When Russ and Jan Michaletz sat down to map out their planned giving, they took a uniquely familial approach. “We have four children, and when we started this planning we thought about our overall philanthropy as our fifth child,” Russ explains. Drawing on this perspective provided a personal way to look at their continued giving and a framework upon which to plan.
The couple’s volunteer service and philanthropic support spans many organizations throughout the greater Twin Cities and beyond in the areas of higher education, the arts, international development, and local health and human services.
Russ and Jan both have a long history with United Way. “I grew up in a small town in Minnesota, and I can remember seeing the United Way fundraising thermometer at places like the post office,” Jan said. “United Way was a big part of life in our community.” Later on, while at Gustavus Adolphus College, Jan led a United Way group on campus where she organized fundraising and service opportunities with fellow classmates. Those early experiences stayed with Jan, and as time passed she and Russ began a life-long journey of community involvement through United Way.
“Our financial commitments have always been tied with being involved, and being of service,” Russ said. As a partner at Deloitte, Russ was closely involved with United Way workplace fundraising efforts—helping raise funds and awareness for United Way’s work. He’s provided tremendous leadership on several United Way committees, including the Planned Giving and Endowment Committee. Now retired, Russ continues to stay involved as an ad hoc advisor in a number of areas including the professional advisor outreach strategy and foundation giving.
In making their generous planned gift, the couple joins the Tocqueville Legacy Circle as early founding members. “The legacy program offered a way of perpetuating our commitment,” Russ said. “It made sense to continue supporting organizations, like the United Way, that we’ve supported throughout our lives.”
Russ and Jan appreciate United Way’s approach to grant making and our deep understanding of community needs. “There’s a lot of need and it changes all the time,” Jan said. “We have trust in United Way to understand the needs in the community and how best we can help meet those needs.”
The couple feels good knowing that their planned gift will make an important and lasting impact. “What’s attractive to me about United Way is the due diligence side of it, and being in touch with what’s going on in the community,” Russ said. “That tells me that the legacy gift to United Way will be used in a good way for a long period of time.”