The School Nutrition Legacy Circle: Building Our Future, Together

As SNA members well know, school nutrition is a labor of love. Individuals who choose school nutrition as a career path do so for many reasons, but they stay on that path for just one—a belief that their work makes a difference in the lives of children on a daily basis. Every nutritious meal helps a student grow, learn, and thrive in the classroom; each breakfast, lunch, snack, or dinner, is another building block in a child’s journey toward a healthy, successful adulthood.

Just as we strive to build a better future for our students one meal at a time, we must also look at our profession and ask how we can build a better future for one another—and those school nutrition professionals who will come after us.

Our roles in the lives of students have never enjoyed such prominence—or scrutiny—and it is time to create a lasting, sustainable future to benefit our members. We are building an endowment fund where only a portion of the interest is available to spend annually and the principal, along with some of the interest, remains in the fund. With the help of our members, the School Nutrition Endowment Fund will benefit school nutrition professionals in years to come. We are introducing the School Nutrition Legacy Circle to recognize those who help us build the Endowment Fund by including a provision in their will, naming the Foundation as the beneficiary of a retirement plan or insurance policy, or other planned gift for the School Nutrition Foundation, and completing and returning the online intent form. That’s it—it is that easy; no up-front donation is necessary to become a Legacy Circle Member.

“There is a saying: The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you never expect to sit,” said Janet Hedrick, Director of Development for SNF. “Legacy Giving is the perfect way to secure endowment dollars. One thing we know about successful organizations is that they have endowments where they spend only the interest, or a portion of the interest, and keep that body of contributed dollars intact forever.”

Each year the Foundation conducts the fundraising necessary to offer SNA members scholarships from our Annual Fund. Along with donations from corporate sponsors, we rely on direct donations from our membership to help us reach our fundraising goals. In turn, we offer the educational and professional scholarships that help you reach your goals—but it’s time for something more sustainable. An endowment fund—where only a portion of the interest is spent, and the money from planned giving is held in perpetuity—is the answer.

“Planned dollars, or Legacy Giving, is one way to build up an endowment fund,” explained Janet. “Members have the ability, through this planning, to say, ‘I want to continue to support the things that were important to me during my lifetime.’ Say you give $100 a year to an organization. To make that money continue beyond your lifetime make a Legacy Gift that will generate that $100 in perpetuity. It’s like being able to make your annual gift even after you are gone.” With an interest rate of four percent, the amount needed to generate $100 is $2500.

“People have worked all their lives for their money, and the fact that they are going to trust us with it means we have to take good care of it,” Janet continued. “The best way for us to take care of it is to make sure it’s helping others in perpetuity.”

SNA member JoAnne Robinette has signed her intent form to become a member of the Legacy Circle after many years of giving annually to the Annual Fund. It’s a simple way to give back to the profession that has given her so much, and to SNF, that provided scholarships when she was a working single mom returning to school.

“I’ve supported the Annual Fund [with an annual donation] for a long time because I know it helped me get through when I didn’t have the money,” said JoAnne. “Because I was able to complete my degree, I was able to get a job that paid me a better salary, and I want to help other people have that same opportunity. I want to reach out a hand to help someone who was in the situation I was in; I had the desire to go to school but I didn’t have the money. If we have other members out there that want to make themselves better, that want to start or continue their education, the money shouldn’t be the thing that keeps them from going.”

To that end, JoAnne has decided to leave one percent of her total estate as her Legacy Giving plan. Through this planned gift to the organization, JoAnne can offer a lasting gift to the organization that helped her become a successful school nutrition professional.

“I’ve decided that I’m going to give one percent of my estate—it’s just one percent, but it’s one percent and it’s my percent!” laughed JoAnne. “When you do it as a percentage it’s so flexible. I have three children and everything will be split evenly, which is 33 percent; each of them will only missing one third of one percent. I think we should throw out the one percent challenge—it doesn’t hurt!”

Joining the Legacy Circle is an easy way to help build our shared legacy as school nutrition professionals. As we build healthy, strong children so should we build a healthy, strong endowment fund that will nourish the dreams of future SNA members. Visit the SNF website to learn more about planned giving and the Legacy Circle.

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