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Lee Gatta, CLU®, ChFC®, AEP®

My husband Joe and I have been so blessed by the support we have received over the years from the Syracuse and Central New York community. We decided to pay that support forward by establishing a charitable giving plan through the Central New York Community Foundation. We had our sights set on a charitable gift much larger than we were comfortable contributing now, so we decided to use a life insurance policy to achieve our goal.

We chose a policy with terms that fit with our goals, and the Community Foundation agreed to own and be the beneficiary of the policy. Though the Community Foundation owns the policy, we are eligible to receive a tax deduction for our donation to them of the annual premium payments. The flexibility of life insurance – including premium amount, frequency of payments and face amount - allows this option to be tailored to each donor’s unique situation.

When I pass away, the policy will fund the Lee M. Gatta and Joe Reddick Family Fund, which will provide continued support in the Central New York community for issues that are of primary importance to us: the support of women and girls through the work of the Women’s Fund of Central New York and eldercare coordination and support.

I was introduced to the Women’s Fund, an affiliate fund of the Community Foundation, and asked to serve on its governance council as a way to honor my sister-in-law, Joanne Reddick, after her death. I enjoy being around other women who share the passion for serving our community, so it was a perfect fit for me. The Women’s Fund supports programs that promote self-sufficiency for women and girls. In particular, it focuses on helping young girls to understand that the world is open to them and they can do whatever they choose to do. None of us would have gotten where we are today without somebody in our lives to encourage and mentor us, and many of the young people in our community do not have that. The Women’s Fund is helping to fill that gap and we are devoted to helping them achieve their goals.

We are equally passionate about support for eldercare. My husband and I became caregivers for my mother after she had her third stroke, which blinded her and caused some paralysis. Anyone who has cared for an elderly friend, neighbor or family member knows the stress and difficulty that accompanies this labor of love. Caregivers need assistance navigating the range of services available to them. Perhaps more importantly, they need help bypassing the bureaucracies that surround services and benefits so that they can secure the help they deserve. It is for these reasons that the portion of our fund designated for eldercare coordination and support will include assistance with selecting, securing and managing care options, as well as respite care and support services for family members serving as primary caregivers. We would like to provide opportunities that lighten the load for those that carry so much responsibility for the care of another.

The Community Foundation was ideally suited to help us identify and carry out our charitable vision Their staff are phenomenal professionals to work with. When you work with them, you are comforted in knowing that they are very knowledgeable and will take care of the execution of your plan without having to worry about it.

If you're interested in legacy giving, learn more here.

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