A Legacy of Family Giving

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How do you wish your life to be remembered? What legacy do you want to leave? These are the questions answered with effective estate planning. Generations of people have built our community’s endowment through planned gifts in their estate plans, demonstrating their love for their families and our community.


The Freihofer’s Story

Grand Rapids was at the heart of Walter and Susan’s giving and continues to be a priority for the Freihofer Family Fund. Their son Paul, his wife Caroline and their children understand the importance of family legacy. They know that you can honor a loved one through telling her story, sharing pieces of who he was as a person, and by continuing to promote the causes and passions that they held dear. One part of the Freihofer family legacy ties directly into philanthropy. “Giving back to our community is important because it carries on a tradition and a legacy left to us by my parents,” Paul says.

The Freihofer family knows that they are honoring Walter and Susan Freihofer’s philanthropic legacy. “We honor their legacy by sharing the same interests and continuing to support them through the grants we award. Like our parents, we primarily support the arts, animal protection, and environmental stewardship,” Paul says. Walter and Susan had intentional conversations with Paul about the importance of giving back to the community, and they made sure to craft an estate plan that included their planned giving desires. 

These may sound like simple tasks, but they ensured that their philanthropic passions for the community will be known for generations to come. By planning their estate documents in advance and directing their estate gift to their Donor Advised Fund, Walter and Susan gave Paul and his family confidence to know precisely how to honor their wishes during their time of grief.


Continuing the Heritage of Philanthropy

Paul and Caroline are able to continue that legacy through local giving. “We grew up in Grand Rapids, and we’re raising our children here. Our community has a heritage of philanthropy that we are proud to support. We recognize that even smaller gifts are very important to support organizations in our community that are important to us,” Paul says.

Paul and Caroline’s commitment to family legacy continues as they pass down this heritage. They know that eventually, their children will continue the legacy of family giving. They plan to teach them about the importance of philanthropy, and instruct them through their will about the causes that matter most to them. When the time comes Joe and Anna will be prepared to step into their shoes and continue the philanthropic work that their parents and grandparents did before them.   


Shape Your Legacy

The most common way to leave a gift at the end of your life is through a simple bequest in your will. But if the idea of a gift from your will conjures up visions of paperwork, attorney meetings and legalese, think again. It is quite simple to designate a portion of your estate to a cause you care about. Several kinds of assets can be designated for the community. Read more in this article “Simple and Inexpensive Ways to Do Good through Planned Giving.” Or, if you are ready to start organizing, head to www.grfoundation.org/love to download a free resource: My Personal, Charitable & Financial Record