Donor Stories

Junior League of Wichita is both grateful for and honored by those individuals who have already incorporated the League into their estate plans, and we'd like to share a few of their stories:

 

Carol Burchfield’s Story: Passion leads to gift

In 1999, Sustainer Carol Burchfield moved back to Wichita after having spent 17 years in Philadelphia, Seattle and Houston. She was 39 and single with no children, so with the help of her friend Sally Hadley Rogers, Carol joined Junior League of Wichita to make new friends.

“Where else can you work alongside such smart, dedicated, energetic, diverse women all working towards a common cause of helping our community?” says Burchfield.

Burchfield’s placements included Leadership Institute, Cookbook Chair, serving on the board as Director of Membership, self-proclaimed “warden of the time cards” at the JLW Thrift Shop, New Member Advisor, and her favorite placement of all, serving as New Member Training Chair.

The friends Burchfield made through being a member of JLW were of great support when her boyfriend Paul died from a brain aneurism. “Jamie Schmaltz and a group of six other ladies from the League came to Paul’s house the day of the memorial and made sure everything was set up beautifully and cleaned up afterwards. The family never even had to step into the kitchen,” Burchfield says.

Seeing firsthand the impact of not having a will or trust, Burchfield established her own trust in the fall of 2011. During her planning, she was compelled to leave one-third of her estate to JLW. The funds will be used to further Burchfield’s passion and legacy of sponsoring New Members.

 

Val Peare’s Story: Pride prompts planning

Sustainer Val Peare has always been proud of Junior League of Wichita. When she joined, there were not a lot of working women in the League, or any active members over the age of 40. “I think the League has changed dramatically and for the better,” Peare says. “Now it is more diverse with different kinds of women in age, experience, ideas and background.”

Over the years, Peare found that the League was an avenue for her to get involved in the community, to make new friends and to receive training. Looking back over some of her placements, Peare finds a lot of personal satisfaction and pride when she recalls what the League was able to accomplish. A member of the original Holiday Galleria committee, she was also part of the League’s 75th anniversary “Pride of the Plains” exhibit committee, Director of Fund Development and a member of the Headquarters Committee when the building underwent renovation. 

The training Peare received with the League has served her well in assisting other community organizations. “I also feel that Junior League of Wichita helps all community organizations, either financially or by training future board members and volunteers,” she says.

Being able to inspire other women to make lifelong friendships and become active, successful community leaders has motivated Peare to stay involved in the League as a Sustaining member. She enjoys seeing New Members, as well as Actives and Sustainers, out in the community making a difference.

Peare has had her estate planning completed for quite a while. She made sure to include a gift to Junior League of Wichita. “It is an organization that has given me so much," she says, "and I feel really passionate about our League.”