‘Ask not what your community can do for you, ask what you can do for your community’

Bennetta Schramm left a message.
The 94-year-old South County resident loved animals so much that
she left the bulk of her multi-million dollar estate
– as much as $10 million – to increase the quality of their
lives.
1. Large estate left to help animals carries an underlying message

Bennetta Schramm left a message.

The 94-year-old South County resident loved animals so much that she left the bulk of her multi-million dollar estate – as much as $10 million – to increase the quality of their lives.

It’s astounding, truly, and we can only hope that the Silicon Valley Community Foundation – which is charged with using the funds wisely – will handle and distribute the gift appropriately in ways that reach her intended goals.

There are so many ways the money can be used effectively, and certainly Schramm would have wanted a tidy sum to benefit animals in the area where she lived.

2. We should realize that great need exists all through the year

During her life, Schramm donated more than $200,000 to the St. Francis of Assisi Animal Rescue and their low-cost spay and neuter clinic in San Martin. Schramm’s estate planning lawyer, Richard Kinyon, told reporter Sara Suddes that there’s a “reasonable likelihood that a substantial portion of her estate will end up benefiting one or more charities in South County but it isn’t mandated. The foundation has the final say.”

Schramm’s message, regardless, is simple: Give.

Giving, of course, includes volunteering as well as donating money. And now that the holidays are past, it’s a good time to remind ourselves that needs exist all year round.

3. Every volunteer hour given strengthens our community

A commitment to continuing the holiday spirit is in order. Now, obviously we all can’t give $200,000, to say nothing of $10 million. But giving does not mandate cash nor preclude volunteering. Should you have the means, donating money to local nonprofits that do so much good work throughout the year is wonderful. But it’s not just money that is needed. Many local nonprofits need help in terms of volunteers.

There are many organizations which need a hand – the Salvation Army, Community Solutions, St. Joseph’s Family Center, the South Valley Symphony or any local church or school.

No matter what separates people, helping those in need is what brings people together. And isn’t that the Christmas spirit that should be on display 365 days a year?

Getting involved strengthens our community. It’s a large part of what keeps Gilroy great.

To take a small liberty with the late John F. Kennedy’s words, “… ask not what your community can do for you – ask what you can do for your community.”

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