Investing in Lifelong Learning
Robert (Bob) Findorff's fascination with history has drawn him to visit over 30 Civil War battlefields and all 13 of the National Archives Presidential Libraries. But despite his intense interest, the lawyer with three higher education degrees never had a chance to formally study American history until he began taking courses at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of South Florida.
Originally founded in 1993 under the USF Division of Senior Programs, OLLI is an organization that provides high-quality, low-cost learning opportunities by and for adults 50 years and older, regardless of previous college experience. The organization offers about 300 courses per year on a wide range of topics. There are no grades, tests or pressure - just the joy of learning and a sense of community.
"I've always had a passion for history and OLLI gave me the opportunity to explore that and other interests unrelated to my career," said Bob, who served on the Board of Directors and other OLLI committees for years. "Not only does OLLI satisfy my thirst for knowledge, but it provides a sense of community for people of intellect from varied and diverse backgrounds."
This sense of community served as a lifeline to Bob after his wife passed away, inspiring him to create a legacy gift of $25,000 in appreciated stocks and cash to establish the Jocelyn C. Findorff and Robert L. Findorff Endowed Fund to benefit OLLI.
"We're very appreciative of Bob's generous support of OLLI, which will make a lasting impact," says USF Foundation associate vice president of development Marion Yongue. "By gifting appreciated stocks, Bob receives the benefits of avoiding paying capital gains tax on the sale of the appreciated stock and receiving a charitable income tax deduction - all while furthering OLLI's mission today."
Jocelyn and Bob were married for 56 years and have 7 children, 15 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. They enjoyed traveling the world and visited over 80 countries together, learning about diverse cultures and peoples. Jocelyn was a social butterfly, an active member of multiple book and card clubs, and enjoyed taking classes focused on poetry and literature at OLLI.
"She was the center of our social lives so when she passed, that went with her," Bob explained. "OLLI got me out of the house and helped me move past my grief. It gave me engaging, intellectual stimulation and filled some real voids in my life."
Bob's gift will help sustain OLLI as a special program open to seniors of all incomes. He hopes it will also spur others to invest in the unique program.
Ara Rogers, director of OLLI-USF, anticipates using the gift to rent more classrooms and meeting spaces as the organization tries to further its reach across Hillsborough County. Transportation is one of the biggest challenges seniors face so offering classes in multiple locations across the county is vital to expanding its member base.
"We are still the 'best kept secret' in Hillsborough County!" says Ara. "We hope to attract more participants and members, like Bob and Jocelyn, who exemplify the community-minded lifelong learning attitude and are engaged in supporting the organization through their time, talent and treasure. Member support makes all the difference to an organization like OLLI."
To learn more about making a planned gift, contact 813-974-8761 or or download our free wills guide.