Donor Creates UUA Walt Whitman Fund to Promote Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns
from the Legacy Newsletter
Over lunch in a cozy mom-and-pop restaurant in northern Maine, Frank talked about his dreams. Frank is a retired businessman in his seventies. He lives in a large, old house in a small town and has one adult son living with his own family in a different part of the country. Since becoming a UU in the late 1940's, Frank has been a member of several congregations and now belongs to the Church of the Larger Fellowship.
Frank has willed his $1.5 million estate to a charitable remainder trust to create the Walt Whitman Fund, a permanent endowment fund at the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). The Whitman Fund will provide the UUA with resources to lift up gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) concerns through two important UUA programs that impact GLBT people. Part of the Fund's income will be used "to increase public awareness of Unitarian Universalist values and perspectives on social justice issues, notably issues that affect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons." Another portion will help the UUA's Beacon Press strengthen its offerings on GLBT issues, newly named The Walt Whitman Series.
I met Frank three years ago when I was in Florida on UUA business, and Frank was visiting family. Over key lime pie in Tampa we spoke about the many activities and programs at the UUA. Frank told me that he dreamed of helping the UUA do more and better work for GLBT people. Some months later, Frank and his lawyer created a trust agreement giving much of his estate to the UUA.
He has named the Fund for Walt Whitman because of his life-long admiration of Whitman's poetry and ideas. "He's a real giant of literature. He was interested in every kind of human phenomenon, every kind of universal phenomenon."
In each of the conversations we've had since then, I've sensed Frank's growing pride in the Whitman Fund. He's full of enthusiasm about the work it will enable to UUA to accomplish for GLBT people. One of Frank's close friends has already decided to contribute to the Fund and he hopes that many others will be moved to contribute as well.
Frank's generosity and commitment are themselves a wonderful, progressive legacy, moving Unitarian Universalism toward its goal of honoring the worth and dignity of every person. He has made his initial contribution to the fund by donating all of his income payments from a Pooled Income Fund gift directly to the Whitman Fund, and plans to give more.