Mark and Wendy Holcomb create a legacy inspired by a family of caregivers
The days after Thankgiving have long signaled the start of the holiday season. Which, for many means the start of the holiday buying season. Black Friday has been a long-standing tradition when stores open extra early and offer shoppers significant deals. More recently, Cyber Monday has become a popular time to grab online shopping bargains.
Giving Tuesday, which takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is a notable counterpoint to these consumption-oriented days. Created in 2012, the idea behind Giving Tuesday is simple: Let’s take a day to give back, and do good.
Are you looking for a way to participate in Giving Tuesday this year? There are many ways to give back: volunteering, donating to your favorite cause, sponsoring a charitable event, establishing a legacy.
Read on to learn about how one couple chose legacy giving as a meaningful way to give back to the causes and communities that they care most care about.
What does it mean to leave a legacy? To Mark and Wendy Holcomb, it means leaving your community better than you found it.
“Both of us really believe in Tacoma and care about creating a healthy community,” Wendy says. “Your health and wellbeing are the foundation for your life. We think that access to health care is a strong piece of equity that all people should have.”
Mark and Wendy both grew up surrounded by generations of caregivers. Mark’s mother found her calling as a pediatric nurse after returning to school later in life.
“My siblings and I were very proud of our mom for going back to school and getting her nursing degree,” Mark explains. “We knew how important it was for her to help others.”
Wendy’s father was a physician and hospital administrator, her mother was a pediatric nurse practitioner and her sister is a hospice nurse.
“We both come from strong connections to health care,” Wendy says. “I think that’s what inspired both of us to become advocates within the health care field and support strong health care — because we value that as a key component to a healthy community.”
Over the years, their support has taken many different forms. Wendy is a longtime Mary Bridge Brigade member and volunteer for Mary Bridge Children’s Festival of Trees. Looking back on her history with Mary Bridge, one of Wendy’s most impactful moments happened when she was part of a student mentor program that connected youth to careers in the health care field and introduced them to the importance of philanthropy.
“I met a young woman who was part of a youth philanthropy program,” she explains. “Being able to connect her talent and passion back to Mary Bridge, to watch her get inspired — that’s what it’s all about.”
That young woman was Kelly Gutierrez, now a pediatric nurse in the Mary Bridge Children’s Emergency Department. She’s the first in her family to work in health care.
“Wendy is the most generous person I know,” Gutierrez explains. “She led me to this path of nursing, whether she realizes it or not. I strive to be as giving as she is through the patients I treat every day.”
Mark is also an advocate for health care in the South Sound.
With the nudge of his law partner, former board chair and now board emeritus, Jim Morton, Mark became a member of the Mary Bridge Children’s Foundation Board. He served as board chair for several terms and helped found the Professional Legacy Advisory Council (PLAC), which educates the broader community on the personal and financial benefits of legacy giving and estate planning for Mary Bridge.
“While I was on the board, one of the more inspiring and rewarding things was the legacy gifts that would come through unexpectedly,” Mark explains. “I was always touched by that. It didn’t matter the dollar amount; it was people that felt very strongly about giving to Mary Bridge at the time of their death because of the care they or a loved one received. A gift at the time of death places emphasis on one’s life-long priorities. It says a lot that Mary Bridge has been the recipient of such generosity over the years.”
Legacy gifts and stories like these motivate the Holcombs to continue to give and to inspire others to join them.
“I think about the collective impact we can have,” Wendy says. “By ourselves we may feel like a small drip in the pot, but together, we can make a huge difference. Leaving a legacy is a strong message that we get to share about what we value and care about.”
Every gift counts. Learn more about leaving a legacy in your community.Inspired by Mark and Wendy’s story? Anyone can leave a legacy gift. Read how.
About The Author
Kortney Scroger is a communication specialist for the MultiCare Foundations. She writes stories that connect readers to the impact of giving. You can reach her at [email protected].More stories by this author