Francoise Kelz's Uncle Charlie was a waiter at the 21 Club, the famous New York City restaurant and lounge, for decades. With no children of his own, Charlie left Francoise his estate when he died.
This surprise gift allowed Francoise to expand her lifelong practice of helping others. Long a fixture in the Sharon community, Francoise established the C. and F. Kelz Fund at Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation to support her most cherished institutions in the area, including religious and preservation organizations and favorite schools.
Francoise learned early on the value of an education, especially for girls. "My maternal grandmother had been cheated out of an education years ago," she says. "When her brothers were sent off to school, she was sent to work at a nearby farm in Normandy. So she vowed that if she had daughters, she would give them the best education and the best opportunities that she could. And so she did."
Through her donor advised fund, Francoise is extending that legacy, with two modernand notabletwists. Because she has arranged a planned gift to her fund, it will become endowed and her giving will go on after her lifetime. Also, the gifts she makes from it are unrestricted, so the organizations she loves have the flexibility to seize new opportunities, strengthen existing programs or meet unexpected financial needs.
"It's a nice thing to be able to reach out and help the community," she says. "We should all be natural philanthropists. And it's what Charlie would have wanted."