April 2016- articles
To Our Volunteers: From The Bottom of Our Hearts
Sifting through clothing piled to the tops of the sorting tables, surrounding them from every side, Volunteers’ hands move fast folding and smoothing donations of t-shirts and blue jeans that will soon become revenue for programs or emergency clothing for participants. In the background you hear someone say “Thank you for your donation! We’ll see you next time!” as another person places a large bag filled with more donations by the feet of the Volunteers passionately sorting. I peek through the swinging door to the backroom of the CASA Collections Thrift Shoppe, and despite the never-ending flow of donations, the Volunteers look up and smile, hands never stopping.
The hum of the air conditioner provides a backdrop to the conversations fluttering about the room. CASA Volunteers sit side-by-side with survivors seeking Injunctions for Protection, offering guidance as individuals navigate the overwhelming process to simply remain safe from violence. Three stapled stacks of documents sit in front of them, 26 pages combined, riddled with legal jargon and questions like “Do you genuinely fear being hurt by the Respondent?” and blank line after blank line waiting for words about the “…latest act of violence or threat of violence that causes Petitioner to honestly fear imminent domestic violence by Respondent.” As the pen hits the paper preparing to recount the violence, a volunteer places their hand on the shoulder of the survivor sitting next to them, a friendly touch encouraging empowerment to reclaim the basic human right of safety and security, that of which we all deserve.
Women shuffle into the dimly lit room, off of a long hallway, and take a seat along the wall where chairs are lined haphazardly. As one of the most heavily-attended support groups in the Shelter, survivors depend on their weekly meeting to talk about what they’ve been through, develop ways in which they can cope with their shared experiences, and gain the self-worth they so desperately desire. A Volunteer greets them with a smile, as she always does. After almost two long years of observation and material development, she is finally facilitating support groups on her own. Becoming a familiar face amongst the survivors living at CASA’s Shelter, she knows these women, not only personally, but she sees herself in them. As the room falls silent and the chatter slows down, she says “Hello, ladies!” and they begin.
Every month, CASA Volunteers consistently dedicate on average a total of nearly 1,000 hours to programs like our Emergency Shelter, Community Outreach and Thrift Shoppe. That works out to almost 12,000 hours per year, the equivalent of $156,000 in savings!
As Volunteer Appreciation Week is quickly approaching – April 11th through the 15th - I think about the entire United States celebrating our volunteers. I may be biased, but I am certain that our volunteers are some of the best this community has to offer, and I am constantly amazed at the level of dedication, compassion, hard work and unique ideas that our Volunteers bring to our organization. Without them, CASA could not continue forward in doing the work that we do, and it is our Volunteers that we are eternally grateful. From all of us at CASA, including your Volunteer Specialist, THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts!
Learn more about volunteering at CASA by visiting www.casa-stpete.org/volunteer!
p: 727-895-4912 x 166
A Legacy Your Family Will Be Proud Of:
REMEMBERING CASA IN YOUR WILL OR TRUST
Just this afternoon, a CASA supporter stopped by the office to tell me she was going to see her attorney next week. It wasn’t the awkward conversation you may have expected. She was determined to ensure nothing would stop her from helping CASA continue its mission to eradicate domestic violence within our community.
She had scheduled an appointment with her attorney to add CASA as a beneficiary in her new will. Now and into the future, her lasting gift would help us to provide safe haven to victims and their children each and every day.
We talked about many legacy vehicles she can discuss with her attorney that benefit CASA and her desire to support our mission in a much greater way upon her passing.
Charitable giving plays a major role in the estate planning process. Many donors appreciate the unlimited federal estate tax charitable deduction and are motivated to give to the charity of their choice to minimize taxes. Others wish to insure that their financial support to a given charity, such as CASA, does not end at death or is significantly enhanced by a much larger bequest upon their passing.
CASA can be named as a beneficiary in your will or living trust. CASA can be a named beneficiary on retirement assets or life insurance policies. And while these type gifts may be the most common, your attorney and/or tax advisor can also discuss other estate planning charitable strategies including Donor Advised Funds, Charitable Remainder or Lead Trusts, Charitable Gifts Annuities, and Pooled Income Funds. In short, there are many ways to remember CASA from the most simple to the most complex of strategies.
Naming CASA as a beneficiary in your will and trust allows you to maintain control over your assets during your lifetime and you can always change the provisions of a will or trust until you die or may be declared incompetent. Bequests can be made as a percentage of your estate, a specific amount of money, as a residuary, and even as a specific bequest for a specific purpose. Again, your attorney or tax advisor can explain these options to you in greater detail.
If CASA is the right fit for your own charitable estate intent, here’s how to list CASA in your will or trust:
Community Action Stops Abuse (CASA)
1011 First Avenue North
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Federal Tax ID Number: 59-2114359
CASA has 501(c)(3) non-profit tax exempt status.
For further details or information, contact:
John Biesinger, Major Gifts Manager
P: 727-895-4912 x105