Before Nancy and Joe Gofus became retired grandparents and Volunteers of America Chesapeake major gift donors, they were military kids.
Both of their fathers and Joe’s mother were Navy veterans.
“The country has a lot of responsibility to pay back the people who have served, and we can’t forget about them when they take off the uniform,” Joe says. “I know a lot of vets and I know a lot of them have struggled. I think Volunteers of America plays an important role in helping them find a place in society and in some cases a place to live.”
This right to a place to live extends to everyone, not just veterans, adds Nancy.
“We believe deeply that having a safe place to call home matters,” she says. “We are blessed to have never faced homelessness, but we know it is a struggle for many people.”
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The Virginia couple’s relationship with Volunteers of America Chesapeake (VOAC) began when Nancy served 10 years on the national Volunteers of America Board. To remain engaged after she stepped down, she and Joe became Volunteers of America Chesapeake donors.
“This is our community,” she explains. “We saw VOAC’s work at the Loudoun Homeless Shelter and Mary Marshall [Assisted Living], so we knew the important work they were doing. It just felt right to continue our support.”
Joe retired in 2010 after 35 years in the federal government, and Nancy retired in 2014 after marketing work in the telecommunications and cybersecurity fields.
Joe jokingly calls retired life “busy.” Nancy says they stay active through work with their home church, foundation boards, and 2-year-old and 8-month-old grandchildren.
“You have to find things to do that are meaningful and important,” Nancy says.
The pair donates to VOAC annually and most recently provided charitable support through a donor advised fund.
“If you have highly appreciated stock, a donor advised fund is a terrific way to make significant contributions and manage tax bills,” Nancy says.
If you do not have stocks, she suggests automatic monthly donations.
“You don’t miss it as much and it can add up to a larger gift then you might be comfortable writing a check for once a year,” she explains.
They say it is essential to research an organization before donating, so you trust your money will be well-spent.
“I know from personal experience that VOAC manages overhead well,” Nancy says. “It is important to have confidence in the organization you support and our confidence in VOAC is rock solid.”
The couple says they donate to a wide variety of organizations, but they are committed to Volunteers of America Chesapeake.
“We live in a wealthy area, and yet there are so many families that are really struggling and Volunteers of America Chesapeake is one of those organizations that always steps forward to help some of the most vulnerable in our community. Being able to provide financial support and knowing VOAC will be able to help those folks makes us feel proud.”