CEO Bryan Bashin walking with cane on Market St.

The gift that took 42 years to arrive

Sometimes the most impactful act is to set an intention: “I want to support the lives of blind people,” for instance. And even if a gift isn’t given immediately, it can have a powerful effect. Last week, we were touched and honored to find out about an gift that was dedicated to the blindness community more than four decades ago – only to find its way to our doorstep this year.

Jessie Strickland wanted to leave a lasting impact – and so she planned a gift. Upon her passing in 1976, her estate plan outlined support for two causes: the well-being of her daughter, Jessie Marsh, and their family’s local blindness organizations (one in Ohio and the other in California). Strickland’s estate was considerable and the trust sustained her daughter, Jessie Marsh, beyond her lifetime – with some funds remaining to meet a second purpose upon Marsh’s passing in 2016.

A few weeks ago we got a call from a representative at the Bank of the West. They informed us that the original blindness organizations named in the estate plan no longer operated, and in fact had been out of business for years. In these cases, the bank has a fiduciary responsibility to select a replacement organization that carries out the same mission.

The bank had called to notify us that we, along with the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Ohio, were the recipients of Ms. Strickland’s remaining estate. The funds, distributed evenly to the two organizations, amounted to a $412,513 gift for the LightHouse. This is an incredibly generous gift by every measure, and even more remarkable is the path it took to get to us.

This contribution, and others like it, will help the LightHouse and Enchanted Hills support programs that are otherwise hard to fund. Support for white cane travel, learning braille and other vital skills are scarce. The Strickland bequest will enable us to help people who are new to blindness, adapt to their changing vision, gain confidence to re-engage with the world and  meet a community of support. We did not know Ms. Strickland, but we thank her and her family with all our hearts and know that this bequest will live up to the original intention of so many years ago.

To learn more about leaving a legacy to the LightHouse or Enchanted Hills through your estate plans, please contact 415-694-7333 or jsachs@lighthouse-sf.org.

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