“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

The NCSML holds an annual brunch for its Legacy Society members, those who have committed to including the organization in their planned giving and/or estate plans. The event thanks and celebrates members, and honors those members who passed away the previous years. The laughter, tears, and conversations reveal the true hearts of all involved, including family members of Society members, proud of the philanthropic decisions made that will touch thousands for generations to come. Each of the people we honored at the brunch have committed to leaving the NCSML an acorn, and the building we met in was part of the forests that have sprouted over time.

To listen to and observe the Society members and their families is to watch forests in the making.

The fact that this year’s Legacy Society Brunch was held within a few days of the tenth anniversary of the devastating flood of 2008 made the event more poignant to me. In the decade since the flood that left eight feet of water in the NCSML building, the structure was refurbished and doubled in size, the staff has almost tripled, more than 110,000 visitors have come to the NCSML, and more than 50 exhibitions have been mounted. And the NCSML is debt-free. How could such a recovery and re-making occur without the work, commitment, and support of others, and the planting of acorns for decades that turned into forests?

The Legacy Society was formed in 2003 to honor and acknowledge those who have included the NCSML in their planned giving strategies. At its inception, there were 31 charter members. Today, there are nearly 100 members who have notified the NCSML of their estate plans. Filling out the Legacy Society notification form is important so the donors, their families and advisors, and the NCSML can be sure that their plans are completed as the donor desires.

The healthy, strong, vibrant forest that is now the NCSML has come to be with the planting, care, and support by many. More acorns are being planted, and the forest will continue to grow tall and strong. It was an honor to listen to the stories of many who made this all possible and observe their hearts in action at this year’s recognition event.

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