Generations Magazine - Busy Doing Good_image1

Spenner and the UH Foundation are grateful for support from donors.

Keeping busy is important in retirement. For me, doing something meaningful is key to an enjoyable life. Before I retired, I worked in philanthropy, helping to raise funds for a highly regarded private school. I felt good assisting the school with its mission, enabling donors to do “good” for the school and helping people “achieve their heart’s desire.” My specialty is estate and gift planning — working with donors as they ponder their own mortality and decide how they can make a difference with the wealth they have accumulated. If you don’t make plans for your estate, others (including the government) will make those decisions for you after you pass. I help empower people to make bequests that can help their heirs and charities they love.

When I first retired, I lived an idyllic life. I walked along beaches, swam in the surf, trekked over mountain trails, cooked delicious meals, got a library card and read dozens of books, and napped in the afternoon. I even walked around the entire Island of O‘ahu. What’s not to love about this lifestyle? I had the money to be unemployed and self-indulgent, but I wanted to do more. I volunteered for local fundraising efforts and got quite involved with my faith community. Then one day, I received an unsolicited email from either LinkedIn or a search firm, saying, “Here’s a job that you might like.” It described exactly what I had been doing for the past 10 years. I can do this, I thought. I applied and was hired.

The work environment at the University of Hawai‘i Foundation is very enjoyable and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. The UH System, with its 10 campuses, is the only public university in the state. The future of Hawai‘i depends on us offering greater educational opportunities for students at every academic level, career aspiration and economic strata.

Now, a year later, my work has stopped being a hobby-job; it is a mission. I want to help young students pull themselves out of poverty through education, and help the brightest academic scholars continue their research and post-graduate studies at UH instead of going to the mainland. I want to show generous Hawai‘i residents that their current major gifts and planned estate gifts to the UH Foundation are living investments in the future of Hawai‘i. There is nothing more personally rewarding than when a grateful donor thanks me for helping make a profound difference in his or her life and the lives of students by crafting their legacy gift.

This is why I chose to work after retirement at a job that has become a life’s work for me.

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