Resourceful: Bar foundation launches 'Legacy Society'


– Photo by Robert Chase

By Tom Kirvan
Legal News

Those adept at fund-raising know the value of a good metaphor, especially when rolling out a program designed to generate donations for years to come.

As such, officials with the Oakland County Bar Foundation are in the process of “planting a tree, even though we may not enjoy its shade for many years to come.”

In this instance, the “tree” comes in the form of the recently created “Legacy Society,” a program designed to encourage planned giving to the OCBF.

The foundation traces its roots to 1976 and over the years has provided “substantial financial assistance” to many legal aid and education organizations in the area that serve the needs of the less fortunate.

“The general concept is to develop a strong and long lasting endowment program in which the Foundation becomes the designated beneficiary in estate planning or through other gifts where interest income can be used to help fund ongoing and emerging projects,” said Patrick McCauley, an OCBF trustee and a past president of the nonprofit organization.
McCauley, an attorney with Gasiorek, Morgan, Greco, McCauley & Kotzian in Farmington Hills, laid the groundwork for the Legacy Society several years ago when he began his second stint as president of the OCBF.

At the time, it was his aim to “take our fund-raising to another level,” utilizing the legacy program as a “key element in helping us build a possible endowment” for long-term growth and stability.
In its first ever annual report, the OCBF earlier this year outlined its plan in creating the Legacy Society.

“To begin, the committee met with several long-established area nonprofit organizations and joined the Southeast Michigan Planned Giving Roundtable,” officials noted in the annual report.

 “The next step was to obtain information on establishing an endowment fund. After considering several options, we created an endowment with the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, which administers funds for more than 175 agency endowments.”

To demonstrate its own commitment to the legacy cause, the OCBF Board as well as that of the Oakland County Bar Association collectively pledged more than $200,000 to the endowment fund, according to McCauley.

“We received unanimous support from members of both boards, which indicates everyone’s belief in the importance of this program,” McCauley said. “In effect, we planted our own stake in the ground to raise $200,000 and we surpassed that goal.”

Current members of the OCBF Board include: President Eric Pelton, Vice President Chuck Moore, Treasurer Kaveh Kashef, Secretary Elizabeth Luckenbach, Immediate Past President Dan Quick, and trustees David Carl Anderson, David Christopher Anderson, Sue Eisenberg, Kirsten Gramzow, Marc Jerabek, Michael Kahaian, Thomas Kimble, Veronica Leonard, Patrick McCarthy, Patrick McCauley, Brenda Orlando, David Plunkett, Michael Schloff, Lynn Sirich, and Thomas Tallerico.

The OCBA Board includes: President Thomas Howlett, President-elect David Carl Anderson, Vice President David Christopher Anderson, Treasurer Victoria Valentine, Secretary Gerald Gleeson II, and directors James Parks, Judge Maureen McGinnis, Daniel Quick, Keefe Brooks, Kaveh Kashef, Judge Cynthia Walker, Elizabeth Luckenbach, Karen Safran, and Melinda Deel.

As the “silent phase” of the endowment building program draws to a close, McCauley said that plans are under way to hold several “friend-raiser” events to cultivate broad-based support for the Legacy Society.

“As the need for legal aid and education continues to grow, so too does the recognition of the Oakland County Bar Foundation as a key resource to those less fortunate in Oakland County,” McCauley wrote in the annual report of the OCBF.

“Through the Legacy Society, we will, over time, increase our ability to give back to the community,” he said. “Please consider joining us in our effort to reach $1 million in endowments.”
Those interested in supporting the effort can contact Katie Tillinger at