Lee Gatta and her husband, Joe Reddick, feel blessed by the support they have received over the years from Syracuse and Central New York. It was the community’s support that inspired them to give back by establishing a charitable giving plan through the Community Foundation.
For both Lee and Joe, their firsthand experiences with family caregiving were labors of love and catalysts for future giving. They became caregivers for Lee’s mother, Elinor W. Gatta, after she had her third stroke, which blinded her and caused some paralysis. Lee found that caregivers need assistance navigating the range of services available for their loved ones and to find time to take care of themselves.
“We would like to provide opportunities that lighten the load for those that carry so much responsibility for the care of another,” said Lee.
The couple, in coordination with family members and friends, also played a crucial role in supporting Joe’s mother, Dorothy Dale Reddick; his sister, Joanne Reddick; and brother, Maxi Reddick, during their respective battles with cancer.
“Many organizations provided information along the way, offering emotional support to our loved ones and to us. This is our way of showing our appreciation,” said Joe.
Family remembrance was equally pivotal in Lee’s introduction to the Women’s Fund of Central New York. She was asked to serve on its Leadership Council as a way to honor her sister-in-law, Joanne Reddick, after her death. The Women’s Fund, an affiliate fund of the Community Foundation, supports programs that promote self-sufficiency for women and girls and educates women and girls about philanthropy.
“None of us would have gotten where we are today without someone in our lives to encourage and mentor us, and many of the young people in our community do not have that,” said Lee. “The Women’s Fund is helping to fill that gap and we are devoted to helping them achieve their goals.”
Lee and Joe 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 life insurance proceeds at Lee’s death will fund the Lee M. Gatta and Joe Reddick Fund, which will provide funding 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, eldercare and cancer care coordination and caregiver support.
They chose an insurance policy with terms that fit their goals and the Community Foundation agreed to be both owner and beneficiary of the policy. Their continued gifts to cover the policy premiums are eligible for a tax deduction. The flexibility of life insurance allows this option to be tailored to each donor’s unique situation. Their fund will carry on for many generations, designed to take care of the community that has taken care of them.
Lee and Joe’s selfless generosity will have a significant impact on the causes they care about long after they are gone, leaving a lasting legacy that changes the lives of others and inspires the community to do the same.