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The Impact of Planned Giving

Emily Messegee

CFP®, MBA, Wealth Advisor, Director


A Wealth Advisor’s personal story of planned nonprofit giving impacts past, current, and future generations.

Woman doing charity work

When I think of legacies, I think of my moral compass, cultivating prosperity, and sowing seeds that future generations can reap. My personal experience with planned giving began decades ago and is still playing out to this day — and I hope for many generations beyond me.

I first heard of Junior League while living in Washington State in my mid-20s, and I must admit that it sounded like a glorified sorority. Fast-forward a decade (or so), and I found myself in Denver looking for opportunities to serve my new community as a returned Peace Corps volunteer. I came across the Junior League of Denver (JLD) through a Google search for “volunteer organizations in my area,” and after thorough research and an in-person informational session, my stereotype dissolved. I realized that the organization had an incredibly positive impact on its community, and I joined.

In 2018, Denver’s Junior League celebrated its 100th Year. It is not a coincidence that the League launched the year prior to the ratification of the U.S. Constitution’s 19th amendment, which prohibited states from denying women the right to vote.1 It would take pages to list the landmark initiatives launched, participated in, or funded by the JLD. Without the JLD and its trained civic leaders, there would likely be no Little Free Libraries, no Denver Children’s Museum, no public preschool, and no full-day kindergarten. The League has provided over 100 years of collective volunteerism, campaigning for the rights of women and children, and training women to be civic leaders. Its impact is immeasurable. I share all this information to illustrate how philanthropic giving can alter the course of history for the better.

The longevity and viability of the League can be attributed to the dedication, hard work, and foresight of its leaders to launch the Junior League of Denver Foundation (JLDF) over 30 years ago, and especially to the donors that have helped support and sustain the Foundation from its inception, particularly through planned giving. While the League itself has numerous fundraisers and receives direct donations, its Foundation contributes a significant portion of the League’s operating budget each year and is the sustaining lifeblood of operations.

The Foundation mission “represents the long-term development strategy to ensure the continued vitality of the JLD and… [promote] voluntarism, contributing to the community and training nonprofit leadership in Denver.”2 The Foundation enables longevity of the organization; to train women to lead and serve for potentially another 100-plus years. Continued donations provide funding for initiatives supporting equity for women and children.

I recently had the pleasure of attending an emeritus luncheon annual event honoring current members and alumni committed to supporting the Foundation with planned gifts. For example, a planned gift can be an outright donation through a will, listing the Foundation as a beneficiary on a retirement account or life insurance policy, or designating the Foundation as a trust benefactor.

I was seated next to an alum now in her mid-80s at the event. She was fit, friendly, and stylish; pulling out her iPhone from a very on-trend Prada backpack. We chatted about her family, where she lives, and her ties to the organization. She then mentioned attending Austin’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival and her relationship with the creator of a mobile DJ vehicle that uses artificial intelligence to read crowds and mix music. Again, another stereotype shattered; here is a thriving woman in her 80s living her best life and jet-setting to music festivals with early adopter developer friends. Let’s be honest: she was making my life feel, well, a little boring. She also proactively dedicated a portion of her financial legacy to the longevity of the League. There were five attendees at the luncheon well into their 90s that were fully engaged and aware of the significance and the impact that their dedication and commitment will have on future generations. The experience was inspiring.

While planned giving can perpetuate the purpose and mission of nonprofits in the here and now, it can also have positive impacts for decades and centuries to come. If you have questions about how to create a legacy for nonprofits you support, please reach out to your Wealth Advisor.

1 “Women’s Suffrage in Colorado.” Wikipedia, 15 May 2023.
2 Junior League of Denver,, August 31, 2021.

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