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Leah’s Legacy – Giving for the Future

Over the years, Gale Stewart has been a major changemaker and role model. Her multiple initiatives as the Founder of Aunt Leah’s Place has made a positive impact for thousands of young people, moms, and babies. Her leadership and tenacity, sparked by the beginnings of the organization during 1988, remains a bright beacon for the community as her determination to make a difference has only grown as she moves towards retirement and aims to leave a legacy.


“The Legacy is that there will always be that extra seat at the table for a young person who could come into Aunt Leah’s community.”


What are your goals for the future of the Legacy program?

“There were so many individual donors and organizations and foundations who helped us, especially over the first twenty years, and without that support, this organization would not be here today. For them helping Aunt Leah’s into the future is an easy thing. I’d like to see the legacy program grow so that over the next decades you see the continuation of those people’s support.”


What made you decide to move forward and launch the Leah’s Legacy program now?

“Well, when I retired, I found that I had time and energy to work on the program. It was always thought about but there was never any time to invest any kind of energy into it. Usually, we need to fundraise for immediate needs or next year’s work and the legacy program is an entirely different conceptual idea. 

I’m fortunate to be able to offer my experience and connection with so many committed supporters to build the program and the capacity of our organization.” 


What does it mean to you to leave a Legacy? For yourself and overall?

“Well, personally when I think of our family, Paul, and I, leaving a gift in our wills, I think of it as a metaphor of a family table. Because our family sat together at a table and foster kids have not had that experience in their home, they’ve often been moved around. The Legacy is that there will always be that extra seat at the table for a young person who could come into Aunt Leah’s community.

It comes out of my history with my grandmother Leah. I look at old pictures where people sit at a table and even though we don’t know some of the faces we do know that she welcomed that stranger to a meal, at any time.”


Do you have any advice for Aunt Leah’s future leaders? 

“Surround yourself with people who are a lot smarter than you, because your leadership will be more effective, and it’ll be more satisfying.  That’s been my experience, just having people around you who know much more than you in their areas of expertise brings strength to the work.”


How are Legacy Gifts used at Aunt Leah’s?

“People do have the choice and I do let them know that they can direct their gift toward a particular program. However, Aunt Leah’s will want to change and provide the most important supports as time goes on. Generally people want their bequest to go where it is needed.”


What is the process for joining the Leah’s Legacy program? 

“The most important thing is to have our charitable number and go talk with your lawyer or financial advisor, whoever is close to you and then connect to Aunt Leah’s.”