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Catherine Winger, Donor, charitable gift, legacy

Catherine Winger

After retiring from a career in mental health services, Catherine Winger saw an opportunity to use her newfound free time to travel and to give back to her community. Her career had afforded her the opportunity to live a life of service, but she longed for a deeper connection to her community by engaging more purposefully in the nonprofits that interested her.

Catherine had always contributed to local charities but she wanted her engagement to go beyond simply writing a check. She donated mostly to human needs charities, with those serving the poor, homeless, refugees, ill and elderly always topping her list. In her search to find meaningful volunteer opportunities to supplement her monetary support for nonprofits, however, she decided to focus on the arts - an area of interest she hadn’t been able to explore fully during her busy working years.

She began volunteering for the Everson Museum and several other organizations focused on the arts. She enjoyed her time so much that it seemed natural to her to find a way to continue giving to these organizations beyond her lifetime. That opportunity came during a meeting with her estate planning attorney, Marion Hancock Fish. Marion suggested that she consider using the Community Foundation to develop a charitable plan that could be implemented when she passed away. Catherine took Marion’s advice.

“The Community Foundation staff listened to me, learned about my interests and goals, and helped me identify and document the charitable focus for the portion of my estate that is set aside for charity,” said Catherine Winger. “Though I hope it is many years before the plan is implemented, it feels good to have my estate plan complete.”

Part of Catherine’s will document references the Community Foundation and the plan that she created here. She has the flexibility to adjust that charitable plan over time, which can be done easily without disrupting her formal estate documents. This is a bonus for Catherine, but what most excites her is the opportunity to create a custom plan that will allow her to be remembered in perpetuity in the way that she wants to be.

“I feel so fortunate to be able to create a charitable fund that will provide for the community that I have called home for my entire life,” said Catherine. “I am proud that my hard work will reap benefits for the many amazing local arts organizations, hard-working animal charities, and deserving students seeking scholarships in Central New York.”

Each individual legacy fund tells the unique story of a generous person or family. We capture that story as a way of honoring their memory in perpetuity. These are stories of people, like Catherine, who value this community enough to help it face a future they will not be here to see. We are pleased that Catherine and many others have chosen to entrust the Community Foundation with the stewardship of their charitable legacies. We will, as we have done for 87 years, continue doing our best to live up to this promise.