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Donor Stories – Charitable Trust

Making a lasting impact to help those in need

Connecticut Food Bank supporter Ellen Ryerson leads a balanced and enriched life.  And it was this balanced approach that the retired attorney and university administrator took to achieve her philanthropic goals through estate planning.

 Ellen volunteered for the Food Bank in the late 1980s when she was “between jobs.” Having gone from a career in academic administration at Yale University into private legal practice at Wiggin & Dana, she decided to return to the academic world.  After this interlude and for the next decade plus, Ellen played leadership roles at New York Law School and, again, at Yale.

 “I was seeking meaningful volunteer work that would support those less fortunate,” Ellen said. “I felt that not going hungry was pretty close to the top of the list of human needs.” It was then she began volunteering at Connecticut Food Bank’s main warehouse in East Haven, sorting canned goods and preparing produce and salvage food items for distribution.

 Ellen and her husband Yale Musicologist Leon Plantinga donate to a wide range of charities that includes Connecticut Food Bank. When asked what prompted her to include the Food Bank in her estate plans, Ellen replied, “I am privileged enough to be able to give both to the family and friends I care about and to the charities whose efforts I admire. After all these years, the Food Bank still seems to me to be doing some of the most important work around.”

 Ellen performed her due diligence on her options with her estate attorney. She set up a charitable remainder trust which will provide tax savings and allow her to provide for a survivor if necessary for a period after her death. The assets remaining would be put in the trust to Connecticut Food Bank and other charities.

 “It was never a question of whether or not to make charitable gifts through my estate, but where the gifts would come from and where the gifts would go,” Ellen added. “I’m a believer in the Food Bank and am glad to have a plan to continue my support after I’m gone.”

 If you would like more information about how you can make a lasting impact through an estate gift, please email cfb@ctfoodbank.org or call (203) 469-5000.

 Please note that Connecticut Food Bank does not provide financial or legal advice on estate planning matters. Please contact your professional advisor.

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