Planned Giving and the Art of Paying it Forward

There is an old Hasidic story of the Rabbi who had a conversation with the Lord about Heaven and Hell. “I will show you Hell,” said the Lord and led the Rabbi into a room in the middle of which was a very big, round table. The people sitting at it were famished and desperate. In the middle of the table there was a large pot of stew, enough and more for everyone. The smell of the stew was delicious and made the Rabbi’s mouth water. The people round the table were holding spoons with very long handles. Each  one found that it was just possible to reach the pot to take a spoonful of the stew, but because the handle of his spoon was longer than a man’s arm, he could not get the food back into his mouth. The Rabbi saw that their suffering was terrible.

“Now I will show you Heaven,” said the Lord, and they went into another room, exactly the same as the first. There was the same big, round table and the same pot of stew. The people, as before, were equipped with the same long-handled spoons – but here they were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking. At first the Rabbi could not understand. “It is simple, but it requires a certain skill,” said the Lord. “You see, they have learned to feed each other.”

At Independence Center members receive through giving, not only as part of the reciprocal giving-receiving arrangement but also from the intrinsic act of giving to the community. Like the story of heaven and hell, the Clubhouse “work ordered day” is steeped in the principle of altruism. When some members begin at Independence Center they are demoralized and possess a deep sense of having nothing of value to offer others. They have long considered themselves as burdens, and the experience of finding that they can be of importance to others is refreshing and boosts self-esteem. Members offer support, reassurance, suggestions, insight and share similar problems with one another, all leading to a corrective emotional experience and increased health and well-being. This hope and healing all starts with the generosity of our donors!

Philanthropy is the engine that powers Independence Center’s mission: without the generosity of individuals and families compelled by the legacy of Susan and George Hecker and our founders, Independence Center could not address the health and quality of life of people living with severe mental illness. This financial support is most common when donors are alive. Independence Center is in the initial phase of starting a planned giving program and this article will discuss how to become a member of the legacy fund.

Become a member of the Legacy Fund. When loyal supporters like you make a bequest or other estate gift, Independence Center is not only immediately fortified, but assured the future funding that will continue to make advances for the care and cure of those affected by mental illness. An estate gift also helps facilitate important strategic planning and provides a reliable source of income that will sustain our vital work and essential program for many years to come.

Our Planned Giving Team is made up of Independence Center’s Board Members, staff and members and would be delighted to answer your questions and assist you with your estate planning needs, please call our Development Department at 314-880-5404. To ensure that your wishes are carried out, however, we recommend you seek professional advice from a licensed legal and/or financial advisor.

With your contribution, you become an important part of our success and a special part of our family. We could not do it without you. Thank you for supporting our mission and we look forward to talking with each of you about this important initiative. If you already have been so generous to include Independence Center in your estate planning, please let us know, we want to make sure and recognize you as a member of the Legacy Fund.