A Window Into Puppy Philanthropy

Philanthropy means different things to different people. To Laurie Livingston, a longtime Humane Society of Missouri volunteer, philanthropy means to give back through time, money, conversation or through one's actions.

Laurie holds firm to the belief that by doing just one kind act a day, you can make the world a better place. Luckily for the Humane Society, Laurie felt called to answer an ad in the newspaper 15 years ago seeking volunteers to assist with educational programs. Today, Laurie is intensely focused on humane education, kennel enrichment, and making a difference in the lives of the animals, the staff and fellow volunteers.

Laurie says she volunteers because it gives her tremendous fulfillment.

"I have all I need, and I find great joy in happy endings," she says.

Laurie is very involved and committed to humane education. And she loves the partnership with the St. Louis City schools through the Humane IQ program.

Sometimes a school visit is a student's first exposure to being kind to animals. Often at the beginning of the program, the children shy away because they are fearful of the dog, but then at the end of the program, they are lined up to pet the animal.

"During my time with them, I tell them they can donate a gently used stuffed animal to be a cage buddy or that there is a need for blankets and bedding for the cages," Laurie says. "I think it is important to teach children there is something that you have that someone needs more."

Several years into her tenure as a volunteer, Laurie voiced a concern that would greatly change the daily lives of the dogs in the kennels. Laurie had always thought that the bars had a negative connotation and potentially tainted how potential owners viewed the dogs. She recommended that all the bars be replaced with tempered glass.

Not only did this create an appealing environment, but it also resulted in a healthier environment for the dogs because the glass makes it more difficult for people to have direct contact with the dogs. Some of the glass in the get-acquainted rooms was frosted to give dogs and their potential owners an opportunity to get to know each other in private with as few distractions as possible.

Her idea was funded by a generous gift from the William and Betty Halliday Foundation. The Hallidays were Laurie's parents and longtime supporters of the Humane Society. As a result of careful estate planning, the Halliday Foundation has been able to enrich the lives of the animals at the Humane Society and to pay enduring tribute to the Hallidays' love of animals.

Happy Puppies
A year ago, Laurie became involved with enrichment for the dogs in the shelter. The enrichment program is mindful that the dogs need to be stimulated and exercised mentally during their time at the Humane Society of Missouri. Enrichment activities attempt to eliminate the barrier frustration, ensure positive kennel behavior and give these dogs a real shot at a second chance.

Positive behavior is reinforced, and each dog receives one-on-one interaction. On a recent day, over the course of the interview, several dogs were guided in and out for their twice-aday walks and Laurie greeted each passerby by name, receiving a happy tail wag in return. Laurie's reaction was one of pure joy and satisfaction.

"I came to make a positive difference in the lives of the animals," Laurie says. "What I didn't anticipate was how my life would be enriched. I have met and worked with so many wonderful people-other volunteers and staff. Some have become my dearest friends. People from different backgrounds and callings, all with different talents, come together to change the lives of our animals in need."

"We all have something to give to make our community better. Large or small, it makes a difference. The feeling of joy I get from helping is immeasurable, and I am very proud to be a small part of the great work that the Humane Society does for the animals."

If you have questions about providing for the Humane Society of Missouri in your estate plans or about other planned gifts, please contact Jessica Arnold, at 314-951-1556 or jarnold@hsmo.org.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the Humane Society of Missouri a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to the Humane Society of Missouri, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 1201 Macklind Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, or its successor thereto, ______________ [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to HSMO or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to HSMO as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to HSMO as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and HSMO where you agree to make a gift to HSMO and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.

First name is required
Last Name is required
Please include an '@' in the email address

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.

First name is required
Last Name is required
Please include an '@' in the email address