There is no greater demonstration of trust in an organization and its mission than a family making plans to ensure its future. Legacy or planned giving is the act of including a charitable organization in your estate plans. It is a contribution that is arranged in the present and allocated at a future date. There are over fifty families at The Bush School who are members of the Helen Taylor Bush Society, which was established to recognize and thank all those who have chosen to honor Bush in their estate plans.
Emily ’94 and Aaron Alhadeff have made the decision to include Bush in their estate plans. Their gift is grounded in their passion for the school. Their philanthropy is grounded in Judaism, was modeled by their parents, and started when they were young. Aaron remembers vividly going to Sunday school and, before getting out of the car, having his mom or dad give him a dollar to give Sadaqah. He said “those roots at a very young age make a lasting impression.” Once Emily and Aaron had children of their own, they wanted to be sure philanthropy was part of their ecosystem at home, too.
They talk openly with their children, Max ’24 and Charlie ’27, about philanthropy. “It’s like a Monday or a Thursday,” Emily explained. “Giving is just part of life. And it makes the most sense to give to the places you’re most connected to. It also makes sense to give to places where the work inspires you. That is what our parents taught us, and hopefully that is what we are teaching our children.”
One of the things that inspires Aaron and Emily is Bush’s commitment to access and diversity. But this, Aaron pointed out, takes investment. They believe there is no better way to show their gratitude than by investing in the school’s future so that more children can access a transformative education.
Emily reiterated that “between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., we trust the school to help raise our children, and they are doing a fantastic job. The place where our kids spend the majority of their time so perfectly complements our values and hopes and dreams for them. There’s no tangible thank you strong enough. This place has significantly impacted our lives in a positive way. And I just think of all the mentors and teachers, tears and laughter and joy and friendships that these kids are going to have for hopefully the rest of their lives.”
Aaron said that “because Bush has had people before us who have thought of the school in their legacy plans, the school has had the ability to invest in our kids. And, therefore, if we have the ability, we need to pay that forward. Having an endowment that is built up and strong will allow the school to be even stronger in future generations.”
Deciding to include an organization in your estate plans is powerful and relatively easy. It does not have to be a complicated matter. As Aaron explained, “you check a box and have a twenty-minute conversation with an advisor or attorney.”
“And,” he said, “it can be changed. This is just, at this moment in time, what feels right.” Emily further explained, “when you think about legacy, it is the arc of your life. And, for us, a big, gigantic asterisk is The Bush School. And we feel our legacy should reflect that.”