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There's a little something in each of us that's attracted to the idea of living forever.
While it's obviously not possible in the physical sense, the ability to create something that will remind the world that we existed long after we're gone is a wonderful legacy. It's not just about who we are or what we've done that can make us immortal, it's about the people whose lives we'll touch well into the future.
Erin Jones '88SVC spends her days helping others to create their lasting legacy. As senior director of planned giving at San Diego State University, she creates the map that allows donors to begin their journey along the road to making a lasting difference for those who'll come after them.
"I've found that while many people want to establish a legacy, most of them don't know how to go about it," she noted. "I remind my donors that if something is important to them now during their life, it can still be important to them as their legacy. Since they're already loyal donors, I work with them to build upon that loyalty and make it part of their future."
Development by Osmosis
Jones is no stranger to the world of philanthropic giving. Her father was vice president of development at St. John's University for many years, and as the youngest of seven children, she often accompanied him to donor-related activities at the University.
"I remember going to the St. John's vs. Georgetown basketball game when I was about 9 years old and handing out name tags," she laughingly recalled. "I guess I picked up on the importance of development almost by osmosis."
She also picked up on the value of a St. John's education, graduating from St. Vincent's College in 1988 with a degree in Communications that included a minor in business. Always outgoing and social, she made the most of her time on campus by participating in a wide variety of student activities that helped to define her St. John's experience.
A Connection With St. John's
She was a member of Theta Phi Alpha Sorority, scorekeeper for the lacrosse team, Student Government Senator and member of the Irish Society. Jones even taught aerobics to her fellow students in Alumni Hall (now Carnesecca Arena).
This outgoing professional sees a strong connection between her time at St. John's and her current career success.
"I got a great education at St. John's, and also enjoyed so many opportunities to develop my people skills," she said. "What I do as a development professional really begins with establishing a strong personal relationship with potential donors. It's all about trust, and showing them how they can invest in something that they already have a passion for in new ways that they never thought possible."
The Road to Forever
Although her career has taken her to the west coast, Jones continues to remain connected to the University that has played such an important role in so many areas of her life. She makes a point of coming back to New York every few years and always plans ahead to get together with many other alumni with whom she's stayed in touch.
Taking her own steps along the road to immortality, she is a member of The McCallen Society and has already included St. John's in her estate plans.
"I encourage people to set up their legacy every day," she noted. "I talk to them about the importance of giving back, and so there's no way that I wouldn't do the same myself. I really believe in St. John's. I believe in its mission and I'll always be grateful for what the University did for me. Those are the kinds of opportunities that I want to leave behind for others, because it's something that they just can't get anywhere else. That's what I'd like to be remembered for at St. John's."
Your Chance at Making Endless Impact
To learn how you can establish a legacy that affects future generations, please click here.
If you're interested in telling your St. John’s story, please contact Kathleen Mannion, Assistant Director of Gift Planning at 718-990-5312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For legal or tax advice, please consult an attorney. Figures cited in examples are for hypothetical purposes only and are subject to change. References to estate and income taxes apply to federal taxes only. State income/estate taxes or state law may impact your results.