For Día de Los Muertos, Mexicans build “ofrendas” envisioning a joyful comingling of past and present spirits with photos and memories, but most crucially with the ongoing stewardship of sacred legacies that join the living and the dead. Favorite passed down recipes are lovingly cooked and provided to both the living and dead; loving stories are retold, underlining the flow of gifts received that pass down to the next generation.
At Jóvenes Adelante we think of “Legacy Giving” as an ofrenda. Regular giving to support ongoing good works or to immediately respond to a singular crisis, allows us to experience human community. Often more philanthropic in scope, legacy giving “pays back” what has been given us of good fortune, honors someone, and joins us closely to those who come after us.
Jóvenes Adelante is grateful to the Jewish Cultural and Community Center of San Miguel de Allende (JC3) for facilitating this anonymous legacy bequest in Marcia’s honor, creating an ofrenda connecting Marcia’s commitment and spirit of education with students in San Miguel de Allende.
An adventurous and energetic force and philanthropist, Marcia Herman was a born teacher who relished her connection with students. For 35 years she taught in New York City schools – specifically Bronx and Chelsea middle schools. She held Master’s degrees in both math and psychology. As an entrepreneur and writer Marcia started the math edition for Scholastic magazines. In addition to her teaching and activism in the Jewish and arts community, Marcia led overland tours between England and Afghanistan.
Bonnie was a person with a creative streak a mile wide and a heart as big. Though she was a part of the San Miguel scene for only a short time, she loved it and donated generously to a number of local causes including Jovenes Adelante, Niños con Autismo de San Miguel de Allende and Feed the Hungry SMA to name a few.
Bonnie worked for many years at Sears, becoming a Senior Buyer in Apparel where her pioneering streak took her on solo trips to Pakistan and other parts East. In 1989, she left to start her own creative wholesale business called Quilters’ Resource Inc., selling specialty items for quilting and embroidery within the US and around the world. The business was sold 12 years later.
Bonnie retired and made her winter home here in San Miguel and continued her charitable ways both in San Miguel and in SW Michigan.
“To better the world we need to change hearts with love and minds with education.”
Former L.A. City Council President Pat Russell, first woman elected to post .
She was happiest when she was mentoring young women, relishing the time she spent with high school students through a program that invited them to spend a day with their elected representatives.
Polly Harding, formerly of Maine, Rhode Island and Florida, was a strong believer in the value of education. She and her husband Harold dedicated their early lives to ensuring that their son Bill could benefit from a University degree. Later she continued to promote the value of education.
She worked in banking which was the perfect match for her mathematical aptitude and people skills. Over the years she enjoyed playing cards, golfing, cooking, working with stained glass, traveling, and fishing. She moved to San Miguel in 2018. At SofyCares she was noted for her prowess with jigsaw puzzles which she introduced to the team. She also enjoyed playing YamSlam. More recently she took up dominos and word search games.
Mary Susan Crampton a gal with a big, hearty laugh, a generous heart, and a loyal friend to many. And with her passing in 2017, additionally a legacy gift to the children of San Miguel.
Legacy, or planned giving is built over time. Small or large, a legacy gift is often a house in SMA or large portion of an estate after family members are provided for, or a modest bequest in honor of a loved one. To plan a legacy donation well in Mexico requires 2 things:
First, taking care of business. Mexico has inheritance, not estate taxes (unlike the US.) The recipient pays any taxes due, not the estate first. Non profits are exempt. Left intestate in Mexico, your local assets will end up in legal limbo for a long time. With no other legal heirs determined, the state-level heir of last resort will be the University of Guanajuato. Sadly, recent articles in the press accurately describe how easily such estates can end up with disputed claims, or the apparent influence of corruption – quickly creating ugly scenarios. Even if, in the end, a donor’s intent is followed, the waste of time, legal hassles and resources can diminish the legacy. Instead, one avoids problems by creating a Mexican will written for a home here (for example) registered by a Notario (not an attorney) and naming account beneficiaries on all local bank accounts. Naming a local executor adds security…
Second, due diligence. Is a non profit sustainable over time? If considering a public institution – a university or a cultural center – do you know the bureaucracy and pitfalls that may impact your intentions on a municipal, state or federal level?
At Jóvenes Adelante, as we honor Day of the Dead – especially poignant during and after the Covid years – we want you to know that we can help if you are considering a legacy bequest. Your legacy may be simple or complex, but it benefits from planning, due diligence, transparency and not acting in haste during a crisis. Such a gift to Jóvenes Adelante helps ensure that your spirit will live on via new life stories of students whose lives, families and communities will be forever changed by your gift of higher education.