Lee Gatta standing at a fireplace.

Lee Gatta, CLU®, ChFC®, AEP®

Lee and her husband, Joe, feel blessed by the support they have received over the years from the Central New York community.

Lee and her husband, Joe, feel blessed by the support they have received over the years from the Central New York community. They decided to pay that support forward by establishing a charitable giving plan through the Community Foundation. They had their sights set on a charitable gift much larger than they were comfortable contributing now, so they decided to use a life insurance policy to achieve their goal.

The pair chose a policy with terms that fit with their goals, and they agreed to own and be the beneficiary of the policy. Though they own the policy, Lee and Joe are eligible to receive a tax deduction for their donation of the annual premium payments. The flexibility of life insurance — including premium amount, frequency of payments and face amount — allows this option to be tailored to each donor’s unique situation.

When Lee passes away, the policy will fund the Lee M. Gatta and Joe Reddick Family Fund, which will provide continued support in the Central New York community for issues that are of primary importance to them: the support of women and girls through the work of the Women’s Fund of Central New York and eldercare coordination and support. Lee was introduced to the Women’s Fund, an affiliate fund of the Community Foundation, and asked to serve on its governance council as a way to honor her sister-in-law, Joanne Reddick, after her death. She enjoys being around other women who share the same passion for serving our community, so it was a perfect fit for her. The Women’s Fund supports programs that promote self-sufficiency for women and girls. In particular, it focuses on helping young girls to understand that the world is open to them and they can do whatever they choose to do.

“I believe that women would not have gotten to where they are today without somebody in their lives to encourage and mentor them,” she said. “The Women’s Fund is helping to fill that gap and I am devoted to helping them achieve their goals.”

Lee and Joe are equally passionate about support for eldercare. They became caregivers for Lee’s mother after she had her third stroke, which blinded her and caused some paralysis. Lee believed that anyone who has cared for an elderly friend, neighbor or family member knows the stress and difficulty that accompanies this labor of love. Caregivers need assistance navigating the range of services available to them. Perhaps more importantly, they need help bypassing the bureaucracies that surround services and benefits so that they can secure the help they deserve. It is for these reasons that the portion of the fund designated for eldercare coordination and support will include assistance with selecting, securing and managing care options, as well as respite care and support services for family members serving as primary caregivers. Both Lee and Joe would like to provide opportunities that lighten the load for those that carry so much responsibility for the care of another.

We were ideally suited to help them identify and carry out their charitable vision. Lee once stated, “the Community Foundation staff members are phenomenal professionals to work with. I believe that when you work with them, you will be comforted in knowing that they are very knowledgeable and will take care of the execution of your plan without having to worry about it.”

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