Honorary Chairman Craig Miller Reflects on Gifts That Last

From our 2006 Spring Newsletter

July 2006–Warren Buffett recently announced his intention to begin giving away 85% of his wealth, currently estimated at $44 billion. The majority of this gift was made to The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

This generosity will have a worldwide impact for years to come.

Here at home, Conservancy supporters embrace this same giving spirit. A similarly unique gift recently made a powerful impact on the Leelanau Conservancy. A woman who lived near Cedar Lake and enjoyed fishing near the DeYoung Property – we’ll call her “Jane” – quietly decided to name the Leelanau Conservancy in her will, gifting her home and 20% of her estate. While the final valuation of the estate is not yet complete, this incredibly generous bequest has brought us near the halfway point of our private fundraising for the DeYoung project, providing significant new momentum. Equally important, the gift represents much-needed matching funds to qualify for future grant requests.

Jane was not Warren Buffett. She was our neighbor – yours and ours. Like Buffett, who expressed a deep trust in the vision and stewardship of the Gates Foundation, Jane valued the Leelanau Conservancy’s mission. She watched our work for years before deciding to give what she could to ensure the organization’s future. We only wish we could have known of her intention sooner, to thank her and share with her the tremendous impact she has had on our work.

Year after year, Leelanau Conservancy donors contribute generously to a variety of significant projects. In turn, we at the Conservancy will always work hard to inform you and other supporters about how your gifts have been put to work for the immediate benefit of the County and the region. Your support is absolutely critical to the work we do each and every day. Thank you.

As land values escalate, however, our work will become much more costly. And with the addition of each new Natural Area, Preserve and conservation easement, our obligation grows to ensure that we have the resources to be good stewards… forever. One important key to the Conservancy’s future success and long-term financial stability is “Planned Giving,” or gifts given through bequests, wills, trusts and other instruments. Gifts like Jane’s. By including the Leelanau Conservancy in your estate plan, you too can create a legacy and sustain the Conservancy’s mission beyond your lifetime.

We invite you to consider the Conservancy’s long-term future in your long-term plans. If it feels right to you, please join the 55 individuals and couples who have informed us of their intention to name the Conservancy as a beneficiary of a planned gift. We want to thank you now for preserving the amazing land, water and scenic character of a future Leelanau County that none of us may ever see – but that we will have worked together to preserve for future generations.

– Summer, 2006

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