Helping Others Feels Darn Good

When Carol Schmidt was 5 years old, she helped deliver Easter Lilies to homebound seniors from her grandmother’s church. Seeing the joy-filled tears in the recipients’ eyes resonated with Carol, and to this day she is making meaningful differences in her community through her volunteer work on the Ridgedale YMCA Planned Giving Committee and with an estate gift to the Ridgedale YMCA Endowment Fund.

What is your Y history?

I have been fortunate to spend most of my career and volunteer opportunities in positions where I partnered with volunteers to enable individuals and organizations to make a meaningful difference. My YMCA career began in 1983. 

What do you see as the benefit of philanthropy? 

This is purely selfish, but I personally feel that helping others makes you feel darn good. I love when an organization takes the time to let me know a story of how my volunteering or making a financial investment made someone’s life better. 

Why do you support the YMCA of the North? How many years have you supported the YMCA? 

I started to support the Y in 1983 when I was hired as an outside contractor to help, in an administrative way, the Steering Committee of the Capital Campaign where funds raised built several of the suburban facilities in Minneapolis area. I saw first-hand how enthusiastic the donors were about what this campaign would allow the Y to do for children and families, no matter what their background. 

I gave my very first gift of $100, I wrote a check without being asked and filed it with the others to be processed. I did not think anyone one notice. I almost dropped the phone when Doug Dayton, Chair of the Capital Campaign, called me personally and thanked me for the gift. I started to apologize that I could not give more, and he stopped me by saying, “you made a gift that was meaningful to you and that is what matters. All gifts are important”. I guess I have been donating to the Y ever since. 

Why was it important to you to leave a legacy gift to the YMCA? 

Because once again, I want my gift to make a difference for future generations. I liked the idea of giving to an endowment fund where my gift would keep on giving every year into perpetuity. 

What is your hope from leaving this legacy gift to the YMCA?

I trust the Y will always have a mission to make individuals and communities stronger, no matter what programs are offered. I trust that they will keep changing programs in order to be relevant to the current needs. I trust the Y board will make good decisions about budgets. I am not in a financial position to make a gift from my savings account, but I can from my estate. It’s a logical solution.

What are the benefits of leaving an estate gift to a charity? 

I would say allowing the charity to have a solid foundation to run programs to meet the needs of the time that they might not be able to otherwise afford to do.

I understand that during the pandemic endowment funds played a strong role in allowing the Y to pivot in a brief period to remain helpful to the communities they serve. Even though the Y buildings had to close, I was so moved to hear the Y was making thousands of welfare calls to seniors and that any family that needed a meal could come to the Y- no questions asked- and pick one up. This is just one example.