Meet the members of our Ocean Legacy Society who have expressed their commitment to Ocean Conservancy’s future by including a gift for Ocean Conservancy in their will or trust, or by beneficiary designation or other estate gift. Learn more about these people who have chosen to protect our ocean for future generations.
“The ocean is the soul of our planet. Since I was a child, it has brought me peace.”
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A PASSION FOR THE OCEAN: MEET ELEANOR BREW
Perhaps it was growing up in California or spending summers at the Jersey shore — or the fact that she comes from a Navy family — but Eleanor Brew has always been passionate about the ocean.
“The ocean is the soul of our planet,” she says. “Since I was a child, it has brought me peace.”
Eleanor has followed her ocean bliss to the far corners of the planet. Her living room, she says, “is full of travel photographs, none of which feature people and all of which are of water.” Each trip is a reminder, she explains, “that it’s important to give back to the planet that has nurtured us.”
“Most of us aren’t consciously aware that the ocean is connected to every other body of water on the earth,” she adds. “If we clean up one spot, it doesn’t solve the problem. It’s a beginning — but it’s important to understand the whole picture.”
Eleanor Brew has made what she calls “a permanent promise to keep the ocean healthy.” How? By making Ocean Conservancy a beneficiary of her will. “I wanted to have a good answer to the question, ‘What do you want to be remembered for?’ Leaving Ocean Conservancy a part of my estate means that my commitment to the ocean will live on.”
Brew’s husband, Denny, is also an environmentalist, but his passion is conservation. “Between us, our bequest gifts have both sides covered,” Eleanor says with a smile.
“People need to pick their passion. If the ocean is your passion, like it is mine, then it’s good to know that you can still make a difference even after you’re gone.”
“I’m 81, still swim and sit by the hour with my friends listening and watching the endless variety of waves that break on the shore. I support Ocean Conservancy and all it does to preserve the sea and all who live therein.”
JULIE AND DON DICKINSON
They spent their honeymoon on a trans-Atlantic cruise and have since traveled the world on ocean-going ships. Each trip has deepened their commitment to protecting and preserving the ocean.
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SEEING THE WORLD FROM THE OCEAN: MEET JULIE AND DON DICKINSON
Growing up near the great Chesapeake Bay, Don Dickinson loved to crab and fish. His wife, Julie, on the other hand, grew up in the Midwest, far from the ocean — but she’s come to love the water as much as her husband. The couple spent their honeymoon on a trans-Atlantic cruise and have since traveled the world on ocean-going ships. Each trip has deepened their commitment to protecting and preserving the ocean.
“We love the ports of call,” Don says, “but we also love the sea days when you have time to relax and reflect.”
“Sadly, we’re seeing more and more ocean trash,” says Julie, noting that on a recent cruise to New Zealand, the cruise director gave a lecture on cleaning up the ocean and protecting the environment.
“It’s good to see greater awareness of the challenges facing the ocean,” Don says. “In my lifetime, I’ve seen tremendous erosion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which of course feeds into the Atlantic.”
Julie and Don have lived frugally and only recently have felt as though they could make the kind of financial contributions to Ocean Conservancy that they’d like.
“We know there are many worthy causes deserving of support,” Don says, “but so much of the earth is covered by water that it’s more critical than most people realize. That’s why we have made giving to Ocean Conservancy one of our priorities.”
The IRA Charitable Rollover gift opportunity turned out to be the right vehicle for the Dickinsons.
“We looked at it closely and read up on it,” says Don. “We were also told it was a good idea by a financial advisor.”
Through this newly renewed provision of the tax code, the Dickinsons transfer a portion of their required minimum distribution directly from their IRA to Ocean Conservancy. In this way, they avoid having to count the donated amount as income on their tax return.
Julie and Don want to do all they can to help clean up the oceans and promote clean water worldwide. “We hope our gifts can help address problems like these.”
“We looked at it closely and read up on it,” says Don. “We were also told it was a good idea by a financial advisor.”
—Julie & Don Dickinson, on IRA charitable rollovers
“I want my grandchildren to experience the oceans in an even richer way than I have.”
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“I want my grandchildren to experience the oceans in an even richer way than I have. Providing for Ocean Conservancy in my will feels like the right way to protect the ocean as well as respect its unique role in our lives.”
Sylvia Earle has pioneered underwater observations of dolphins and whales, and has set new diving records while exploring unknown waters throughout the world. Combing the credentials of scientist, explorer, policy maker, and conservationist, she is known worldwide as a passionate ambassador for the sea.
– Dr. Sylvia Earle,
Board of Directors and
Ocean Legacy Society
JAN KERN AND TOM GRAHAME
“We believe in the ‘existence value’ of the ocean and ocean species. Existence value is a school of economic thought that says that we receive a benefit simply from knowing that a particular environmental resource, exists. That’s how we feel about the ocean.”
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JAN KERN AND TOM GRAHAME: SUPPORTING SCIENCE-BASED SOLUTIONS TO RESTORING THE OCEAN’S ABUNDANCE
Jan Kern and Tom Grahame both grew up on Long Island Sound and their childhood experiences have had a profound impact on their adult lives and priorities. Jan recalls digging in the sand with her feet to find hard shell clams, and was deeply saddened as a young woman by the gradual degradation of the Sound and its creatures. Tom also recalls clamming as a child, before increasing water pollution caused clamming to be banned.
Even so, Jan and Tom have faith in the power of activism to restore and protect the ocean. “We view restoration of lost abundance as the most important goal of Ocean Conservancy,” Tom says. “We applaud how Ocean Conservancy has helped increase abundance of species in places like coral reefs, first by doing the science showing that creating “no fishing” zones in small parts of such reefs allows fish to achieve maximum effective size for spawning, resulting in many thousands more fertilized eggs, with repopulation of the rest of the reef.”
But they feel science is only the start: Ocean Conservancy was also was the most important force for creating marine reserves which allow for repopulation of coral reefs and other marine ecosystems.” While Tom and Jan remain troubled by the “appalling loss of abundance in our ocean” — for instance of Caribbean turtle species which were once 1,000 times more abundant than now — they believe that understanding the scope of loss can help create more ambitious goals for recovery. As Jan says, “We need more science-based successes like these.” Tom adds, “I would love to see Ocean Conservancy play a role in the restoration of so many deleted cod fisheries, once so abundant.”
“Most of us have no idea that the ocean was once so much more full of living things of every variety,” Tom says. “It’s hard for me to put my arms around the size and importance of such loss.”
Although they grew up near the water, the couple have not spent a lot of time on the ocean. “I believe in the ‘existence value’ of the ocean and ocean species,” Tom explains. “Existence value is a school of economic though that says that we receive a benefit simply from knowing that a particular environmental resource, exists. That’s how Jan and I feel about the ocean.”
The couple’s childhood experiences have also fostered a deep commitment to giving back. “I was one of the many young people inspired by President Kennedy,” explains Jan. “My father always donated to charity,” Tom adds, “and when he passed away, one of the first things I did was make donations in his memory, including to Ocean Conservancy’s predecessor, the Center for Marine Conservation.”
Over the years, Jan and Tom have increased their support of Ocean Conservancy, including a gift of appreciated stock and establishment of a charitable gift annuity with the organization. Although the gift provides them with an annual payment, their motivation was altruistic: “We wanted to do all we could to restore as much of the ocean as we can,” they say.
Tom and Jan’s vision of what our environment could and should be is rooted in their many visits to family in Alaska over the past 25 years. According to Tom, “Wildlife is plentiful, even close to Anchorage—in fact, even the city itself is teeming with moose! And American Dippers breed in crystal-clear streams just a short drive from downtown.”
And they believe Ocean Conservancy is in the best position to protect and restore this abundance. “The issues Ocean Conservancy addresses are very important,” Tom says. “I can trust the science behind what they do.” He’s in a good position to know; he is an expert on airborne pollutants who once worked on the staff of a U.S. Senator serving on the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Most of all, Jan and Tom believe, “you can’t take it with you, but you can fight back against loss—by supporting organizations like Ocean Conservancy that are dedicated to restoring ocean ecosystems and increasing species populations, now and later.”
PEGGY AND BILL GOLDBERG
After more than 30 years of scuba diving, Peggy and Bill Goldberg still relish the thrill of encountering sharks underwater.
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After more than 30 years of scuba diving, Peggy and Bill Goldberg still relish the thrill of encountering sharks underwater. “A shark might bump me to figure out what I am,” explains Peggy. “But what’s striking is how benign and big they are. They overwhelmingly dwarf you in size. One must realize that humans are not a part of the shark’s food chain.”
The Goldbergs have dived with hammerheads, Galapagos, oceanic white tips, reef, silky and black tips, but the giants of the shark family—whale sharks—are still on their bucket list. “We hope we will get to see one,” says Peggy. “We’re saddened by the dramatic decline in the number of sharks we see on our dives. It used to be relatively easy to encounter them, but now it’s becoming rare.”
The Goldbergs understand that the tragedy of the disappearance of sharks goes far beyond their disappointment at not encountering them scuba diving. As Peggy puts it, “Sharks are an apex predator and play a critical role in the ocean’s ecosystem that the average fish does not. Removing sharks from the food web could have catastrophic effects on the health of our oceans, and our own food sources.”
Peggy, an accomplished underwater photographer, has changed her approach over the years from taking beautiful photos to documenting the decline of sharks, the coral reefs and other sea life.
But the couple is most concerned about what’s happening to the sharks. “We hope people will boycott staged shark feeds,” Bill says. On a trip to Turks and Caicos, they saw a shark that had been finned but had managed to survive. Shark finning- where they just cut off the fins of a living shark, and throw them back in the ocean to die- is a horrific waste for just soup- and must be stopped.
And now that summer is here, recently highly publicized shark attacks in Florida and North Carolina have Peggy and Bill worried that public overreaction will put sharks at even greater risk. The Goldbergs insist that even if you’ve never dived or snorkeled—and even if you live in a landlocked area—the ocean contributes so much to our well-being that everyone needs to be aware of how imperiled they are.
Since they met and married in 1967, Peggy and Bill have been environmentally active and conscious of the interconnectedness of life on earth. In addition to their activism on behalf of the ocean, they’ve gone beyond their annual support to make Ocean Conservancy a beneficiary of their estate. According to Bill, “While we’re alive, we are actively fighting locally, nationally and internationally to save the oceans. When we are gone, we hope our legacy will continue the fight. The mark we want to leave is a healthy ocean and healthy earth for future generations.”
“While we’re alive, we are actively fighting locally, nationally and internationally to save the oceans. When we are gone, we hope our legacy will continue the fight.”
—Peggy & Bill Goldberg
“My Dad and I used to take long walks along the lake and the beauty of the cliffs on the shoreline is vivid for me to this day.”
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Water has figured prominently in Henry Gorecki’s life since, as a boy, he and his family spent idyllic days swimming and picnicking on Wisconsin’s inland lakes. “Growing up in Milwaukee, there were many reminders of the importance of the lake in our lives. My Dad and I used to take long walks along the lake and the beauty of the cliffs on the shoreline is vivid for me to this day,” Gorecki says.
Gorecki also recognized early the connection between his beloved Lake Michigan—one of the largest fresh water bodies of water on the planet—and the ocean. “I used to see the big boats on the St. Lawrence Seaway with names that reflected their country of origin,” he recalls, “so I knew from a young age that my Lake Michigan was connected to the wider world.”
The idea of seeing the lake or the ocean polluted or full of trash moves Gorecki to act. He does his part globally, through his support of Ocean Conservancy, and also locally, spending occasional weekends picking up the trash in his neighborhood. His passion to eradicate trash stems from his boyhood memory of the first Earth Day and a Madison Avenue advertising campaign featuring native Americans saddened at the idea of a beautiful landscape marred by litter.
“I’m a firm believer that if you respect yourself, you’ll respect the environment, too. I want my commitment to encompass the whole world. That’s why I support Ocean Conservancy.”
Still living near Lake Michigan, Gorecki, an avid runner, appreciates the famous “lake effect” weather. “Sometimes I’ll be running,” he says, “and there will be a fog curtain because the temperature drop near the lake is that dramatic. Near the lake it’s warmer in winter and cooler in summer. With climate change we risk losing that natural temperature adjustment.”
As a Certified Financial Planner who owns his own investment firm, Gorecki is in a unique position to advocate for enduring support of the causes you care about. “You have to have a plan for what may happen to your assets when you die. If you don’t, the state and federal government have a plan for you,” Gorecki explains. “I encourage people to do what I’ve done and include Ocean Conservancy as a beneficiary of their retirement plan assets, one of the most tax-wise gifts. As I tell my clients: ‘Think about your legacy and the causes that are important to you now and include them in your plans.’”
SUE AND CRAIG GRUBE
“We believe that if we don’t stand up now and support organizations like Ocean Conservancy that have clear and effective strategies, the oceans will soon be barren wastelands.”
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Craig Grube traces his passion for the ocean and for volunteering to his childhood and his mother’s influence. “She volunteered at the National Aquarium in Baltimore,” he recalls, “and we would often vacation in spots where the family could snorkel together.”
Now Craig and his wife, Sue, have two sons—and Craig is following in his mother’s footsteps by passing down the same traditions to his boys. “We try to expose them to the wonders and challenges of our ocean in as many ways as possible,” he says. “We take ocean-based vacations, and my eldest son and I scuba dive down below, circling manta rays, while my wife and youngest snorkel above us. The opportunity for the four of us to share such a magical experience is enough to make anyone appreciate the beauty of the ocean.”
Craig’s sons have also joined him as a volunteer at International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day. “And they see me pull out my sustainable seafood app at the grocery store or in a restaurant. I’m a bit of a sustainable seafood nut—but it gives me the opportunity to educate them and open their eyes to the dangers of overfishing.”
As an avid scuba diver, Craig has seen firsthand the devastating changes in the ocean. “In the years I’ve been diving—even in the short time my eldest son has been diving—I’ve seen tremendous depletion of the fish stock and extensive degradation of habitat,” he says.
Living in an area where stranded marine mammals and trash routinely wash up onto the beach has given special and personal urgency to Craig’s mission to do whatever he can to make a difference. In addition to volunteering on ICC Day, Craig volunteers on a stranding team and serves on the board of directors of his local aquarium.
And, after nearly 20 years of making annual contributions to Ocean Conservancy, Sue and Craig have decided to leave a gift for Ocean Conservancy in their will. “Ocean Conservancy is working on many of the issues that are important to me, such as restoring sustainable fisheries, protecting special ocean places , protecting marine life from human impact and reforming government for better ocean stewardship.”
“Sue and I believe that if we don’t stand up now and support organizations like Ocean Conservancy that have clear and effective strategies, the oceans will soon be barren wastelands,” Craig says. “We also understand that, for organizations to thrive, they need funds not just for today but also for the future. We want to make sure that Ocean Conservancy’s critical work can continue even when we’re no longer around.
“It’s also important to us to make sure our boys are aware of this expression of our values,” Craig continues. “In fact, we hope that when they start to think about how to invest the fruits of their life’s work, they will also consider doing something that will make the world a better place.”
Although Ann Henderson didn’t see the sea until she was a teenager, she’s felt a kinship with it for as long as she can remember.
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Although Ann Henderson didn’t see the sea until she was a teenager, she’s felt a kinship with it for as long as she can remember. “Growing up, I used to play make-believe with my dolls, inventing stories about visiting islands,” she recalls.
Her first two trips to the sea from her native Germany sealed her passion for the ocean. “The sights and smell drew me,” she says. “I was captivated, watching the waves and thinking about the tide and what lived beneath the water. For me there is a mystique about the ocean.”
Now living in landlocked Oklahoma, Ann remains as committed to protecting the ocean as ever. “The ocean is essential to our survival no matter where we live,” she says, “and I think of each of us should do what we can to respect and protect it. In Oklahoma, the Illinois and Arkansas rivers flow into the Gulf of Mexico. Everything we do affects our ocean.”
To protect the ocean, Ann picks up trash on the lake and lakefront where she lives. She does the same when she visits her daughter on the eastern shore of the U.S. or wherever she happens to be—even the grocery store parking lot!
“So much litter ends up in the ocean,” she laments. “Trash in the ocean harms sea life. I have colleagues who are scuba divers, and they’ve told me how undersea life has deteriorated over time. We need to protect the ocean for our children and grandchildren.”
Ann believes strongly in educating children about how vital the ocean is to life on earth, and how important it is to protect it. “If we can set an example of ocean conservation for children, they’ll carry the habit into adulthood and teach their own children, continuing the virtuous cycle.”
In addition to making small donations over the years, Ann has left a gift for Ocean Conservancy in her will to help protect the ocean for future generations. “I have two daughters and a grandson,” she explains. “I have left gifts for them, of course, but I also want to leave a legacy for the environment. Even after I’m gone, I want to help.”
By telling her story, Ann hopes to encourage others to leave a gift for Ocean Conservancy. “If each of us—those who share a passion for the ocean—does a little something, it can make a huge difference for the future.”
“We both try to make a difference every day in the lives of children. Our bequest to Ocean Conservancy is our opportunity to make a difference for future generations.”
– Florence Oliverio
MARY KAY NEWMANN
“I love [Ocean Conservancy’s] work and together we can be a voice for the ocean and the future.”
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Mary Kay Neumann is an artist whose vibrant watercolors capture the extravagant beauty of the natural world, a psychotherapist who understands the healing power of art, and an activist who uses her work to advocate for the environment.
“Painting the ‘underwater gardens’ of tidepools and garden plants is deeply joyful,” Mary Kay says. “During tidepool explorations on the west coast, I encountered the beautiful sunflower sea stars, a starfish with twenty-four arms that moves rapidly with 15,000 small tubular feet. The beauty of this creature and its similarity to blooming sunflowers on land was astonishing and has been a source of inspiration for decades.”
The sunflower sea star became a guiding force for her work, and she feels the connection deeply: “One morning as I stood knee deep in the Pacific Ocean at low tide, a pair of purple legs emerged from the sea grass. The creature was a sunflower sea star, a starfish with 24 legs and thousands of tiny gyrating tube feet that propelled her towards me. She had a large purple body with contrasting hot pink and orange on the inside of her legs. This little beauty touched my shoe, my pant leg, and as I stood, mesmerized, she felt around my entire foot before finally moving away into the shallows, under the kelp, disappearing into the ocean. I had fallen in love. This moment was one of the most sacred in my life.”
For 20 years, Mary Kay returned to visit the tide pools and observe the sea stars. She began to use her art to educate people about the impact of climate change on the environment – and on the sea stars. In 2013, she discovered that Sea Star Wasting Disease was killing the sea stars. A deadly virus, it causes the sea stars to melt, wiping out most of the sunflower sea star population. Researchers believe large increases in ocean temperatures caused by strong El Nino years in the past decade, ocean acidification and climate change are stressing the stars, making them more susceptible to the pathogens and causing an apocalyptic die off. In turn, because the sea stars are an apex predator, their demise has cause serious impacts to the broader ocean ecosystem. Mary Kay says “There were thousands of them when I visited the tidal pools – then there were none. I felt like a family member had died. My “Melting Sea Star Series” was my challenge to depict these creatures during a time of crisis.”
While mourning her beloved sea stars, Mary Kay realized that one way to move people past the paralysis caused by feeling helpless in the face of the climate crisis is to encourage people to find one thing, one creature, plant or life form that they cherish. “What do you love, that is hurting? Find out what that is, and fight for it. For me, it’s the sunflower sea star. But if everyone works to help one thing that they love, together our efforts will make an impact.” Mary Kay’s current collaborative undertaking, “The Flowers Are Burning: An Art and Climate Justice Project” is a traveling art and climate change exhibition. Using intensely colorful watercolor paintings, the educational project reinforces this message: “What do you love that needs protecting? What are you moved to do about it?”
In addition to her art and activism, Mary Kay has included Ocean Conservancy in her will. “I love their work and together we can be a voice for the ocean and the future.”
DIANE SCOTT & FLORENCE OLIVERIO
“If we can protect the ocean and its ecosystems, our children and our children’s children will have healthier, happier lives. A vibrant ocean is a more important inheritance for our loved ones than anything else we could give them.”
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Diane Scott grew up on Long Island loving waves—“the bigger, the better,” she says. But it wasn’t until she participated in a dolphin swim in Mexico, where the animals were horribly exploited, that protecting the ocean and sea life became her passion. “That experience turned me into an activist,” she says.
Florence Oliverio grew up in Argentina and trained as an opera singer. “My father was an admiral, so my whole family loved the ocean,” she explains.
Though the women arrived at their love of the ocean along different paths, they are now united in their commitment to protecting it forever—and they are accomplishing this goal in two important ways.
Both work with schoolchildren: Diane as a speech therapist and Florence as a special education science teacher. “It’s so important that we motivate kids to care about the environment,” Florence says.Diane agrees. “What will happen if we lose the ocean?” she asks. “What will happen if we continue to contaminate it? These are questions our kids must understand.”
To demonstrate their commitment to a clean ocean, the two have designated a percentage of their estates to Ocean Conservancy. “It’s about not taking the ocean for granted,” says Diane. “A vibrant ocean is a more important inheritance for our loved ones than anything else we could give them,” Florence adds. “We’ve been so impressed with Ocean Conservancy,” says Diane. “It’s not just the work you do, but how you treat us that distinguishes you from other environmental organizations. You treat us as though we’re donating millions of dollars.”
Florence describes their commitment this way: “We both try to make a difference every day in the lives of children. Our bequest to Ocean Conservancy is our opportunity to make a difference for future generations.
MARA AND BOB PERKINS
“Protecting the ocean is the most fundamental way to help our planet heal and it’s the most critical work that must happen for Earth to survive.”
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Mara and Bob Perkins are passionate conservationists and world travelers who live in Carmel, California with their senior rescue dogs. Their love for the ocean and support for the work of Ocean Conservancy stretches back more than 20 years. As their commitment to a healthy ocean grew stronger and they came to understand the far-reaching impact their support could have, they were compelled to make ocean conservation a stronger priority.
“Without the ocean, everything dies,” explains Mara. “Protecting the ocean is the most fundamental way to help our planet heal and it’s the most critical work that must happen for Earth to survive.”
Bob is particularly concerned about plastics and how marine debris impacts the whole ocean ecosystem – microbes, plankton, shrimp, fish, whales, and people. He believes that with Ocean Conservancy’s focus on reducing plastics entering the ocean by 50% by 2025 through its Trash Free Seas ®program, people will become more aware of their impact and proactive about plastics collection and disposal.
Despite the overwhelming challenges facing the ocean environment, the Perkins are hopeful. Bob says, “The more we get involved in conservation, the more encouraged we are by the quality of the people involved with organizations like Ocean Conservancy, who are working to raise public consciousness on these critical issues. So many really great conservationists are optimistic, and they help us feel that each person can still make a difference.”
Mara and Bob are determined to protect the oceans for future generations and are members of the Ocean Legacy Society. Bob explains “we feel very fortunate in our lives. As a result, most of our estate is going to conservation organizations – and Ocean Conservancy is very high on our list!” Mara adds, “It’s a no brainer – we have a moral duty to give back to the planet and support this important conservation work. Ocean Conservancy is an extremely ethical, committed, and effective organization – we get a big bang for our buck!”
Mara and Bob are so grateful for Ocean Conservancy’s visions and commitment. And at Ocean Conservancy, we are even more grateful to have the confidence and unwavering support of people like Mara and Bob.
LINDA AND WILLIAM RICHTER
“There are a lot of organizations with good intentions. But that doesn’t mean they can deliver. And Ocean Conservancy does.”
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Linda and Bill Richter are savvy about their giving, supporting organizations they trust to spend their funds wisely and make the most impact. Ocean Conservancy is thrilled that for more than 15 years, it has been a priority for this generous couple.
Linda and Bill became especially interested in the fate of the oceans and its animal life in particular when they were first married and living in Hawaii. Now in Kansas, they try to keep up to date on the issues – Linda even writes a column for their church newsletter to share environmental news and suggest ways for the congregation to help the planet.
As vegetarians and animal advocates, they feel passionately about protecting both land and marine animals and their environments and have passed on those values to their family, including their four grandchildren. One granddaughter participates in the International Coastal Cleanup and Linda shares that they all love animals. The Richters try to encourage others to engage children and young people in environmental protection. “For example, we encourage oceanside resorts to set up supervised beach cleanup activities for the children to learn, even as they enjoy helping.”
Now retired from careers in academia, the Richters continue the travel first sparked by their professional research in South and Southeast Asia. But even on vacation, they bring their environmental protection message with them. “Whenever we are on a cruise, we try to take the ship’s tour of their waste disposal methods – so they know that people are paying attention. We recognize that travel can be harmful and try to minimize the impact of we have on the environment.”
Linda and Bill encourage their friends to get involved and be smart about their support. “There are a lot of organizations with good intentions. But that doesn’t mean they can deliver. And Ocean Conservancy does.”
The Richters are members of the Ocean Legacy Society and have established a two-life charitable gift annuity to benefit Ocean Conservancy. Bill likes to share with others an essay he has written, “Doing Well by Doing Good” that explains different ways of giving and the benefits of each. “I like to let people know that there are a lot of ways to give and some of them are really beneficial to them – including charitable gift annuities.” Beyond the financial benefits, the Richters remind us that there is a higher value in giving: “Something in our very being is enhanced by giving back to the world which has given us so much.”
TOM AND JAN SCHULER
“It’s a legacy for our children, and for the oceans, and the future. I want to see more and more people get involved in saving the oceans, saving the coral, the fishes, everything. It’s the biggest issue of our time. It can seem insurmountable, but you can start with a small action, and build from there and together, we can create significant change.”
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From their commitment to their faith and ministry, to their unwavering advocacy for the ocean and the deep love they have for their family (including two beautiful grandchildren), Tom and Jan Schuler embody the principles of living an intentional, purposeful life.
Ocean Conservancy supporters for more than 25 years and members of the Ocean Legacy Society, Tom and Jan both grew up near the ocean. While they now live far from the shore, the draw of the water remains, and they visit as often as possible. “The ocean has been important to us even long before we started supporting Ocean Conservancy. So it’s really in our DNA,” shares Tom. “We’re a diving family. We travel to the ocean and we walk the beaches. We always try to leave it a little better when we leave.” But the Schulers know that personal action must be combined with action on a larger scale: “We want to support this work on a much more macro level. We aren’t policy experts or lobbyists. There’s where Ocean Conservancy comes in.”
Tom and Jan carry their thoughtful intentionality to their philanthropy. “We believe that there should be a significant focus of life on something bigger than yourself or the four walls you live in. We take that responsibility really seriously and we choose carefully the organizations we support. And as people who spend so much time at the shore and in the water, we see firsthand what is happening as a result of climate change. Which is why Ocean Conservancy is our sole focus for environmental giving.”
They are particularly drawn to the way Ocean Conservancy spreads the message of ocean advocacy. “The ocean is a resource that billions of people rely on. It’s important for everyone regardless of their political views, or their generation. And Ocean Conservancy offers a balanced message and a balanced solution – they bring people together to support their work.”
Ultimately, Tom and Jan are committed to creating a legacy for the future in all areas of their lives: “Through the wonderful time we spend with our grandchildren, to the ministry work we are involved in, to advocating for the health of our oceans, we want to invest in the future. We want to invest in Ocean Conservancy, and we trust their people, policies and impact. We’re investing in something bigger than we are.”
As members of the Ocean Legacy Society, Tom and Jan have included Ocean Conservancy in their estate plans and they encourage other supporters to join them. “It’s a legacy for our children, and for the oceans, and the future. I want to see more and more people get involved in saving the oceans, saving the coral, the fishes, everything. It’s the biggest issue of our time. It can seem insurmountable, but you can start with a small action, and build from there and together, we can create significant change.”
ROSEMARY AND JIM WALSH
The Walshes are Depression-era babies whose parents instilled in them a great appreciation for the natural world — values they have passed down to their children and grandchildren.
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Rosemary and Jim Walsh are Depression-era babies whose parents instilled in them a great appreciation for the natural world — values the Walshes have passed down to their children and grandchildren.
Like her parents, Rosemary grew up in Wisconsin. Her mother was raised near the Wisconsin River, which was heavily dammed because of all the paper mills. “You could almost walk across, it was so polluted,” Rosemary says. Rosemary’s father, the son of a German immigrant dairy farmer, bought farmland on a river in Wisconsin, where the family planted thousands of evergreens themselves. Rosemary says, “It was imbued in my soul to care about the environment.”
As a child, Rosemary spent summers at a cabin with no running water. “We wasted nothing,” she says. “If you were raised during the Depression, you realized that you didn’t need a lot. We took care of our things.”
Rosemary’s background helped influence Jim. “She got me thinking about the importance of respecting all living things. It changed me for the rest of my life. She’s made me more aware of nature. She’s set a great standard for me,” he says.
The Walshes’ children are equally sensitive and protective of the environment. Rosemary remembers a time when her son was disconsolate after breaking a spider’s web. “The spider had worked so hard on it!” she recalls him saying. “We never preached to them, but they got it by example.”
Rosemary saw the ocean for the first time when she took her daughter to school in California. “The ocean is to be cherished,” she says. “It makes me want to cry to think of the things we’ve done to this miracle.” She bemoans the effects of global warming and humanity’s carelessness. “It all has to work together, the land with the water, the plants, the people. We have to fix the problem. There is no other way.”
The couple supports several environmental groups, including Ocean Conservancy. “We feel such a sense of accomplishment when we read about their successes,” Rosemary says. Thrifty to their core, they’ve saved a nest egg — as befits children of the Depression — and plan to pass much of it on to their children and grandchildren. But they’ve reserved part of their estate to go to Ocean Conservancy. Rosemary encourages others to turn their values into a lasting legacy. “Even 1 or 2 percent from each person would be a lot of money and could protect the ocean in the future,” she says.
“I grew up on the Chesapeake Bay. My favorite memories are the late afternoon fishing adventures with my father.”
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“I grew up on the Chesapeake Bay. My favorite memories are the late afternoon fishing adventures with my father. We’d set out in a little outboard boat with our fishing gear and a small cooler that contained two beers for my dad and two cans of apple juice for me. When I was very young, it seemed that there were plenty of striped bass (Rockfish) to be caught and they were delicious! Later, a moratorium was imposed and Rockfish were off limits for many years. Fortunately, the Bay is resilient and with the help of groups like Ocean Conservancy that work on saving treasures like the Chesapeake Bay, I am fishing again for striped bass and remembering my dad. I’ve been lucky to work for Ocean Conservancy for almost 30 years. I can’t imagine a more satisfying career than to work for a healthier and more sustainable ocean.”
– Charlotte Meyer
“I began to feel a growing need for more ocean contact and searched for meaningful volunteer work to learn more and pass on my enthusiasm for the oceans to others.”
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In his earlier life, Dave Zaches learned to appreciate the ocean while salmon fishing with his father in Monterey Bay. In three summers he paid for his first two years at Stanford University through his efforts. Soon however, demands of life and work took over, his career in real estate leaving little time for volunteer work.
But as Dave looked towards retirement, the pull of the ocean returned: “I began to feel a growing need for more ocean contact and searched for meaningful volunteer work to learn more and pass on my enthusiasm for the oceans to others.”
Dave ultimately served on Ocean Conservancy’s Board of Directors for seven years, and still remains an ardent supporter. He explains: “I’m so pleased we are the leader in our nation in ocean knowledge and science as well as environmental and fisheries protections. Ocean Conservancy’s development of alliances and partnerships creates synergy which carries weight and clout to benefit our oceans, and which has led to many significant successes.”
Beyond appreciating the efficacy of Ocean Conservancy’s work, Dave enjoyed his involvement for another reason – “Ocean Conservancy board, staff and volunteers are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.”
Particularly interested in Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas initiative, Dave is thrilled that the annual Coastal Cleanups are now international: volunteers from states and territories throughout the U.S. and more than 100 countries come together each year and participate in a Cleanup event near them. For more than 30 years, nearly 12 million volunteers from diverse countries have worked together to collect more than 220 million pounds of trash. And he looks to Ocean Conservancy’s leadership to stop the use of oceans as garbage dumps and stop the inundation of plastics onto the world’s beaches and shores.
Because of his deep and personal commitment to Ocean Conservancy’s work, Dave is a member of the Ocean Legacy Society and has included Ocean Conservancy in his estate plans. As he says, “I am so pleased with their work and successes!” and this meaningful gift is an abiding testament to the healthy ocean future Dave believes is possible.
“Growing up the ocean was never far away. I quickly became entranced by the beauty and bounty of the ocean.”
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“Growing up the ocean was never far away. I learned to sail at a young age on the Chesapeake Bay and spent summers exploring the Sheepscot River in Maine. My favorite memories of the summer are fishing for mackerel and exploring the tidal pools looking for crabs and other critters. I quickly became entranced by the beauty and bounty of the ocean. But as I grew older I started to learn about the threats facing the ocean and the need to protect it. Working at Ocean Conservancy has enabled me to help protect and preserve the ocean and marine wildlife for future generations and I could not be prouder to work here.”
– Thomas Perkins
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