The Valley Community Foundation (VCF) was the named beneficiary for the estate of Raymond P. Mackowski and received a bequest totaling more than $1.4 million of unrestricted funds that will be used to address the changing needs and opportunities of the Valley.
“The VCF Board of Directors collectively felt the most prudent way for this generous gift to have a lasting local impact was to place this fund on the Foundation’s spending policy and treat it like an endowed fund at the Foundation,” said Alan Tyma, VCF Board Chair. “Investment goals are to generate enough income to respond to the community’s current charitable needs and to provide for the long-term development and well-being of the Foundation’s endowment.”
“We are honored and sincerely grateful to receive such a substantial bequest from Mr. Mackowski,” said Sharon Closius, VCF President & CEO. “Something powerful happens when you name a charity in your estate plan. You create a legacy that tells future generations what causes mattered to you, which will inspire future generations to make a difference in their own way. As stewards for the Valley’s philanthropic endowments, we look forward to honoring Mr. Mackowski’s intent throughout our community for many years to come.”
Raymond Mackowski passed away in March of 2016 and left behind decades of service and good works to his hometown of Ansonia and the larger Valley region. It came as no surprise to his family when he included VCF as a beneficiary to his estate in memory of his parents, John and Amelia Mackowski.
“He was a private man, but he enjoyed life to the fullest,” said nephew, Richard Mackowski. “He was ready to help anyone in the community. He gave much of his time and talent to helping others. He was just a good man. That’s really the best way to put it.”
Raymond Mackowski was a man of many talents, from swimming to painting to metalworking. He was a volunteer at Yale-New Haven Hospital for more than 30 years, was a member of the American Legion and the Knights of Columbus, a lifelong communicant of St. Joseph Church in Ansonia, and was a devoted history buff.
Attorney Christine Curtiss of Cohen and Thomas, Attorneys at Law said that when Raymond came to work on his will, he had already given a great deal of thought to making a gift to the Valley through the Valley Community Foundation. She put him in touch with the staff at VCF, who helped determine the language to include in his will that would fulfill his philanthropic intentions.
“A gift to a public charity like VCF has its financial incentives as well,” Attorney Curtiss added.
“Such a donation reduces the size of the estate, which may be subject to Connecticut’s estate tax. It benefits not only an individual’s estate, but the entire community.”
Any gift in a will is revocable during one’s lifetime and can include a percentage of total assets or the residual value of the estate given in the individual’s memory or in that of a loved one. Benefits of using a will to make a gift include: remaining in control of assets during one’s lifetime, the flexibility to modify the terms when circumstances change, ability to direct a gift to address a particular cause or purpose, and tax benefits to one’s estate.
“Some people may come in with a clear plan as to which causes they want their bequest to benefit; others haven’t thought about it to that level of detail, but know they want to leave a gift to support their community,” Attorney Curtiss added. “Either way, the staff at VCF is easy to work with and helps our clients make a decision that fits their philanthropic needs.”
Unrestricted funds will allow the foundation to fund solutions to emerging issues and the most pressing needs in the Valley. As the needs and opportunities in the Valley change over time, unrestricted funds allow VCF to address high priority focus areas. No specific or immediate plans for the donation have been made public at this time.