September 29, 2022

Celebrating Legacy Giving at MCF

by David Koehler

multi-colored thank you from MYARTS

Each year we gather to celebrate Madison Community Foundation’s Legacy Society – 274 individuals and couples who plan to support the community and causes they care about through their estates.

It’s always a feel-good event and a favorite of many who attend, and not just because of the great food (more on the great food in a minute).

To start, it’s a room filled with people choosing to give back to strengthen our community. While their motivations to give and the impact they hope to make vary considerably, there’s a strong shared sense of gratitude and joy in the room – a common side-effect of giving to help others. It was also the first time we’d been together live for this event since the beginning of the pandemic, and it’s clear this kind of togetherness and community is good for the soul.

A group of four people chatting at a table at the 2022 Legacy Society brunch People gathering at MyArts for the 2022 Legacy Society Brunch


The Madison Youth Arts Center (MyArts), our venue, was also a hit. MyArts is our community’s spectacular new home for youth arts. The space was built by philanthropy (thank you Pleasant Rowland and Jerry Frautschi, and the 500 others who gave) to ensure opportunities for young people to express themselves, discover the arts and create connections. If you haven’t seen MyArts, it’s definitely worth a visit to learn more.

The food was another big highlight – prepared and served by the nonprofit Little John’s Kitchen – our community’s kitchen for transforming food excess into accessible, chef-quality meals for everyone regardless of their means.

Led by Chef Dave Heide, Little John’s has partnered with dozens of community organizations and is on pace to provide 800,000 meals for individuals in need – this year alone. They recently opened a pay-what-you-can café at the Madison Children’s Museum and have plans for a new facility where they will dramatically increase meal production to help eliminate food insecurity.

The program was brief and heartfelt – including a powerful video performance by the Madison Youth Choirs and inspiring words from Mike Ross, their Artistic Director, on how legacy giving has made a real difference for their mission.

We also shared a moving video about two Madison artists who created the Women Artists Forward Fund and one of the country’s largest annual prizes for female artists. If you have 10 minutes, the videos are worth a watch!

Thank you to Jen Hannon and Godfrey & Kahn for their longtime sponsorship of this event, and to all of our Legacy Society members who together are creating a force for good in our community for generations to come.

Leaving a Legacy for Women Artists

“When you start talking about endowments and legacy you're sort of implying a very long term vision. So now it's two grants every year, but maybe sometime in the future it's going to be a lot more than that. And people will be flocking to Madison to work as artists.”  ~ Tom Loeser

Learn More About Leaving a Legacy.