Culture of care

Ashby Ponds’ philanthropy helps neighbors in need

Created date

November 19th, 2019
Ashby Ponds philanthropy committee members (from left) Ann Wingblade, Dee Lowe, Adele Knott, Shirley Boning, and Philanthropy Manager Elisabeth Longworth celebrate a monumental year of giving at this year’s elegant evening event.

Ashby Ponds philanthropy committee members (from left) Ann Wingblade, Dee Lowe, Adele Knott, Shirley Boning, and Philanthropy Manager Elisabeth Longworth celebrate a monumental year of giving at this year’s elegant evening event.

Community members at Ashby Ponds, an Erickson Living-managed community in Ashburn, Va., feel a tremendous sense of responsibility in fulfilling the community’s mission to “share our gifts to create communities that celebrate life.” 

One of the most poignant ways neighbors help neighbors is by donating to Ashby Ponds’ Benevolent Care Fund (BCF), which provides confidential financial assistance to residents who, despite careful planning, find themselves facing unforeseen, ongoing medical and health expenses that have exhausted their lifetime of savings (Ashby Ponds’ Residence and Care Agreement has full details).

The money donated to the fund allows for residents experiencing financial adversity to continue living at Ashby Ponds in their home and among their friends.

“2019 will go down in Ashby Ponds’ history as one of the most important years for the BCF,” says Director of Philanthropy Elisabeth Longworth. “Not only did we raise more money than ever before, but we introduced our Legacy Campaign, created a line of spirit wear, and provided an elegant evening of entertainment as a thank-you to our wonderful sponsors.”

Taking care of one another

The Ashby Ponds philanthropy committee, a dedicated group of resident volunteers, spearheads the fundraising efforts. They work diligently, planning giving campaigns and educating neighbors on the importance of their efforts. 

“Supporting the BCF has been a passion of mine since I was an employee,” says former Ashby Ponds sales manager, now community member and philanthropy committee chair, Lyn Lubic. “The fund sets Erickson Living-managed communities apart from other continuing care retirement communities. No other community has a program like this.”

For many community members, the BCF represents more than generosity; it provides unbeatable peace of mind.

“When I moved to Ashby Ponds, I was aware of the Benevolent Care Fund but didn’t think too much about it,” says Brenda Pronto. “Then, my best friend suffered from a stroke. I saw the amount of money that was being spent for care that was not covered by her long-term care insurance. I was shocked. All the money she saved could be gone in months. I believe that is why the fund is so critical. Because no matter how carefully you plan, how diligently you save, the money can be wiped out.”

Determined to raise money in support of the BCF, Brenda, working hand-in-hand with Longworth, developed a popular line of spirit wear to sell in support of the fund. They designed a logo and have used it on collared shirts, t-shirts, tote bags, and hoodies. After a successful sale in the summer, they created a fall line.

Campaigning for a greater good

This year also marked the debut of the Legacy Society, a planned giving program allowing residents to give a portion of their refunded entrance deposit, or other donation, to the Benevolent Care Fund. In just six months, the Legacy Society raised more than $1.2 million. 

“I witnessed, firsthand, one of my neighbor’s struggles with the financial burdens associated with her husband’s illness,” says Bill Bruch. “Once she realized how the fund would help financially, her mind was put at ease and she was better able to appreciate the time she had with her husband. That made a big impact on me, and I became a Legacy Society member.”

Celebrating success

Following the success of 2019’s BCF fundraising drive, Ashby Ponds donors, sponsors (including Platinum Sponsor Cypress Contracting), and community groups the Treasure Chest and entertainment committee celebrated with an “Elegant Evening” featuring a sparkling wine reception and a lively musical performance.

“It was a beautiful celebration,” says community member Susan Herbert. “The BCF has the power to make a huge difference in someone’s life. I feel so grateful to live at a community where people care so much about each other.” 

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