The Generational Impact of Planned Giving

Planned gifts enable future generations of Greeners who will inherit the work of building a more just, equitable, and sustainable society to earn college degrees and achieve their dreams.
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Generational Impact of Planned Giving
Planned gifts impact generations of Greeners to come

For nearly fifty years, The Evergreen State College has prepared creative minds to make a lasting impact on the world. Today, Greeners in communities around the globe are helping carry that promise forward as compassionate citizens. Comprised of educators, artists, business leaders, public servants, environmentalists and beyond, Greeners are making a difference. That legacy of impact is made possible in part because of donors who have chosen to invest in the future of Evergreen.  

Donors like John Hennessey.  

Since graduating from Evergreen in 1977, John has made a difference for countless others. As an investor, he has helped entrepreneurs launch small businesses. As a past chair of the Foundation board of governors, he has nurtured support for Evergreen’s mission and strategic initiatives. As a donor and graduate, he has generously supported scholarships and the Student Emergency Fund.  

Scholarships provide vital tuition-relief, expanding access to education for those in need, while the Student Emergency Fund offers a lifeline during moments of unexpected hardship, allowing students to stay in school and graduate on time. In a challenging year like 2020, opportunities to create an enduring community of support became more important than ever.  

In times of uncertainty, some donors are updating their wills and trusts, often seeking a way to leave a legacy for their families, friends, and communities. John understands that spirit of generosity – the desire to help others carried by Greeners of all ages. That’s why he decided to make his most significant gift to Evergreen – one that will enable other Greeners to leave their legacies.  

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John Hennessey, Class of 1977
John Hennessey, Class of 1977
Past Chair, The Evergreen State College Foundation Board of Governors

In 2020, John pledged $1 million to formalize Evergreen’s planned giving program with half of the gift in the form of a five-year pledge and the other half made through his estate. Planned gifts – also known as legacy gifts, deferred gifts, and estate gifts – allow donors to ensure their generosity lasts beyond their lifetimes. In short, planned gifts like the one John made enable future generations of Greeners to earn college degrees and achieve their dreams.  

John’s $1 million gift established a planned giving officer position, a role longtime Evergreen staff member Helle Burlingame, MPA '20 has readily embraced. “When you leave a planned gift to The Evergreen State College Foundation, you create a lasting legacy reflecting your values and care for the students, innovative programs, and focus on equality and justice that make Evergreen special.”  

As a planned giving officer, Helle will help donors navigate the decision-making process of making a legacy gift through a gift vehicle such as: will, trust, life insurance policy, IRA (and other retirement plans), stock, real estate property and other personal property. The million-dollar gift will enable Helle to partner with friends of Evergreen to develop their own planned gifts that will benefit Greeners who will inherit the work of building a more just, equitable, and sustainable society.  

“So much of what I know, and so much of what I value, I owe in large part to my time at Evergreen,” says John. “What I learned decades ago is still with me today in everything I do. I am honored to be a part of Evergreen’s history and to help ensure its vibrant future by inspiring others to join me. I firmly believe every person we help today has a chance to help other people tomorrow.”  

The world faces incredible challenges. Social unrest, political division, and a global pandemic have tested the Evergreen community and beyond. However, Greeners are also a source of hope. They are ready to help the college, the state, and the nation persevere. But they cannot do it alone – and there will be more challenges to face. That’s why creating a legacy of impact is so important.  

The power of giving is seen every time a grant from the Student Emergency Fund helps a single mother pursue her dream of becoming a psychologist, every time a scholarship helps a born leader train to be a mentor for youth facing poverty and racism, and every time someone in the community is lifted by an Evergreen graduate.  

Now, thanks to John’s planned gift, the power of giving is demonstrated every time a Greener is able to leave a legacy of impact.