Turning Memories into Legacy

July 25, 2017



Written By: Mike

By Mike Bussey

One weekend nearly a decade ago, my wife and I drove 650 miles to a camp in Northern Minnesota to have dinner with our youngest son.

John was a camp counselor retuning to camp after leading a group of five young men on a 40-day canoe trip to Arctic Ocean. Camp tradition encourages the parents of those on trips to gather at camp to welcome groups back and to join them for dinner and a closing campfire. The following day we drove 650 miles back to Wheaton – 1,300 miles in two days just to spend a few hours with our son and his campers!

The Bussey Family during one of those 72 camping experiences!

As we were leaving camp the following morning, it occurred to us that this was the last time we would have the privilege of visiting on our kids at camp. Over an 18-year period, our three boys had been to camps a total of 72 times as both campers and counselors.

We talked about how we were so grateful for the impact that camp has had on our three boys. They have become better people and terrific leaders because of their many camp experiences. Our family had made a significant investment of time and resources over the years, but it was worth it!

Although we had been fortunate enough to be able to pay for our kid’s camp experiences, we’ve always been aware that there are thousands of kids who don’t have the same opportunity.

With this in mind, we made the decision to establish a Family Endowment Fund – a fund that provides annual support for kids to go to camp. No one solicited us to make this commitment. On the contrary, we made this commitment to express our gratitude for the impact that this camp has had our kids’ lives.

In reflecting back on this decision that Marcia and I made nearly 10 years ago, we are more excited than ever about the impact our Family Endowment Fund will have on the lives of young people for generations to come. We look forward to continuing to provide additional funding as our estate plan unfolds.

Unfortunately, years of experience have told me that most families with historic and significant relationships with organizations don’t know how to create a Family Endowment Fund, and most organizations do a minimal job, at best, in helping them figure it out.

Connecting mission and philanthropic support is not difficult. It’s a wonderful way to connect a participant’s memories to their hopes – and yours –for the future.

If you would like to talk about how you can nurture these kinds of long-term, wonderful relationships with your church, school or other nonprofit organization, please reach out to us for an obligation-free conversation.

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5 responses to “Turning Memories into Legacy”

  1. Mike,
    What a great story about how you and your family have been impacted by the Y Camp. Your continued support will impact children over many years.

    Thanks for being an inspiration for all of us.


    • Mike Mike Bussey says:

      Hi John,
      On behalf of all of us at DBD, thank you for reading and commenting on all of our blogs! We deeply appreciate your support and encouragement! With all best wishes for continued success in your work!

    • Mike Mike Bussey says:

      Hi Denny,
      Thanks for reading DBD blogs and for your comment! You have lots of YMCA members and friends in Kearney willing to make similar commitments!

  2. John Alexander says:

    Mike, it was dandy to hear your story again about the impact that “camp” has had on your family, and your positive and intentional reaction. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Katie Trippi says:

    Thank you for the reminder that our organizations should be creating opportunities for our alums and parents of alums to return and reconnect with the great work we are all doing. McGaw YMCA Camp Echo is reaching out to all our alums and donors and inviting them to come visit for a few hours or a couple of days. The impact of those visits are very powerful to the individuals and to our organization. It is so important to welcome people back to a place they consider home.