Living your purpose, leaving your legacy
Through thoughtful estate planning, your legacy can have powerful community impacts for years to come
Brought to you by the Yampa Valley Community Foundation
To most people, the word “legacy” implies big, highly visible actions. They probably think of wealthy philanthropists like Warren Buffet, Andrew Carnegie or Charles Bronfman. However, you don’t need to have your name on a library or the wing of a hospital to make a huge impact locally and beyond.
The best way to start thinking about your legacy is to ask yourself “what do you want to do beyond your lifetime?” When you ask yourself this question, what is your initial response?
One example of a modest individual who has left a great impact in the Yampa Valley is the late Routt County resident Robert J. Welborn. He bequeathed his Steamboat residence and an automobile to the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, for which the Foundation later liquidated to create an endowed scholarship fund. This fund provides in perpetuity renewable four-year scholarships to Routt and Moffat County students pursuing a degree in the trades, engineering, or the sciences.
Per the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, the Robert Welborn Scholarship has awarded 22 scholarships to date. Beyond scholarships, his legacy had an immediate impact to improve community resources offered to students in the Yampa Valley. Part of his estate was gifted directly to the Babson-Carpenter Career and Technical Education Center in Hayden. The Center provides courses directed toward junior and senior students from Hayden, Steamboat Springs and Oak Creek who are interested in basic civil and structural engineering concepts, terminology and practice.
“The quality of our programs is a result of people like Robert Welborn who recognize that our school systems have an obligation to produce students who are college ready as well as career ready,” said Kevin Kleckler, Career and Technical Education Director.
Yampa Valley Community Foundation Executive Director Mark Andersen said, “Our organization is proud to have had the opportunity to facilitate these gifts on Welborn’s behalf. His vehicle was also donated to the Center where automotive and welding program students practiced engine maintenance and then sold the car with the proceeds purchasing $6,500 of tools and equipment for the Center. This is a great example on how we can assure your intimate and desired legacy lives on beyond one’s lifetime.”
Mark Andersen continued to explain, “What sets this community apart from other mountain communities is our values and our community. In the Yampa Valley, many people would like to be quiet about the wonderful things they do. The Yampa Valley Community Foundation works with locals and part-time residents directly to ensure and deliver on their desired legacy.”
Doug and Heidi Shurtleff are two of the members of the Yampa Valley Community Foundation’s Sleeping Giant Society, which honors individuals who have committed to supporting the community beyond their lifetimes. The Shurtleffs developed a formula for what they intend to leave to their nieces and nephews, with their primary goal being to sufficiently fund their education. Beyond that, they had some homework to do.
“I think we have a philosophy — why fund nieces and nephews in a way that maybe they never have to work again? That’s not our objective. Our objective is give them best opportunities for education and relieve their parents of that burden,” Doug Shurtleff said. “Beyond that, our goal was to fund charitable causes that we believe in and we think are well run.”
One of those charities is the Yampa Valley Community Foundation. As part-time Steamboat Springs residents for the last 12 years, they’ve developed a great appreciation for what the Foundation does for the community.
“The Foundation is operated in a very professional manner, supporting many, many causes throughout the valley at different levels,” Doug Shurtleff said. “It also is the conduit — if you make a donation directly to the Botanical Gardens, for example, it gets channeled through the Foundation. We like the process they go through in identifying different beneficiaries in the community.”
The Shurtleffs’ motive was not grandeur recognition, but the knowledge and intention behind their gift. Doug and Heidi hope their work on this planet will remain meaning and helpful.
“This is a wonderful example of how individuals and families who live and play in the Yampa Valley can contribute to their communities through the Yampa Valley Community Foundation using our specialized services and expertise,” Andersen said.
Legacy gifts ensure that passions and interests will continue to be shared and addressed after your lifetime. The Foundation accepts all kinds of legacy gifts and no gift is too small. Becoming a member of the Sleeping Giant Society is simple — include the Yampa Valley Community Foundation as a beneficiary of a gift from your estate and notify the Foundation of your plan.
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