A self-proclaimed “pseudo-parent” invests in the next generation through strategic legacy gifts and support of Hudson Hospital Foundation’s behavioral health initiatives.
Pete might not be what comes to mind when you picture a “philanthropist.”
He’s a normal guy with an infectious laugh, who’s totally at home grabbing appetizers and drinks with friends or hitting the golf course. Pete doesn’t have kids–but he’s highly invested in the lives of those around him.
Pete spent 19 years in a corporate setting, where he took advantage of structured, formal ways for employees to volunteer and give financially. Then he moved back to Hudson to be nearer to family and make a career change. As he took care of the practical pieces of the move, he knew he also wanted to give back to the community that had helped launch him, and do it in a way that was all his own.
“I just started asking around and looking for my own opportunities to get involved,” Pete recalls. “I quickly realized that the Hudson Hospital Foundation (HHF) does a lot more than just support the hospital. It gives scholarships to nurses and creates practical programs, but gets at, ‘How do we better the health of the community?’ I was attracted to their outward-facing components.” He volunteered for their event committees to get more involved, eventually becoming a board member for the foundation. He found out about a partnership HHF had launched with Apex Legacy Consultants to offer supporters a comprehensive legacy planning experience.
“I had done some legacy planning before, but it had never been comprehensive or about my goals. It was always very basic, transactional, and focused on tax-efficiency,” Pete says. But even without a nuclear family of his own, the conversation struck a nerve. He explains that when his very values-driven and community-minded father passed away, there was a plan in place for his estate. His father had often talked about charities he supported, but the family was largely left to make decisions on his behalf regarding how much to give charitably after his passing. Pete couldn’t help but wonder if his dad would have done things differently if he had gone through a more structured gift planning program such as Apex. “I had never been exposed to people like Apex who would help you plan out your intentions for when you die. Attorneys help define a will–and the mechanics of what will happen when–but that’s the extent of it. With Apex, we talked through how I wanted to handle the values and relational components of my plan.”
He loved the step-by-step guided experience, which helped him realize he could give to beneficiaries––and also give significantly to charities like HHF.
“I’m realizing that at my age, and not having kids–and I may not ever have kids…but I love my family and friends. I know their character. I want to be a teacher and ‘pseudo-parent’ for their kids,” Pete says. He realized that he could be intentional about his estate, setting up strategic gifts to directly benefit those closest to him, and also give to organizations that he trusts to make a positive difference in their lives, holistically, for the long-haul. “It’s kind of my way of instilling my parents’ values down to the next generation.”
One of Pete’s specific worries about the next generation is bullying and the added pressures that come from social media. “How do we get mental health under control for our youth? We continually hear news stories about someone who’s been bullied through social media, driving them into depression and in the worst cases, committing suicide. I hear heartbreaking stories from my friends with kids,” he explains. “If my neighbors need help, they can find food and practical resources. But what I don’t see as much is how people, especially young people, can get help with mental health. Those services are just not as visible or readily accessible.”
Through the legacy planning program, Pete was able to map out different legacy scenarios, incorporating different charitable tools and considering his potential long-term impact on specific people and causes.
“It was enjoyable. It was less intimidating than I thought it would be, and fun to learn about vehicles that I didn’t know existed. ‘Fun’ sounds weird when you’re talking about death, but it really was fun to think about what could happen because of my estate,” Pete adds. He ultimately chose to incorporate charitable remainder trusts and a testamentary donor-advised fund which will be managed by his loved ones. It’ll give his favorite young people the “keys” to a portion of his estate set aside specifically for charity, and give them a chance to continue his legacy long after he’s gone. “I love the idea of my beneficiaries coming together each year to talk about how they want to give in my honor.”
He’s also set aside a bequest gift for Hudson Hospital Foundation to use specifically to further its mental health programs. In the wake of COVID, the foundation has renewed its commitment to making mental health support more accessible, and visible, within the community. There’s a “Zero Suicide” initiative at the hospital, which includes training and escalation and referral protocols for staff to utilize when a patient demonstrates signs of mental health struggles.
“We want to bring it to the community–more widely–and normalize programs like this,” says Tessa Boury, Hudson Hospital Foundation Director. She adds that there’s a new behavioral health “televideo” referral program through the emergency department so people in and near Hudson–who come to the hospital for a clinical need but also struggle with mental health–can receive free therapy services. Boury notes that donors like Pete, and others making long-term commitments to the foundation, are the backbone of new programs like this.
“Who knows….maybe in 10 years, we’ll have all of this solved!” Pete says. “In the meantime, it’s made me focus more on saving. When you see what you could do, and the impact your life and estate could have, you start to think about the things you don’t need. I’ve got the long-term picture in mind, and my priorities are changing. This program has given me peace of mind and helped me identify practical ways to live out my values and impact my family a bit more–even after I’m gone.”