Bill & Emmy Reese – Making Philanthropy a Family Value
Bill Reese, a physicist and former Naval Postgraduate School professor, and Emmy, a visual artist, met in college in Portland, Oregon. Married 58 years, their values influenced one another over time. They didn’t want to focus on themselves, but rather the larger society and the world around them.
Immersed in Causes They Care About
When they were younger, they gave more time than money. Emmy was a counselor with La Leche League and The Childbirth Education League and also volunteered for the SPCA’s wildlife rehabilitation program. Bill was president of the local Audubon Society and was part of the core group that successfully campaigned for the establishment of the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District. They have both been involved in environmental causes for many years.
In 1993 they returned to the Monterey Peninsula after several years in Washington, D.C. They have lived modestly, traveled widely and “had some good luck,” accumulating enough resources for a comfortable future. Over the last 25 years, their desire has grown to have “some sort of impact on society into the future,” and they set a goal of giving a significant portion of their estate to help others.
A CRT as a Way to Give
Their first major philanthropic commitment was to establish a Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT), a vehicle which enabled them to contribute highly appreciated assets, receive tax advantages and extra income for themselves in their lifetime, and support causes that are important to them. They are pleased that “something good will come out of it.”
Simplifying with a Donor Advised Fund
“We were not keen on taking on the administrative load. We established a donor advised fund so we could achieve our goals and also involve our daughters. We wanted to give them access to philanthropic resources to allow them to strengthen their giving muscles and encourage them in that way.” – Bill and Emmy Reese
Making Giving a Family Value
They have two grown daughters, Lark and Ellen. Both are busy professionally, and with their families. “They’ve developed similar values to our own, which pleases us very much,” says Bill. He explains “they are full partners in the family fund, each in her own way.”
Bill and Emmy feel it’s worked very well.
I’m a strategic, long-term planner by nature. We wanted to involve the girls to the extent their time and ability allowed to help develop their own philanthropic visions. The fund allows us to take a strategic versus a tactical approach to giving.” – Bill Reese
Bill, Emmy and their daughters each recommend one quarter of the grants made each year. Their interests include the environment, human needs, social justice and animal welfare. “We’ve enjoyed it and we hope our girls will pass the torch and involve their children.”
“We’ve had a lot of good fortune. We feel it’s important to at least try to make the world a little bit better. We owe it to society around us to help it along. If you can do some good, do it!”
For more information about ways to involve your family in giving, please contact Christine Dawson, Vice President of Philanthropic Services at 831.375.9712 x126.