DONOR PROFILE: Julie Anderson

The Greatest Wealth of All: Passion

By John Corneille, J.D., FFB Director of Gift Planning

From the Fall 2016 Issue of LEGACY - A Publication for Supporters of the Foundation Fighting Blindness

Ever since I joined the Foundation Fighting Blindness as Director of Gift Planning, on a part-time basis in November 2010, and now on a full-time basis, I have worked to dispel the notion that only "rich people" leave money to charity when they die.

Most people don't think of themselves as rich. If, however, everyone in the FFB community were to leave something, regardless of the amount, to the Foundation as part of their legacy, the money generated would be extremely doubt in the millions! I would like to introduce you to someone who not only supports my theory, she has also graciously agreed to share her personal story with you.

Julie Anderson is a single mother of three adult children. Julie is also the President of our Northern Lights, Minnesota Chapter and affected with retinitis pigmentosa. A few years ago she notified the Foundation that she had included the Foundation in her will and other parts of her estate plan.

"I was diagnosed with RP in 2000," Julie said. "After I grieved for a while trying to grasp what that diagnosis meant for my future and the future of my family, I discovered the Foundation. While my overall nature is to be a worrier, I also decided that worrying would accomplish nothing other than bring me sadness and despair. The Northern Lights Chapter, coincidentally, was seeking leadership at about that same time, and I decided to volunteer."

Julie's involvement with the Foundation as a key volunteer leader afforded her the opportunity to learn the countless ways that people can help.

"Asking for money is not easy for most people, including me. It is, however, absolutely critical in order for the Foundation to succeed in its mission. I have also learned that there are other ways to support the Foundation including attending our events, serving on event committees, spreading awareness among family, friends and the community and, on an extremely personal level, including the Foundation as part of your lasting legacy," Julie said.

Julie decided that there was a way for her to not only provide for her family, her first and primary concern, but also the Foundation.

"I do not consider myself to be a wealthy person, far from it. I am, however, comfortable in my life and fortunate to have raised three children who are self-supporting. I learned that by leaving a percentage of my assets to the Foundation I could guarantee that, when I am gone, my children will be provided for and so will the Foundation. I made the Foundation a 10% beneficiary of my retirement plan, my life insurance policy, and a 10% beneficiary in my Will," Julie reports. With the type of plan Julie has implemented, everything in her life that is important to her will be remembered when she is gone.

"Like most people I sometimes fear that I will run out of money before I die. With what I have done, however, my children will receive 90% of whatever I have left and the Foundation 10%. I hope, of course, that I still have a meaningful amount remaining when I am gone but, whatever that amount happens to be, I know the Foundation will use it well. My children know how important the Foundation has been and will continue to be in my life and are 100% supportive of what I have done."

What Julie did was extremely easy. She recently needed to do some updates to her Will. As part of that process she asked her lawyer to add a few more sentences to include the Foundation. She then contacted her retirement plan and her life insurance administrator and signed a simple document adding the 10 percent contribution language to those plans. "It was painless and, in fact, made me feel good knowing I had taken care of my entire family, including my Foundation family," Julie said. It also gives me satisfaction to know that if and when RP shows up again in my family's future, whether I am still here or passed on, FFB is already working on our behalf, on real solutions."

Julie's story is one that could work for each and every member of the Foundation family. While our goal is, someday, to go out of business because we have found treatments and cures for all retinal degenerative diseases, the reality is that we still have a lot of work ahead of us to get to and cross that finish line. I urge you to consider including the Foundation as part of your lasting legacy, in whatever form or amount. Your doing so will help insure that our extraordinary work will continue for generations to come.