Wednesday, August 19, 2015

More Than Ever Educational Foundation

This was also published on my blog
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When Gregory and I established our Trust, shortly after receiving the diagnosis for Dementia/Alzheimer's, we called it the "More Than Ever Trust." The purpose of the trust was to put our personal and financial matters in order to protect both of us and especially to protect Gregory in the event that I died before him. He would need help and attention to continue even if I could only "watch over" him from elsewhere.

(Interesting in the above paragraph, I automatically called it "the diagnosis," almost changed it to "his diagnosis," then realized that it was really "our diagnosis." Perhaps that is what helped us (and me) weather the path which while often sunny and sprinkled with colorful flowers;  was often rainy, slick, muddy, dark, and frightening with lightening and thunder. Apt metaphors!)

The name, More Than Ever Trust" came from the expression Gregory and I used to symbolize the fact that even thought we were on a difficult, frightening, bumpy road and roller coaster ride, each day our love has continued to grow and we continue love each other more than ever. We could say "More Than Ever" each day and mean it when compared to the previous day!

One of Gregory and my fantasy desires has always been to do good for others. We would ask each other, "What would you do if you won the lottery and suddenly were a multi-millionaire?" Besides buying a few things for ourselves, possibly more travel, and a new car we always arrived at "Doing good for others."

How does one go about doing good for others? There are many ways to do this but for us we decided it meant giving a person a hand up in a way that would provide them with the skills to continue to stay up and perhaps to go higher. That meant giving a person the gift of an education when they could not afford to pay for it themselves.

So many people want to go back to school to finish their high school work, to get training, or to receive a degree for higher level studies. They want to get ahead with new skills, a better job, a more promising future but cannot afford it while trying to pay the rent, feed their kids, maintain a family, continue helping their parents, pay the tuition, whatever.

So Gregory and I talked about how wonderful it would be to be able to set up a foundation to help people do just this. At the time of our discussions we had enough obligations of our own that we could only now and then donate, or support good causes. Now that our lives have calmed down age wise, and need wise; and now that we are closer to the end than the beginning, we realized that when we are gone, we will be in a position to help others.

We decided, while Gregory still could, that besides remembering our family, nieces, nephews, and god-children in a token way when we are no longer living; our savings and insurance monies could go to fulfill this desire to help others get an education.

This will be part of our legacy and our contribution to the future. This will be our thank you to the countless, sometimes nameless others who have helped us during our lives. We have no children to support so (large thinking) the world becomes our children and our family.

As of August 1, 2015, Gregory and I have created the "More Than Ever Educational Foundation" which will do just that after we have died. We are overjoyed and I believe that Gregory is aware of this great accomplishment as well. (See the attached video.)

In addition, we have attached this foundation to supporting the work that Casa Norte has been doing since 2002 whose mission is to serve youth and families confronting homelessness and to provide access to stable housing and deliver comprehensive services that act as a catalyst to transform lives and communities. 

We have been involved with Casa Norte for over ten years; attending events and galas, making donations of clothing and household items to their "closet," giving photographs and jewelry created by Michael for their raffles and silent auctions, and more. When Gregory Maire Architect ltd shut its doors we gave desks, chairs, lamps, book cases, and an almost fully stocked kitchen to Casa Norte's first supportive living facility.

We love the people who run Casa Norte, with a special hug to Ms. Sol Flores, Executive Director, and admire their work. We are excited about being a greater part of the good work they do. Michael will continue to be actively involved now and in the future the memories of Gregory and Michael will help provide the gift of education to countless others ... our new family!

Gregory and Michael have been in a committed, life partner relationship for over 40 years. Gregory was diagnosed with Dementia/Alzheimer's Disease over 12 years ago.

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