My wife and I recently updated our wills, which for many years have included charitable organizations such as the Norfolk Botanical Garden among the beneficiaries. The act of reviewing our documents caused us to think about our motivation for designating bequests to charities, also called planned giving. Through our wills, all of us have an opportunity to make a lasting impact, even after our deaths, on things that matter to us. For some, a bequest will be the largest charitable donation they ever make. But many people are reluctant to discuss a will, much less to consider making one. It is very important for everyone to have a will (an up-to-date one) so that their assets are distributed in accordance with their desires. By carefully determining what it is that matters most to us, we have a marvelous opportunity to do something very positive which will last far into the future.
It’s kind of like planting a tree which continues to thrive for a long time. Consider, for example, that some of the trees Thomas Jefferson planted at Monticello are still alive today, and they are living connections to this man who died 181 years ago. Today, visitors to Jefferson’s home can touch these ancient living specimens and enjoy the ambience they create.
The Norfolk Botanical Garden is home to thousands of plants, and a very special place. The name of the planned giving program of the Botanical Garden is the Evergreen Society, which is reflective of the nature of the Garden. Those who designate the Garden in their wills, or who make other planned gifts, become members of the Evergreen Society. By joining the Evergreen Society, you will have an opportunity to establish a living link into the future and help ensure the continuation of a priceless asset in Hampton Roads.
It was after I joined the board that I became fully aware of the treasure we have in this institution. My wife and I come to this oasis frequently, even in winter, often an unusually beautiful season at the Garden, to walk around, sit on a bench, sometimes take pictures, and often just to reflect and renew the spirit in special surroundings. This island of calm and peace amidst the urban congestion is a soothing balm to the soul. In our own small way, through planned giving, we are able to help ensure that the garden is here for future generations.
I encourage anyone who has made a bequest to the Garden to contact Cathy Fitzgerald, Director of Donor Relations at 441-5830, Ext. 319 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Ms. Fitzgerald can also help anyone who is interested in making a bequest or who needs more information.
Norfolk Botanical Garden Board Member