"It wasn't expensive wood, just the ordinary kind that we take from a woodpile in the winter and put in the stove...."
And from that beginning, Pinocchio, the marionette, was created.
It's a lot like us. We often start from very simple beginnings. We have adventures. Somewhere along the way we realize we need to care about others. That's what makes Pinocchio " and us " human.
I did a highly scientific survey the other day. I polled people about what they would do if they won the lottery. Funny thing is, no one hesitated even five seconds before rattling off a list.
First they talked of paying off debts and planning a fabulous vacation. Then they wanted to ensure their children/grandchildren could afford to go to college or buy a house. They spoke of making sure they could live comfortably in their old age. After that, they dreamed of doing something wonderful for humanity " establishing a scholarship in their name; building a performing arts center (named after them, of course); giving money for a soccer field; funding an animal shelter; or "giving enough money so that every family in Tahoe has a safe, decent, and affordable place to live."
Sometimes a wooden puppet's wish for humanity is granted.
Guess what? You don't have to win the lottery. You simply have to visit your attorney and do some estate planning.
Good estate planning can help you give more to your family. It can also allow you to do those altruistic things you'd like to do for our community. The money comes from what would otherwise go to the IRS. It's almost like winning the lottery.
"Now you have proven yourself brave, truthful, and unselfish. Today you will become a real boy. Awake, Pinocchio, awake!"
Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation is the vehicle for leaving your gift to our region. Already, we know of more than $15 million in planned gifts coming from people who wish to leave something behind for the next generation " for education, the Boy Scouts, the hospital, the historical society, the Humane Society, the environment, and for whatever future generations determine are the greatest needs.
Most financial advisers agree that it's nearly impossible to do effective estate planning for individuals with high net worth without including a charitable giving vehicle. Charitable gift plans can also help small business owners who want to maximize their retirement income while minimizing income and estate taxes.
But even the ordinary kind of people can make a planned gift to charity. Often these gifts are what's left behind after taking care of a spouse, children, and other loved ones. More than half of that $15 million will come in the form of residual gifts. Think of it as leftovers that provide nourishment for the whole community.
So, fair warning. The board and staff of Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation are out roaming the community seeking, "the brave, truthful, and unselfish." "When you wish upon a star" is from the Disney version of Pinocchio. Our wish is that each of you leaves behind a gift " whatever it is that you've always dreamed about " to our community.
Wish upon a star. Pinocchio is a tribute to the fact that sometimes dreams come true. Give us a call or we'll call you. No strings attached.
Lisa Dobey is CEO of Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation. Reach her at 587-1776 or email@example.com