Building Legacies Together

What do a couple from Michigan and a woman from Lexington, Kentucky have in common? These young transplants are so in love with their adopted home, they practically gush as they compare notes. “I fell in love with the city the moment I arrived,” said Katie Hesse. “It’s easy to live here,” Laura-Aurora (L-A) Stopa added. “It’s just cosmopolitan enough.” L-A and her husband Jeff reside in Burlington, Kentucky; both work in their adopted state. Jeff is a senior scientist/research chef at WILD Flavors & Specialty Ingredients and L-A is the director of member investments and engagement for the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. Katie lives in the Mt. Auburn neighborhood of Cincinnati; she helps others find new homes as a realtor for Coldwell Banker West Shell in Hyde Park. Watch Katie speak about her planned gift for Greater Cincinnati.

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Talking to these three about their community and charitable passions is as diverse as it is interesting. Animal welfare is important to Jeff and L-A (they love beagles). All three play a musical instrument. L-A has alopecia and plans to start a mobile wig nonprofit to help others. Katie sings in the Young Professionals Choral Collective. Jeff wants to help others with arthritis. L-A volunteers at DCCH Center for Children & Families in Fort Mitchell. Katie volunteers at ArtsWave.

What they also have in common is the foresight and desire to leave their assets to the new home they’ve embraced.T hey all worked with The Greater Cincinnati Foundation to fulfill their goals through a gift in their will. Katie found leaving her assets to GCF’s Community Fund was the logical choice. “My goal is that my gift is preserved in an endowment,” she said. “I have no idea 20 years after my death what will be important to the community or what the greatest need will be.”

“The only thing I care about is that it’s an endowed gift. It goes into a bigger pot and the principal is never touched. It will grow and that’s what gets gifted. I don’t care where it goes as long as it goes to go to the greater good.” L-A and Jeff decided to focus their legacy through a field of interest fund supporting their specific passions.

“I felt we were talking to people who were actually listening,” L-A said of GCF. “Because we don’t have kids, we don’t have anyone that could manage the money. We feel like you are our kids!”

“When it comes down to it, when you find the relationships, the friendships, and the camaraderie in an organization that helps you fulfill your individual goals, that’s the vehicle that works,” Jeff added.

Well said by a hometown guy.