Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation Receives $2 Million Bequest from Chauncey Loomis
January 25, 2010
Great Barrington, MA—Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation announced today that it has received a $2 million bequest from the estate of Chauncey Loomis. The long-time Stockbridge resident named the foundation as the beneficiary of his charitable remainder trust and of his retirement fund. He directed the money be used to establish an endowed fund to support 21 specific education, health, social service, art and environmental organizations in perpetuity.
“Chauncey Loomis had a donor-advised fund with Berkshire Taconic for more than 20 years,” noted Jennifer Dowley, president of the foundation. “He was a passionate supporter of causes in our area and he took satisfaction in knowing that his resources would keep doing good after he was gone. It’s a beautiful legacy. Donors like Chauncey are community heroes.”
Chauncey Chester Loomis Jr. (1930 – 2009) was a Professor of English at Dartmouth and a prolific author, book reviewer and essayist. Throughout his life, he followed his passion for exploration, conservation, photography and fly fishing. He filmed musk oxen off the coast of Alaska, searched for lost Inca civilizations in Peru and caught (and mostly released) trout and salmon on many continents.
Mr. Loomis directed that two thirds of the annual spendable amount from his endowed fund support the following organizations: Americares, Americas Second Harvest, Berkshire County Day School Scholarship Fund, Berkshire Hills Fund for Excellence, Berkshire Humane Society, Berkshire Natural Resources Council, Chesterwood Museum, Community Health Program, Eagle Fund, Doctors without Borders, Fairview Hospital , Foodbank of Western Massachusetts, Hospice Care of the Berkshires, Housatonic Valley Association , Lee Educational Enrichment Fund , Lenox Educational Enrichment Fund , Literacy Network, Project Hope, Salvation Army of MA, Stockbridge Land Trust and Stockbridge Library.
The remaining third he directed to be distributed by Berkshire Taconic wherever it can do the most good for residents in need in the South Berkshire area as defined by the following towns: Alford, Egremont, Great Barrington, Lee, Lenox, Monterey, Mount Washington, New Marlborough, Otis, Richmond, Sandisfield, Sheffield, Stockbridge, Tyringham and West Stockbridge, MA. It may also be used to improve the management skills of nonprofits serving those in need within this region.
The beneficiary nonprofit organizations were informed of the bequest last month. “With this special bequest, we are able to honor Chauncey's lifelong passion for rivers, aquatic life and science,” said Lynn Werner, executive director of the Housatonic Valley Association, which conserves and restores the land and waters of the Housatonic Watershed in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York. “Our science-based river stewardship work continues in Chauncey's name.” Berkshire Natural Defense Council President Tad Ames remarked, “Chauncey Loomis was a world–class fly fisherman, so he was well-aware of the vast and invisible commitment of time, money, skill and patience—let’s call them ‘operations’—that lead up to any splashy success. During his lifetime, he provided steady and generous support year after year, giving BNRC both footing and staying power. His legacy will continue and expand his kind underwriting of our efforts, both hidden and visible, to knit together the human and natural worlds of the Berkshires.”
A charitable bequest can dramatically reduce estate and inheritance taxes. Retirement funds of any kind are particularly good vehicles to use for charitable giving because 100% of their value proceeds untaxed directly to the donor advised fund at a community foundation or any other charitable organization. They are taxed heavily if left to heirs. Berkshire Taconic works with donors and their advisors to maximize options with estate planning and planned charitable giving so that legacies like that of Chauncey Loomis can enrich the causes the donors care about in the places they love. For information on planned charitable giving, click here.Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation builds stronger communities and improves the quality of life for all residents of Berkshire County, MA; Columbia County and northeast Dutchess County, NY; and northwest Litchfield County, CT. Thanks to its generous donors, in 2009 Berkshire Taconic distributed $7 million in scholarships and grants for programs in the arts and education, health and human services, and environmental protection. Berkshire Taconic is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization.