How People Remember: Using DAFs to honor the memory of loved ones.
So many of our clients participate in philanthropy to honor the ones they have lost. It has become one of the most meaningful moments we share with our clients when we empower them to honor the people in their life that mean the most to them.
This topic hits very close to home for me. In 2012, my family lost a key member, my Uncle Ricky. He was the absolute best. He was diagnosed with Lung Cancer and passed 18 months later. When he was fighting, we created a cancer book. And in true Julia fashion I created a top 10 list of all my favorite moments with my uncle. It ranged from him taking us backstage at Cabaret to meet Alan Cummings to him swerving on the road when we did not have seat belts on! I could not imagine a world where everyone did not know how special my uncle was to everyone he touched. This is why I pushed my cousin, Cristina Salmastrelli, to create the I Will Wait for You Foundation. A scholarship foundation that selects students who emulate the qualities that Uncle Ricky was known for, compassion, kindness, and community. He was the best team player, never the star, but the most dependable person. He always showed up.
I also have seen a client give on their loved one’s birthday. Every year they go online and request we cut a check on a certain date because it was their Mother’s Birthday.
I have also seen our clients invest in certain stocks inside their donor advised funds. We have had requests to add TJX to a client’s portfolio because as he stated, his wife would still like to spend money at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Homegoods. Then, in honor of another client’s father, we still hold the Disney Stock his father gifted him in the DAF account.
We have seen DAF accounts named after loved ones. Most people do not remember their great grandfather’s name but if it was the name of your family giving account you would remember his name. I have seen some of our clients, who are fur parents, name their account after their dog and give to pet charities in their honor.
We have clients that make donations in honor of their loved ones. One client said, “I want to make this gift in honor of my late brother. He loved everything baseball.” This client gives to help kids in the urban areas learn the great sport of baseball.
We laugh out loud with our clients as they tell us the stories that made them laugh. I have cried watching our clients build their legacy pages honoring their loved ones. The photo they select and the stories they tell are what make me remember the important things in life. The time we spend with people and the way we make them feel is invaluable. One client decided instead of flowers at their wife’s funeral they would ask people to make a donation to her DAF that would help rehab birds in Vermont. She loved birds and our client said every time he sees a white snow owl he feels connected to his late wife.
The best part about my job is learning why people activate, why their hearts are filled with so much passion. It is hard when we lose the people closest to us, this is why I am so happy to see our clients still connecting through philanthropy to the ones they lost and finding peace and joy in honoring their spirit.
Executive Insights Series
We are thrilled to continue our new article series, Executive Insights, authored by our very own CEO, Julia Healey. With her extensive experience in the nonprofit sector, Julia will be sharing her insights on the latest trends in philanthropy, with a focus on Donor Advised Funds.
These articles will cover a range of topics. We hope that our community of inspired changemakers will find these articles informative and thought-provoking as we delve into the ever-changing world of philanthropy.