Residents Financially Helping Residents?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. February 2020

Our Benevolent Fund (BF) is unique. It’s an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization operated by residents to benefit residents. The Benevolent Fund provides financial assistance to independent living residents who have outlived their financial resources. Since starting in 1972, it has given more than $2.5 million directly to residents who were in need. BF presents each resident a free SARA® pendant when they become a resident. We press the pendant if we fall or if we’re in an emergency situation anywhere on our campus.

It also funds the three full-time Social Services Advisors through Independent Living Services. Those advisors help us as we age in place. Benevolent Fund began a program to help up to three assisted-living residents with partial financial support. Actually, BF depends on the continuing generosity of our residents, which includes our monetary donations and bequests…and in unique ways!

If we ever end up with things we no longer need(furniture, office items, appliances, home décor, etc.), we call our Stiles-Beach Barn, and/or Encore Furniture and Books to make an appointment for pick-up.  A large white truck, with several Benevolent Fund volunteers, show up at our door to haul our items away to the appropriate building to be priced and sold…by other happy, cheerful volunteers. They also hold the popular, more-than-huge Panorama Annual Patio Sale with volunteers selling items that were not sold during the rest of the year. But the reverse is to our benefit…when we need items during the year, we head to the Barn or Encore conveniently located right on our campus to shop! No need to look at prices – the costs are too good to be true!

Around Valentine’s Day, we look forward to the Benevolent Fund’s Annual Silent Auction in our Seventeen51 Restaurant. At the fun event, organized to perfection, we get to bid on great items (donated by residents and our faithful local merchants), such as:

  • Gift baskets with appetizers (wines, cheeses, crackers, etc.), fruits and desserts, packaged pasta or salmon dinner items, or combinations of non-foods.
  • Fine wines of every sort
  • Many gift cards/certificates for restaurants, groceries, travel trips, performances, theaters, etc.
  • Framed artwork by Panorama and non-Panorama artists, antiques and fun items
  • Too many other great entries to mention

Tickets for the 50/50 drawing brought a sizable income…split between resident and Benevolent Fun. (I won $500 one year!)

After a hearty lunch just before arriving, I laid my bulging eyes on the expansive food-table topped with large round trays of gourmet shrimp, individual quiches, sliced melons and fruits,  large metal bowls of different varieties of salads, Hungarian meatballs in thick sauce, egg rolls, and on and on.

I don’t want you to drool, Reader, so just draw an “imaginative photo” of the decisions we made with the desserts!

We feasted while visiting and listening to Clint P’s mic articulating the “winners”. My ears tuned in for Diane S’s donated, large basket of specially selected fruits of Hawaiian papaya, mango, kiwi, large organic blackberries, pears, apples, grapes and bananas.

Finally, “Mary Jo Shaw, come up.” Get this! Diane S. will deliver us a seasonal basket three more times! We are indulging in the fruits, especially when cut-up and topped with plain Greek yogurt and slivered almonds or in our cereals and oatmeal. What a treat…our kind of dessert/snack!

On top of these benefits, all of our gifts are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Gail Madden, current president of the Benevolent Fund, says, “We need you, because you need us.”

It’s always a win-win. Thanks again, Panorama and Residents!

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