May is Leave a Legacy Month

Charity is good for you and our community.

According to the Public Health Agency, giving to others stimulates the reward areas in the brain, and seeing others benefit from our actions instills a sense of thankfulness for the gifts we have to offer, research shows that giving in all its forms, not only benefits those you help, but also instills feelings of improved well-being, which is linked to happiness, health, and social bonds.  Studies have also shown that giving is beneficial for combating stress, depression, and anxiety and serves to keep you mentally stimulated, improve your self-confidence, and provide you with a sense of purpose.

As mothers, fathers, and community members we are leaving our imprints on our community. Our legacies are about learning from the past, living in the present, and building for the future. Brandon Lee said, “Immortality is to live your life doing good things and leaving your mark behind.”  Being charitable will help educate your children about the impact of giving back to the community.  Children watch everything you do, so, by following your example, it will give them first-hand experience of the benefits of being charitable.

May is Leave a Legacy month and we ask, what do you believe could be your greatest gift to benefit our community? What is the legacy you would like to leave? Leaving behind a legacy means making an impact that will last long after you die. It could be financial, with something you create through the Foundation, or through the people, you touch while you are alive. Do you have a skill to share or a story to tell? Do you have a passion for education, art, or helping disadvantaged children? You can leave a legacy by working for the welfare of your neighbors in your hometown. You can make a difference!

Thinking that only wealthy people can leave a legacy, is not true. You do not have to be wealthy to be kind, passionate, responsible, or show generosity.

Bernice Duncan, a Tecumseh resident, gave her family heirlooms to her sister and niece in Florida and left her home to the Lenawee Community Foundation. Her legacy was unrestricted, however, the Foundation set aside funds, and utilizes the earnings every year to award a scholarship, named after the Duncan family. Think about the people, causes, and organizations you care about. What gifts do you have to share with others? Would you like to do something special in memory of a loved one?

Leaving a great legacy is not about what you have accumulated in physical assets, wealth, or accomplishments. These are just yardsticks. Rather, it is how you can use what you have, to improve what you see happening around you, and then help those people who will carry that work on into the future.

When you leave a legacy, not only do you improve the quality of life for others, but you also improve the quality of life for yourself. Now and forever.

Additional information about the Lenawee Community Foundation or any of its programs or services can be acquired by calling 517.263.4696.

The Lenawee Community Foundation works to assist people in creating legacies and investing in Lenawee. You can donate $30 to send Imagination Library books to a preschool child for a year; volunteer; leave 10% in your will or trust to benefit Lenawee; endow annual gifts to your favorite nonprofits or make gifts or bequests for your hometown. Contact the Foundation for help in creating your legacy. Gifts and legacies work for Lenawee County. Now and forever.


Cynthia Heady is the Director of Development & External Engagement of the Lenawee Community Foundation  Paula Trentman, Vice President & Program Manager of the Lenawee Community Foundation . Your Community Foundation assists individuals, corporations, and organizations in fulfilling their charitable goals for our community. For information on how to get involved with the Lenawee Community Foundation and help to build a better community, call 517.263.4696. We look forward to collaborating with you.