Volunteers Leave a Lasting Legacy

Sue and Steve Wilder

Sue and Steve Wilder's decision to volunteer at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital was an easy one; figuring out exactly how to include the hospital in their estate plan was a little trickier.

Sue started simply enough almost 20 years ago, assisting patients and directing visitors once a week as a hospital volunteer. She had been so impressed with the care and compassion that her father had received at Verdugo Hills, as well as with her warm interactions with staff, that she wanted to show her gratitude by volunteering.

But the more time Sue spent at the hospital—first as a volunteer and later as a member and chair of the women's council—the more attached she grew to Verdugo Hills. And it wasn't long before her husband Steve followed her lead. He began as a member and chair of the hospital's annual golf classic committee and eventually joined its governing board. The Glendale couple now spends every Christmas day volunteering at the hospital, supplying medication to nurses, and chatting with patients.

As for Sue, today she serves as chair of the USC Verdugo Hills Hospital Foundation Board. Volunteering to lead the hospital's fundraising efforts is a role she never imagined possible back in 1997, when she walked into the intensive care unit to visit her father.

"Steve and I are so passionate about the hospital," she said. "You feel much better about yourself when you're helping other people and giving back to your community."

That's precisely why the couple was determined to include USC Verdugo Hills Hospital in their estate plan. But the question was how?

"It was amazing to us how many different roads you could go down to make a planned-giving donation," Sue said. "You can often have great tax benefits, but you must find the vehicle that's going to work best for you and your particular situation."

Steve said their "heads were spinning" from all the different options. After speaking with one of USC's planned-giving experts, he realized the decision was simple. The Wilders were able to structure their gift in a way that was mutually beneficial to both the hospital and their estate.

"We know," said Steve, "that the caring and love we have for USC Verdugo Hills Hospital and our community will now continue beyond us."


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