Lou Albertson was just a child when she started giving back to her community. Each Sunday during Lent, she would put her pennies, nickels and dimes into the collection plate at church. As she grew older, those coins turned into dollars and she continued to give increasingly every year.
Now an adult, Lou is passionate about making a difference in the lives of others. She has been an advocate for voters’ rights, the homeless, animal welfare and victims of domestic abuse. But her top priority has always been the arts.
"I am perhaps most passionate about the arts and the impact that performing and visual arts have on our daily lives," she said.
Lou’s love for the arts reaches back to grade school. As a child, Lou attended a Children’s Concert Society concert and was thrilled to hear an orchestra present "Peter and the Wolf" to demonstrate each instrument. In the years following, she played the flute and piccolo. After graduating from the University of Akron and working locally for 15 years, she spent more than two decades traveling the country with a career in sales, sales management, consulting and training. But she never lost her passion for music. Her voice became her instrument in the mid-’80s, and she has since sung with numerous choral groups and symphony choruses.
Lou moved back to the Akron area in 2006 and now sings in her church choir, Summit Choral Society’s Masterworks Chorale and the Blossom Festival Chorus. But after moving back home, Lou realized she wanted to do more to perpetuate the arts than just sing.
"Arts have turned out to be an integral part of my life, and the arts will positively impact generations to come," she said. Knowing this, Lou wanted to make sure future generations have access to the same arts experiences that shaped her life. So, after talking with her attorney, Lou reached out to Akron Community Foundation to do just that.
"The more I understood the breadth of (a community foundation’s) outreach, it became clear to me that the proceeds of my estate would have the biggest impact through such a foundation," she said.
Lou’s bequest to Akron Community Foundation will support the foundation’s discretionary grantmaking, meaning her gift will help meet the changing needs of the community as they arise. With this decision, Lou will be able to support all of her favorite causes – including the arts – long after her lifetime.
"I think there are too many worthy causes to decide which one or two to (support)," Lou said. "This way, the funds can be used in a variety of ways that cover a multitude of needs as they develop."
Lou recognizes today that a grant years ago likely funded the concerts she loved as a child. Now, with her generous gift to the foundation, Lou will help other children experience the same joy.
"In our lifetimes, we use our talents, donate our time, and commit our financial resources to make a difference in organizations’ and people’s lives. But since none of us can live forever, it’s nice to know that we can at least leave our financial resources behind for perpetuity," she said.
Best of all, Lou found it simple to put the foundation in her will. With the help of her attorney, she included a few sentences explaining her wish to leave her estate to Akron Community Foundation. Now, Lou can be assured that her legacy will be carried on for generations to come.
"I felt a tremendous sense of relief knowing that my assets would continue to multiply and be used prudently to make a difference in the lives of many," Lou said. "I am confident that Akron Community Foundation will wisely invest my gift, which will continue to grow and help meet the needs of community organizations for many, many years."