Boys’ Home in Covington, Virginia, has been serving the mountain people of Allegheny County since 1906. Today, the long-term child care facility provides an environment that nurtures each young man’s spiritual, mental, physical, and social potential. Affiliated with the Episcopal Church, Boys’ Home serves approximately 70 boys in residence each year. Through a wide range of campus and community activities, residents are encouraged to participate in recreation, sports, scouting, and church programs.
By the 1990s, a growing endowment had been established based on bequests and other gifts received as a result of the institution’s good reputation and positive communication efforts throughout the region. Looking at its success without an organized planned giving program, Boys’ Home management decided recently to inaugurate an effort to actively encourage planned gifts.
Give & Take spoke with Mr. Roy Waller, Boys’ Home planned giving officer, about the program.
G&T: We understand you applied for a grant to help fund the start-up costs of your planned giving program?
Mr. Waller: That’s right. In our case, funding was received from a foundation established by Mrs. Jessie Ball duPont, that has made generous gifts to Boys’ Home as well as other institutions for many years. In 1970, Mrs duPont established a fund which has awarded many grants to Boys’ Home. With the most recent grant, we established our planned giving program.
G&T: How did you receive the grant?
Mr. Waller: Only those institutions to which Mrs. duPont made financial contributions during her later years can receive payments from the fund. We projected out expenses and outlined an anticipated growth in order to qualify. This one-time grant of $150,000 will be received in installments over the next three years.
G&T: How do you plan to proceed with your planned giving efforts?
Mr. Waller: Tim Sharpe, of the Sharpe company, provides planned giving training to our staff and Board of Trustees. We send mailings of informational brochures, newsletters, and invitations to special gatherings as well as invitations to visit the campus in Covington. At Tim’s suggestion, we acquired an age overlay of our records, which date back to the 1950s. We discovered a core group of 2,400 prospects who have given over a long period of time.
G&T: Have any gifts resulted from these efforts so far?
Mr. Waller: Yes, we have received several — including gifts of land, insurance, and annuities. We have also been notified that we are included in wills of several people.
G&T: You mentioned that 85% of the cost of the services you provide to the boys under your care is made possible by growth in endowment and contributions. How will you use planned giving to increase your endowment?
Mr. Waller: We will continue to work, to tell our story, and to be available to help our donors. We use a low-key approach and let our progress with these young men speak for itself and for our effectiveness as an institution. In addition, we have just created The Navigator Society to recognize and honor donors who are making long- range gift plans for Boys’ Home. Thanks to our benefactors’ support, no boy is ever denied service due to inability to pay.
G&T: How did you become involved in working for Boys’ Home?
Mr. Waller: First, I am an alum. I lived here for 10 years, from 1941 to 1951. I had a business in Suffolk, Virginia, and was on the Board of Trustees for seven years. Finally, I sold my business and became a development officer for the Home several years ago. Last year, I completed the 96-hour course at the National Planned Giving Institute at the College of William and Mary, and now I am the planned giving officer here. Our executive director, Donnie Wheatley, also has a vested interest since he, too, grew up in the Home.
Thanks to a strong case for support, Mrs. duPont’s generosity, and the deep commitment of Mr. Waller, Mr. Wheatley and other staff and volunteer leadership, Boys’ Home will enjoy financial security far into the future.