Gil and Pat Davis are grateful to live in a city that offers the cultural events they enjoy—theater, opera, libraries. And while they want to support those causes in the future, they have chosen to give many of their gifts in the present.
“I think it’s nice to give money away while you’re alive,” said Pat. “It’s our way of showing appreciation for a community that’s been good to us… and we want to experience the joy and fun of giving.”
One of their favorite ways to give is through Grand Rapids Community Foundation charitable gift annuities. A gift annuity gives back now with tax benefits and lifetime payments, and will continue giving in perpetuity as part of an endowment fund.
“It’s the perfect instrument for what we wanted to do,” said Gil. “And it saved having to get into the stock market… which is becoming more and more burdensome.”
They have designated their annuities at Grand Rapids Community Foundation to benefit the Community Foundation’s general fund, as well as endowed funds at GRCF that benefit American Red Cross, Kent County Humane Society, Opera Grand Rapids, and Grand Rapids Ballet.
“We figure the money is going to go to the organizations anyway,” Gil said. “This way, we spare the executor some work.”
The Davises began their charitable work when Gil was a professor at Grand Valley State University and Pat was teaching gourmet cooking classes. Pat had completed her English degree as a part-time student at Wayne State University, and wanted to establish scholarships for students in similar situations. Since then, they have established a scholarship for part-time students at Wayne State, as well as for English majors at Grand Valley State University and for students in the culinary program at Grand Rapids Community College.
But rather than considering their generosity a sacrifice, they count it as one of life’s luxuries.
“We’re not extravagant,” said Gil. “We think we live pretty well, but still there’s a surplus… why not put that back into the community so others can have some richness in their lives?”