital campaign for the Wildlife Care Center and Cornell campus that is being considered today. We have the confidence to pursue this campaign directly because of a multimillion dollar bequest. The full campaign will cost considerably more than the bequest, but the bequest allowed us to believe that this dream could become real.
Bequests come to Portland Audubon from folks who have found joy in the natural world and believe in what we do. These surprise gifts are humbling and fill us with gratitude. As we read supporting documentation that accompany the checks, we see a final expression of open-hearted, thoughtful generosity that gives additional meaning to that life.
Another form of legacy gift is a memorial, which typically comes from the family or friends of those who have passed rather than through a will. A family member may know that the mission of Portland Audubon was important to their loved one, so they will give in their loved one’s name. Parents of young adults who passed way too early, Spencer Higgins and Amy Frank, have set up two different funds to support the work of our Education Department.
Sometimes donors give from their estate while still very much alive, allowing them to see Portland Audubon benefit from their generosity. A couple we worked with placed their home in a living trust, where it significantly increased in value. When the husband died, and the wife decided to move closer to her children in Leavenworth, the couple’s investments financed her later years, and the proceeds of the house sale were given to Portland Audubon.
The significance of legacy gifts cannot be overstated. For the more than 145 people who have told us that Portland Audubon is in their will, and are part of the Legacy Circle, we are most grateful. For those of you considering making this step—thank you.