CARLSBAD — Hospice of the North Coast regularly receives donations, but recently it collected a jaw-dropping amount of money.
Loretta Ames, who passed away in past January, left a gift of $700,275 to Hospice of the North Coast and it wasn’t until a month later that the nonprofit was notified that the gift was pending.
Funds from the trust were released a few months later.
Ames, an Oceanside resident, was 85 years old when she died. For the last three months of her life, Hospice of the North Coast cared for her and had no inkling Ames made previous plans to name them as beneficiaries of her trust.
“We were surprised and overwhelmed by the generosity of this donor,” said Shelly Dew, director of fund development at Hospice of the North Coast. “It was a privilege to have cared for Ms. Ames in her final days.”
Dew said that Ames’ gift has been the single largest gift their organization has ever received. Above all, it arrives at a time where the need for hospice care is on a sharp incline.
As a not-for-profit hospice, Dew said, they depend on donations such as this to allow them to continue delivering highly individualized services to their patients. Dew pointed out that it costs roughly $100 more per day to serve its patients than at other hospices because the services and care they provide goes over and beyond the norm.
“Ms. Ames’ generous gift, along with matching funds from The Gumpert Foundation, will allow us to pay off the mortgage on our Carlsbad headquarters,” Dew said. “This will allow us to channel other resources directly to patient services.”
Dew wants people to know that without the generous support from people like Ms. Ames, the high level of care they strive to provide would not be possible.
Interestingly, Hospice of the North Coast can also thank the UPS (United Parcel Service) for the monies. Back in the 1950s, Ames’ father retired from UPS and received a few shares of the company’s private stock.
Ames’ father reminded the family never to sell the stock.
“Over the years it increased in value and had numerous stock splits,” said Colleen O’Harra, Trustee of the Loretta Ames Trust.
Following the death of her father, Ames’ mother still gripped onto the stock. O’Harra shared that after Ames’ mother passed away, UPS stock went public, and its value increased immediately.
“Loretta and her brother were the beneficiaries of their parents’ commitment to hold onto the UPS stock,” O’Harra said. She continued, “Loretta sold about half of her stock in the mid- 1990s in order to diversify.”
The other half of the stock, O’Harra said, was sold after Ames’ death.
O’Harra knew Ames for 25 years. She described Ames as person with a great sense of humor who was also very generous. And she was an avid supporter of many charitable organizations.
“Loretta was humble about her wealth,” she said. “Her only personal divulgence was a new Jaguar on two occasions.”
Although Ames had not been a regular contributor to HNC, she had named the organization in her trust years ago.
O’Harra said Ames believed in HNC’s mission and was aware how excellent they were.
“When Loretta felt she was both emotionally and medically ready for hospice, she turned to HNC for help. With one phone call, Loretta began receiving comfort and support, and her daughter was provided the tools she needed to help her mother through her end-of-life journey,” Dew said. “Hospice of the North Coast was able to honor Ms. Ames’ wishes — Loretta spent her final days at home, surrounded by the people she loved.
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