Many Historians contend that one of the most uniquely talented and wisest men in human history was King Solomon. Among many thoughtful things he wrote “To Everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” Or put more simply “There are no re-runs of yesterdays, and changing needs in changing times often require changing directions.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt, as a healthy young man was afflicted with crippling Polio in the 1920’s. When I was a young boy in the 1930’s, Polio put fear in the hearts of both parents and children. A number of students in my class and throughout the elementary school were afflicted. Polio continued its march through the 30s 40s and 50s. Through the work of scientists like Drs. Saban and Salk, Polio was nearly erased beginning in the 1960s.
Only in recent times there are trials and new treatments of active cancers that may in time, by gene therapy, enable a patient to bypass the rigid and often taxing and uncertain results the requirements of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
The area of electronics and wireless communications change with new innovations seemingly almost daily. It’s difficult to imagine that what we call “The Smart Phone” which began with Apple’s “iPhone” in 2007 with continuing dramatic innovations. In this year, 2016, the number of Smart phones will be two billion users. (I’m not one, I am happy with the “Jitterbug.”) Facebook began in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg now has nearly 2 billion users. Twitter (140 character messages) began in 2006, and now has 500 million users. Yet instant communication is proving to have both blessings and curses.
In today’s world we are seeing change almost daily, which in the past may have taken decades or centuries. More often than not, for those of us who want to assist a particular cause or charity, now or in the future, we come to that decision based upon either a personal experience, observation of a need, or seeing positive results for a particular cause. Sometimes, it is just a desire to share with others some of the good fortune we’ve experienced by helping others. And yet what we see as the needs or efforts that we want to assist in today, may “in time” either no longer exist or have drastically changed so that the need has been muted. As a result of the rapidly and drastic changes occurring in this new century those who plan to leave a legacy beyond their lifetime may find that the needs which they sought to assist no longer exist today, or have drastically changed.
These changes can be anticipated or recognized by a Fund created during the Donor’s lifetime or at death with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation serve a particular cause or need, but with the additional provision that if the need or cause is no longer needed or relevant, the use of the Funds and grants can be shifted to current needs. For, in the words of the old popular love song, an endowed fund is “Is not for just a day, not for just a year, but Always.”
So, if you are considering creating a lifetime will or trust legacy, consider taking into account that the cause or community needs of tomorrow may be entirely different, doing so by adding the flexibility for changing needs in changing times. For more information on this type of gift, please feel free to contact the staff at the Foundation by calling 239 274- 5900.
John Sheppard is one of the founders of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976. The Foundation connects donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $93 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $63 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, it granted more than $3.2 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services, as well as provided regional community impact grants and scholarship grants.
As leaders, conveners, grant makers and concierges of philanthropy, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation fosters regional change for the common good in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties.