Helping America's Most Vulnerable

Legacy of Caring

The story of a Volunteers of America Legacy Society Member

Alfred Christensen embodies what the Volunteers of America Legacy Society is all about: he is a forward –looking, creative individual who, through a planned gift, will help Volunteers of America carry on its mission to improve the lives of the vulnerable in our society.

Born in Burns, Wyoming, Mr. Christensen's first job was working for the local telephone company. His widowed mother had taken the job of chief telephone operator for the region (consisting of 33 households), and so it came about that he became a telephone runner. When a phone call came in for someone without a phone, it was his duty to race to their homes to tell them they had a call down at the telephone office. For his work, he made 25 cents per call. After attending the University of Wyoming on scholarship, he joined the Army during World War II. He was assigned to an Army base in India where they needed a finance expert to do payroll for the entire base. He settled in Denver in 1949 to continue his accounting practice.

In 2005, he began a rigorous search for non-profits he could support. He was determined that it not be just any non-profit.

"I looked for a couple of charitable organizations that had good performance ratings for benefits performed versus administrative costs. Not surprisingly, Volunteers of America made the cut," Alfred Christensen said.

He learned that for every dollar given to Volunteers of America, 91 cents goes directly to the intended purpose of the donor.

From that beginning, Mr. Christensen has generously contributed unrestricted gifts to Volunteers of America. His gifts are undesignated because, he said, "I trust in the leadership of Volunteers of America to use it wisely where it is most needed."

Now he has made another generous decision. He has named Volunteers of America in his will and has designated his bequest to support the Meals on Wheels program.

"I have been favorably aware of the program for many years. My sister, who lives in Casper, Wyoming, drove for them for 33 years and her husband was not far behind at 31 years. I always envied them for the feeling of satisfaction that this work gave them since they often spoke of the difference they had made in the lives of seniors on their route," Christensen said.

He believes that this is the perfect act of charity.

"It brightens the lives of seniors confined to their homes and improves the quality of life for a person whose other option might be a nursing home at the cost of lifetime savings," he said.

Individuals like Alfred Christensen are critical to our future. They have made a thoughtful assessment to keep our programs available and make our community stronger well into the future. Volunteers of America applauds Mr. Christensen for his humanity and for his caring for those who cannot always care for themselves.

For more information about how you can leave a legacy, visit the Legacy Society webpage. This guest blog was submitted by Joan Blick, Volunteers of America Major and Planned Gifts Manager.