One of the great things about my position is that I get to meet not only those we serve currently but those who have benefited from our services in the past. In the past couple of weeks, I visited with a gentleman who lived at Hillsides with his brothers in the early 1950s after his family was split up by divorce and with an alumna who came to us in the 1980s after her parents lost custody of her. They had very different stories and came to Hillsides for different reasons, however, for both, Hillsides was a safe haven. Then as now, our organization is committed to effectively address children’s needs.
The conversation with both of these former residents inevitably was how can they give back in return for all they received? There is a fundamental principle at Hillsides that the good we do will generate much more and the return will be the foundation for our sustainability into the future.
In speaking with the older of the two alums, the man mentioned that during his five-year stay at Hillsides, he became well acquainted with the agency’s director. As a young adult, he continued to visit him. He mentioned to me that at times the director encouraged donors to support not only the immediate needs of the organization but estate planning. His vision has served Hillsides well.
As a result of his outreach within the Episcopal Church community, some donors at that time identified Hillsides as a beneficiary of their estate. One such couple was Dr. and Mrs. Pierose. Dr. Pierose had a very successful practice in internal medicine in Los Angeles and made a modest gift annually to Hillsides. Upon retiring, they moved to Corona del Mar, and at that time informed us that we were included in their will. Given the resources required to sustain a comfortable life after retirement, often assets are exhausted if not depleted, so there was no expectation that the bequest would be significant. A month ago we were informed that Hillsides was the beneficiaries of a $2 million bequest from the Pierose estate. The gift was given with no restrictions other than to be used at Hillsides Board of Directors’ discretion for the support of our mission.
This is the largest single gift that Hillsides has ever received. It comes at a critical time as we solicit the support of the community for a $12 million capital campaign to improve our aging campus by building a Student Center comprised of an enhanced recreational facility and expressive arts program and provide a better food preparation and dining facility. One million dollars of the bequest has been contributed to the campaign, bringing the total raised to date to $ 6.5 million. One million dollars has been set aside as a fund to match any new gifts to the campaign that are received from now through the end of March 2015. Our goal is to raise another $1 million and bring the total raised to $ 8.5 million while we solicit major foundations to also join with the community to complete this campaign.
All this is made possible because of the generosity of this great couple who embraced our mission and was dedicated to creating lasting change for the children, youth, and families we serve.
Whether it is through estate planning, a generous gift, volunteering with one of our residents, adopting a family during the holidays or mentoring a youth at Youth Moving On, Hillsides’ success has been dependent on the generosity of so many who throughout the generations has effectively given back as a thank you for all they have received.
Consider how you might be able to advance Hillsides mission. In particular, please consider giving a gift to the campaign and benefit from this extraordinary matching opportunity. For more information, please visit http://www.hillsides.org/capital-campaign.