Sara Judson column: With proper planning, there’s a way to support the causes one loves forever

By Sara Judson

The Community Foundation connects people who care with causes that matter. Do you have causes important to you? Do you volunteer with a nonprofit, your church or a school?  In addition to your hands on volunteering, we can help you make tax smart decisions in supporting those causes important to you. We can help you do that right now as well as in your will so you can support that cause forever.

Karen and Ken Chamberlain have several causes they support financially and through volunteer service.  Several years ago they decided it was time to make a plan to support those causes forever, too. “Everybody thinks it’s so sad, but it’s not. This process brought us joy thinking of what we care about today and how we have made plans to support those things forever,” said Karen.

Sharing stories of others giving back to the causes they love seems to inspire others so I thought this was a good time to share some excerpts from a story originally written by Crystal Stevenson for the American Press shortly after the Chamberlains created the fund.

Excerpt from an American Press story by Crystal Stevenson published August 18, 2019:

The Chamberlains have chosen to leave a legacy through an endowment at the Community Foundation that allows a person or couple to leave something for their church and community organizations all in one place. “We’re so excited to be doing this,” Karen said.

Karen said the endowment has allowed her and her husband to make their end-of-life plans now and fund it after they’ve enjoyed their lives. “We had a couple of goals, one of them to make sure each other would be taken care of first, one of them was to leave money to our family, and then to leave money to our church and community,” Karen said. “When we started putting together our end-of-life documents, we realized it was a little tricky to know how to do it and the Community Foundation gave us a vehicle for all of it.”

Karen said it’s their wish to continue to share their love of their church, Our Lady Queen of Heaven, even after their passing. “We could have made the decision to give a percentage of our will to the church then it would be a one-time thing,” she said. “The Foundation will allow the church to receive money every year from the fund forever. We love that idea.” Ken said there is no stipulation in their endowment on how the church can use the funds. “It’s a gift that will keep on giving,” he said.

Karen said their plans give the Foundation the opportunity to focus their funds on organizations dear to them, particularly those that serve children like the Junior League, United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Harbour House. “It seems like this is a gift given away when it is a gift that we have given to each other. It is all the more joyful because the decision was made together, with much thought and prayer, and gives us peace of mind knowing our love will live on in our family, church, and community,” Karen concluded.

Let us know what is important to you and we can help you make a positive, lasting impact.  It may even just bring you joy like it has done for Karen and Ken!

Sara McLeod Judson is the CEO of the Community Foundation SWLA and can be reached at sjudson@foundationswla.org or 337-491-6688.

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