Planned Giving Legacy Stories
Paul and Phyllis
Paul Gilbertson remembers the first time he was introduced to stewardship as a small child. His father, who was a country pastor, had a tithing box that he would carry from house to house. Paul remembers learning the importance of that box and of all that it held. If the weekly allowance wouldn’t stretch, he could take a loan from the “Tithing Box.” The loan would always have to be paid bock and recorded in the little black book. It was a simple part of his childhood that grew into a lifelong passion for stewarding his resources well alongside his wife Phyllis.
“Everything we do can be seen through that lens of stewardship,” Paul says. “When I give blood, that’s an act of my stewardship. When we recycle, that’s an act of our stewardship. As we make out a pledge to our church, it’s one but not the only act of our stewardship. When we plan our will and how we plan to dispose of our earthly goods, it’s an act of our stewardship. There isn’t anything that we can talk about that isn’t an act of our stewardship.”
Paul and Phyllis got involved with Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains (LFSRM) in the mid-1970s as Paul was the pastor of a local church. They learned more about programs and volunteering, and gave financially each week. As they had children and continued to give, their belief that stewardship is modeled grew stronger.
With three children, Paul and Phyllis decided that they should regard their stewardship as their “fourth child.” It went along with their lifelong pursuit of stewardship and of leaving a legacy of giving with their children- all four of them. “LFSRM is the local, Colorado-based organization that does what we think the Church needs to be doing, the Christian people need to be doing. Caring about others,” Paul says regarding LFSRM as a fourth child. It is a sign of their continuing participation and partnership in the ministry of LFSRM, one that will last long after they are gone. And it will continue in perpetuity- the Gilbertson’s were able to set up a fund that will continue to grow and benefit LFSRM and two other organizations they chose. It’s a gift that will continue to be a testament to their legacy of stewardship and generosity.
The Gilbertson’s believe that stewardship is a gift of baptism, and it is woven into who they are as Christians. They believe that generosity is a characteristic of who we are as people. “Stewardship isn’t a matter of trying to make people generous. It’s trying to help them exercise the generosity that they already possess.” Their own journey to participate in social ministries has led to their compassion impacting thousands of lives.
Tim and Jeanne
Over the past few years, you could find the Tim and Jeanne Maloney doing a number of different things for Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains- coordinating Angel Tree and the Thanksgiving Drive at their church, serving on the gala committee, and dreaming up even better ways to serve alongside their congregation. More recently, the Maloney’s have been a part of the LFSRM Cultural Mentoring Program, where they were partnered with a Congolese family that recently moved to Denver, and have been able to form a reciprocal connection.
“They call us family,” says Jeanne regarding the refugee family they have walked alongside for a year and a half. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, the Maloney’s had the unique ability to walk alongside this family as they navigated the changing culture around them. One of the daughters was set to start elementary school. “When Kindergarten started it was online, and the little girl doesn’t really speak English- they speak Swahili at home. So four of us, for three weeks, were with her every day from 8am until 2pm at her house sitting with her on the computer with her so that she could start Kindergarten. Which was pretty special, because she didn’t go to preschool! She doesn’t know her ABCs. So to sit in front of a screen would’ve been useless. And now she’s in school and she’s doing great!”
When the Maloney’s made the decision to start supporting nonprofit organizations financially, LFSRM was an obvious choice. Jeanne shares that the compelling and amazing work they had been able to witness and partake in led to a natural desire to want to give. As the Maloney’s contemplated different ideas, their financial planner let them know that giving stock directly to LFSRM would help avoid unnecessary taxes and make their gift go either further! Tim and Jeanne always thought that giving stock to a charitable cause was for retired people or for people who were very wealthy. However, LFSRM staff were able to help them easily make the transfer, and they were better able to maximize their giving.
“It sounds really intimidating and it sounds like it’s for people who are millionaires, but it can make sense for common folk too,” they share about their overall experience.
The Maloney’s are a deeply important part of our LFSRM community, and we are thankful for the legacy they are creating for themselves.