Planned Giving: Leaving a Legacy to YWCA

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Planned Giving: Leaving a Legacy to YWCA

Categories: News

Creative planned gift creates brighter future for YWCA

YWCA Clark County Planned Giving

It was just a year ago that Lee Faver and Mel Netzhammer made a major life decision: They would restructure their estate plans and define a specific planned gift for YWCA Clark County. But this was no traditional bequest. 

Instead, as insiders with considerable knowledge about the challenges of funding a nonprofit with an ambitious mission, they laid out a gift designed to support the entire organization rather than just one or two programs. Because of their deep understanding of nonprofits and their financial needs, Lee and Mel were able to structure a gift that will keep on giving for many years. Those are the kinds of gifts YWCA highly values.

We asked Lee and Mel to talk about the circumstances that led up to their innovative planned gift. Excerpts from their written responses to our questions follow:

When did you first get involved with YWCA Clark County?

Lee: I was introduced to YWCA-CC by a former board member shortly after Mel and I moved to Vancouver in 2012. I attended the annual luncheon that fall where I met board members and donors who were committed to the Y. I realized the warm regard with which YWCA is held in the community. 

How did your passion for YWCA’s work in the community grow?

Lee: I’ve completed my sixth year as a board member during which I’ve seen first hand the commitment, skill and integrity of the staff to the work and to the clients. When I first arrived, I did not know the integrity with which the organization is led or conducts itself day to day. I discovered that while serving on the board. Learning about each program, getting to know the staff and understanding the types of challenges clients face fosters my further commitment. It’s hard not to be passionate!

How does YWCA’s mission reflect your personal values?

Lee: YWCA-CC has a very clear, bold mission statement and set of values that resonates. Along with the incredible clients, our staff breathe life into the mission and values. Honestly, people who work at the Y really endeavor to live the values each day. It’s also quite impressive that they’re integrated into board discussion about programs, priorities, budget, fair compensation and benefits. This means that Y employees are treated with the same integrity as the clients. THAT’s an organization I want to serve and financially support philanthropically. 

Philanthropy is particularly important to Mel, whose background emphasized service and making a contribution to public wellbeing. He understands that leadership involves living one’s values and modeling what you want to engender in others. The Y community does this too.

Tell us about how you decided to structure your gift.

Lee: The discussions Mel and I had about our estate included a lot more conversation about what we want to accomplish or influence. Like most nonprofits, the Y runs very, very lean. Programs are largely grant-based and that means that every one of those dollars is allocated. There’s little on which to run the administration, to maintain the building, to protect retention of the most experienced and talented staff with appropriate compensation.  

The Y has a small endowment that was well conceived and funded by past board leaders. Those resources are intact today because of disciplined management and some more significant contributions that were directed to fund programs over time. But the financial challenges never cease, nor do resources match demand. 

Our planned giving intention is to create a line of credit so that the Executive Director can respond to circumstances and cash flow issues without pressure on client programs and services, hours, or staff retention. 

People’s lives are really affected by how well the Y operates. Our goal is to help the leadership team adapt effectively when those situations arise.

If you would like to make a planned gift, please contact Director of Philanthropy Brittini Lasseigne at 360 – 906 – 9123 or

Please visit our Donations page to find out how you can help support the life-changing programs of YWCA Clark County.