It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as President of the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind Foundation. In March, I will be handing the position over to Howie Dickerman¸ who will bring passion, special skills, and unique resources to enhance the mission of the Foundation. My tenure in this position – and the successes in the past year in particular – have been important and moving.
One of my proudest accomplishments has been building up our organization’s Legacy Society. Planned gifts provide an ongoing and meaningful commitment for donors and their families, as well as for Lighthouse employees as it supports our Employee and Community Services.
I cannot emphasize enough the impact of planned gifts – a significant bequest gift this past year resulted in our organization having one of its best years ever in terms of charitable funds raised. Our mission also benefited from successful special events, growth in our major donor base, and the ongoing support of companies and foundations.
In addition to volunteering as a leader for the Lighthouse, I am also a member of the Legacy Society. I hope you will remember that to become a Lighthouse Legacy Society member, all that’s necessary is to indicate that you’ve named the Seattle Lighthouse Foundation as a beneficiary in a will or annuity. This year we are planning additional seminars on planned giving that will be educational and informative in helping you plan your estate.
The importance of forward-looking donors and of our mission was underscored at our recent Holiday Breakfast event honoring our friends and supporters. Our guest speaker was Cyrus Habib of the law firm Perkins Coie. Cyrus is an attorney who lost his sight at an early age, –and who is an inspiration. His advocacy includes landmark efforts to make US currency accessible to blind individuals. As a child entering a new school, teachers stopped Cyrus from climbing up onto the playground equipment – they were concerned that he would hurt himself because of his blindness. His mother advocated for him by saying this to the school administrators: “I can fix a broken arm. But I can’t fix a broken spirit.”
Not everyone has a great advocate like Cyrus’ mother – but thanks to the long-term support of our annual donors, our institutional funders, and our Legacy Society members, we are able to keep spirits strong for our community of employees who are blind, Deaf-Blind, or blind with other disabilities.
Thank you for partnering with me and the rest of the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind Foundation Board in making our important work possible.
President, Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind Foundation