As a young accountant in the 1970s, I could see that Waterbury, my hometown, was experiencing seismic changes and that philanthropy would be critical to its future. That insight led me to the Connecticut Community Foundation (then the Waterbury Foundation), where I served as trustee for eleven years, encouraging people to establish charitable funds to help meet community needs.
Today, I’m seeing a troubling trend. As people in my generation move out of Connecticut for family or year-round sun, their capital is going with them–often permanently. When it came to creating my estate plan, I wanted to be sure that – after taking care of family – my resources stay in the community. That’s why I’m working with the Foundation to plan for gifts I want to make during my lifetime and after I’m gone. In addition to the donor advised fund I’ve had for years, I’ve established the Yolanda and Lester Brooks Family Fund in honor of my parents. It’s an endowed fund with no restrictions that the Foundation will manage for the benefit of the community, forever. The Foundation offered a wide array of tools to help me create my family’s legacy. I’ve settled on three: First, I established a Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA). With a CGA, I enjoy a charitable income tax deduction right away, and will receive income during my lifetime. After my death, the remaining money will be added to my family fund. Second, through my will, I will fund a Charitable Remainder Unitrust (CRUT), which will provide income to my daughters. After their deaths, remaining assets will go to the fund. Finally, I have named my family fund as a beneficiary of my Individual Retirement Account. With the Foundation’s help, I have a plan that will contribute forever to the Greater Waterbury region that has nurtured and sustained my family for generations.