Just about every one of us who comes into this work has the same question in mind: “What can I do to make a difference?” In the end it’s something that we each have to answer for ourselves. But there is no shortage of good examples in our midst.
Like Karen Greb’s.
Motivated by an article in All Animals magazine that opened her eyes to conditions on America’s factory farms, Karen made her first gift to the Humane Society of the United States in 2007 and joined the ranks of monthly donors not long after. But she wanted to do more than donate. In the years that followed, she collected signatures for successful ballot initiatives (she worked especially hard on the ballot initiative campaign to end greyhound racing in Florida) and attended Taking Action for Animals conferences as well as her state’s Humane Lobby Days to personally seek her elected representatives’ support for animal-friendly legislation.
Just recently, Karen, a retired affordable housing financing professional, also took an action that will allow her to continue to help us fight for all animals far into the future. She named the HSUS and its affiliates as the primary beneficiaries of her estate, and she agreed to make a video explaining precisely what inspired her to deepen her commitment to animals in this very special way.
“Raising awareness and improving lives for animals is my passion,” she says, “and I feel the HSUS is best positioned to continue to move the animal welfare movement forward.”
Of course, those of us who work at the HSUS and its affiliates feel the same way. But we also understand and cannot take for granted the fact that we can carry out our work only by the grace of countless individuals like Karen, who support us in the here and now, yet also understand the certainty and foundation that planned giving commitments and humane legacies provide. Such gifts promise to provide a substantial source of unrestricted income for the organization in the future, bringing us ever closer to the day when we’ll overcome seemingly intractable cruelties like those associated with puppy mills, the use of animals in cosmetic testing, trophy killing of animals, fur fashion and factory farming. Each planned gift brings us closer to achieving permanent, transformational change.
“I know for a fact that one person can absolutely make a difference for animals,” says Karen, “and collectively we can continue to make huge gains for animals.”
I agree, and as someone who has given my whole life to animal protection, I could not feel more grateful to Karen and to those other supporters who have shown such great faith in the HSUS. We’re trying to build something much larger than ourselves, a lasting force for good for animals in need, throughout the world, now and in the future. And we cannot do it alone. We need advocates who also look down the road, who recognize that the big fights take time, and resources, and who know the value of a lasting commitment to our mission.
Whether you are part of our formal volunteer network or carry your passion for ending animal cruelty into your everyday interactions, there may come a time when you may wish to consider creating your own humane legacy. If you’d like to take that step with us, our Planned Giving team can help.