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Planned Gifts Make Big Differences in Unexpected Times of Crisis

Roughly 20 years ago Paul Gauger and his wife, Jennie, moved to Meriter Retirement Center – or what we know now as the 9th floor of the Heights at Capitol Lakes. An extensive article on the two of them appearing in the Center Post that year described them as a "quiet, but friendly couple."

20 years later – in the midst of a pandemic they certainly could not have foreseen – the quiet generosity of this couple is having a profound impact on residents living at Capitol Lakes today. Prior to his death in 2003, Paul established a bequest and stipulated that the funds be used “for the enjoyment and benefit of residents…this authority to be construed liberally.”

This year when the Capitol Lakes Foundation has focused much of its fundraising around support for our staff facing financial crises, Paul’s memorial fund has given us the flexibility to reach out to our residents who are also suffering from social and physical isolation. These funds have allowed us to purchase books and activity packages for residents searching to fill their days.

Most recently, this fund gave the Capitol Lakes Foundation Board the confidence to approve a $10,000 grant request for much needed upgrades to our internal television system – Channel 900. During the pandemic this station has become an essential way to connect with residents. Channel 900 offers exercise classes, meditation classes, films, religious services, and lecture series. For those residents without access to Zoom, Channel 900 also allows them an opportunity to participate in weekly meetings with the Executive Director to stay connected on what’s happening at Capitol Lakes during this public health emergency.

Unfortunately, tech upgrades to allow all residents to fully access this station were not in Capitol Lakes’ fiscal year budget and Capitol Lakes had discontinued all capital projects in response to the financial toll of the pandemic. However, thanks to Paul Gauger and his dedication to future residents these upgrades are now in progress.

The impact of Paul’s planned gift can’t be overstated. In a time of crisis it has given the Capitol Lakes Foundation the opportunity to pursue our mission of enhancing the living experience even in uncertain times.

If you are interested in leaving a lasting legacy to support the Capitol Lakes community through good times as well as future emergencies yet unknown, please keep the Capitol Lakes Foundation in mind as you make your estate plans. Your planned gift could make all the difference to those living at Capitol Lakes 20 years from now.

If you are interested in joining the Legacy Society please contact Foundation Director, Lenee Kruse, at or click here to complete an Intention of Planned Giving form.

And don’t forget that before the pandemic shut down the Capitol Lakes community as well as our larger community, your Capitol Lakes Foundation was half way to our goal of adding 10 new Legacy Society members before November 2020. Two anonymous donors agreed to give $1,000 in the name of any individual or couple who joined our Legacy Society before November up to a total of $10,000. Now more than ever we want to unlock that challenge match. Please consider joining the Legacy Society today!

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