Wanda McCulley’s earliest memory of a charitable act was when the church where her father was quite active needed a bus to transport members to and from various activities. “He bought the church a bus,” Wanda said. His generosity stuck with her and not only helped lay the groundwork for her own charitable giving, but also informed her decision-making when she began to put her affairs in order.
Wanda was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. She recalls her kindergarten graduation where the students were asked to dress in an outfit that represented what they wanted to be when they grew up. Wanda dressed as a nurse.
Wanda graduated from college with a nursing degree in 1971 and began working at Lebonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis. Soon after Wanda began earning money of her own, she started sending monthly contributions to St. Jude’s Hospital for Children, and continues to do so to this day.
She worked at Lebonheur Children’s Hospital for a few years and then took a job with one of the first Planned Parenthood organizations. From there she moved to Chicago and worked as a Labor and Delivery nurse, which ended up being her passion. One of her patients in Chicago was also one of her Planned Parenthood patients! From Chicago, she moved to Boston and continued to work as a L&D nurse. After relocating to Maryland she started her operating room career at the National Institutes of Health. From there she went on to work at Kaiser Permanente, and other ambulatory surgery centers. All in all, she worked in the nursing field for 43 years.
Wanda started putting down roots in Hampshire County in 1997 when she bought some land in Augusta. In 1999 she built a cabin and began spending weekends in the county. After retiring in 2014, she made Hampshire County her full-time home, and has grown to love the county very much.
She recalls Patty Anderson and Paul and Lisa Roomsburg befriending her when she first moved to the county. “They always made a point to include me in their activities”, she said. “I never felt unwelcome or as a “come-here” because of their warm and immediate acceptance and continued friendship”.
Patty was also instrumental in encouraging Wanda’s involvement with Warm the Children, the Romney Backpack Program, the Hampshire Co-Op and Artisans Market, and others. More recently, Wanda has grown to love The River House, and seldom misses an Herb Club meeting.
Wanda started thinking about estate planning when her brother pointed out that because he was her only immediate living family member, he would likely be the beneficiary of her estate. This prompted her to seek advice for creating a plan. “I not only wanted to provide for some other extended family members and friends, but also had some charitable interests, and wasn’t quite sure how to include them.”
Wanda turned first to her Edward Jones financial advisor who helped craft a plan that would maximize tax savings during her lifetime, and minimize tax burdens for any individual beneficiaries. She also advised Wanda to consult with an attorney to prepare a Will.
When Wanda met with her attorney, Julie Frazier, she had some ideas about how she wanted to give back; she wanted to help students pursue continuing education in a field that inspired them, and she wanted to do something to more broadly benefit people in the county she had grown to love. However, the specific details about how to fulfill her intentions were not so clear, and Julie advised her to contact the Community Foundation.
After discussing her goals and the resources she wanted to use to achieve them with community foundation staff, and some additional consultations with her professional advisors, Wanda created two shell agreements with the Hampshire County Community Foundation, detailing the name and purpose of two charitable endowments to be funded through her estate: the Wanda McCulley Scholarship Fund, and the Wanda McCulley Family Crisis Center Fund.
Ultimately, the shell agreements were activated earlier than expected when Wanda decided to cash out one of her retirement accounts and endow the funds. Several months later, her financial advisor notified her that she had to take a required minimum distribution from her IRA and recommended adding it to her funds at the Community Foundation to reduce her tax burden. Both funds will be making grants this year.
Wanda initially chose to work with the Community Foundation because of its stability and permanency, knowing that what she set in motion today will continue long after she’s gone. When she wanted to change her original plans, though, she found that the Foundation’s flexibility and the fact that she could go ahead and make gifts to her funds while she is still living an equally attractive benefit. “I am happy and thankful that Julie referred me to the Hampshire County Community Foundation.”