Opening Words from Sun. December 9 by Krystal White

Good morning. It’s lovely to be up here, seeing your smiling faces, and enjoying the rocking tunes of the Ethical band! I’d like to extend a special welcome to the Interfaith Partnership. Thank you for being here with us today!

I’m up here to tell you a story. As you know, our dear friend Christine Floss passed away in April this year. Christine was generosity personified. She read Peter Singer’s book The Life You Can Save and, afterwards, she donated 10% or more of her income each year to organizations working to end global poverty. She made annual service trips to Haiti to work in a health clinic and help the children there. And she actively volunteered, organized, and contributed here at the Ethical Society. But she did not stop there. She wrote organizations into her will – including a designation of 10% of her estate here – and, as a result, she became an Ethical Society Legacy Friend. That extraordinarily thoughtful and generous gift nine years ago will have tremendous impacts for Ethical today and for many years to come. The Finance Committee and the Board are deliberating over how to allocate her bequest – in ways that Christine would have supported and that fit in with her legacy – and I’ll let the membership know what is decided in the coming months.

I am grateful to Christine for always modeling for me how to put ethics into action. Motivated by her example, I too thought about what I wish my legacy to be and which organizations I wish to sustain long-term: ones with missions I support and financial stewardships I trust. After that consideration, I too became an Ethical Society Legacy Friend. As a relatively young person with school-age kids at home, I wasn’t ready to change my entire estate plan. So, instead, I added the Ethical Society as a beneficiary on my retirement plan and, more importantly, I invested in the growth and future of this place I believe in and this community I love.

You might think that being a Legacy Friend is only for folks of retirement age. That’s simply not true. Christine did not retire before adding the Ethical Society to her estate plan, my family and I did not wait to retire, and you don’t need to wait either. I encourage you to consider becoming a Legacy Friend as well. You can chat with Jim Rhodes or Steve Harris about the financial benefits of legacy giving – they’d love to talk with you – and Nancy Jelinek in the Office has information to share as well.

Tomorrow is simply not promised to us. I find it comforting that Christine’s legacy of relationships and generosity still help and touch us today. Please join me in expressing gratitude to her and all of our Legacy Friends for their philanthropic gifts. Thank you.

And, to double-dip on my time here, I’d like to make a few President based announcements as well. The American Ethical Union is looking for volunteers from each Society to step into roles. Are you interested in Finances? Or Ethical Action? Or leading a session at the AEU Assembly in Tampa? These AEU committees need your help! Please let me play match-maker and connect you to a great volunteer opportunity that will assist our Society and other Ethical Societies around the nation! If interested, please reach out to me so that we can discuss further. Thank you.

NOTE: The ideas and opinions in this post do not necessarily express the thoughts or opinions of the Ethical Society of St. Louis or its leadership.