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Finding Meaning in Stewardship

Julie A. Malek (center) with Living Legacy Tapestry artists in front of the Tapestry

One of the unique roles a community foundation can play is to steward charitable bequests (gifts specified in a will) and other types of planned gifts in a way that particularly honors donors’ intentions and values.

Rose Community Foundation takes this role very seriously. “People have different goals for their charitable bequests,” explains Vicki Dansky, senior gift planning officer. “Sometimes they want to use philanthropy as a way to keep their adult children close to each other, and some use their legacy gift planning to open or continue a conversation with their children and grandchildren about values they hope to perpetuate through the generations.”

Julie A. Malek and her husband Rick J. Kornfeld have included a gift to the Foundation in their will for their children to direct in the future. They also had conversations with their children about their intentions for the gift. Malek says that the process of making the gift has been really important to them as a family. Both Malek and Kornfeld grew up in Denver and they have both had parents die. She says that including Rose Community Foundation — with its strong connections to the history of Rose Medical Center and the Denver community — in their will felt like a powerful connection to their parents’ history here. “The really beautiful thing is that our gift feels like a legacy from both of our families,” she remarks.

As legacy donors, Kornfeld and Malek have also contributed meaningful images and memorabilia to the Living Legacy Tapestry, which hangs in the Foundation’s lobby. “It was really special to be able to do that; we were able to include pieces of our parents’ history,” says Malek.

The Living Legacy Tapestry is composed by artists Leah Sobsey and Lynn Bregman Blass of visualhistorycollaborative.com. Dansky says that the Tapestry is an important visual archive of donors’ values. “It is our way of capturing and continuing the values of these amazingly generous people who have supported the community and committed to doing so even beyond their lifetime,” she says.

Malek says that talking with their children and documenting their own intentions has been an important exercise. “Our kids will know what is important to us, but they will have some freedom to make their own decisions, too.”


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