For Nancy Strong, it was a moment of silence that sent the loudest message.
In November 1963, Nancy and her husband, Bill, lived in Miraflores, Peru, where Bill worked for the National Council of Churches. The couple shared a housing complex with about 100 low- and middle-income Peruvian families, and they'd grown close to their neighbors.
Still, the day they heard the stunning news of President John F. Kennedy's assassination, "I remember thinking I would just be kind of quiet about it," says Nancy Strong. "But then I found all my neighbors wanted to come over and talk to us." That evening, the Strongs attended the symphony orchestra and were surprised to find the concert preceded by a moment of silence in honor of President Kennedy.
For Nancy, these gestures provided new insight into an interconnected world. "It made us more aware... about the importance of our government and how we act abroad," she recalls. "There's such good will around the world. It's ignored, it's trivialized, it's minimized—but it's real."
Strong believes that organizations like Oxfam America can build on this sense of human connection. "When you work locally... you can really do something," she says. "Participation, real democracy, means people helping people."
Strong has lived these values through her extensive volunteer work with the Boston peace group Voice of Women, Church World Service, and Habitat for Humanity, among others. She and Bill have cut cane in Cuba and picked cotton in Nicaragua. She's worked for the UN, taught anthropology and social studies, worked as a newspaper reporter, and edited school publications. In the early 1980s, she helped to found The Peace Center in Langhorne, PA; though she had to juggle a lot of odd jobs to get the center up and running, it's still operating today.
Strong says her charitable giving focuses on three issues: peacemaking, civil rights, and the environment. Though involved with many groups, she and Bill chose Oxfam because "it gives people the tools they need—and then helps clear the way for them by boldly addressing the growing inequities in our world."
The Strongs' contribution takes the form of a charitable gift annuity in Oxfam's planned giving program. "Bill and I want to whittle down our resources now, while still retaining enough to take care of our needs later," says Nancy. "A charitable annuity does both—in a simple, uncomplicated way."
Nancy Strong is retired and lives in New Jersey with her husband. For more information about planned giving opportunities, visit www.oxfamamerica.org/plannedgiving or contact Andrew Morrison at 617-371-2723 or 1-800-776-9326 ext. 2723
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