Bequest Stories

If you want to protect the lands and waters you care about, but cannot make a gift today, you can still leave a legacy that reflects your individual values by including The Nature Conservancy in your will or estate plan. It is easy to make a charitable bequest. And bequests let you retain control of your assets during your lifetime. They may also provide estate tax savings.

Joe Olkewicz wanted to leave a gift that would have a lasting impact on the natural world that he cares so deeply about, so he took the simple steps to include The Nature Conservancy in his will. Like Joe, when you make a gift through your estate to The Nature Conservancy, and let us know about your gift, you become a member of The Legacy Club—a special group of visionary supporters who have chosen to stand up for the future of the natural world.

Charitable Bequest: My Story

Wherever I have lived, I have always done what I can to preserve the natural places I love. Whether I’m out picking up litter on the beach or volunteering to create nature trails, I like to be involved. I chose to leave a charitable bequest because it allowed me to support the Conservancy in a way that I’m not able to do now. My bequest is a gift to my grandchildren—I want to be sure they inherit a world full of animals and beautiful unspoiled places to enjoy. 

I chose to name the Conservancy in my will because I like their on the ground approach to getting things done locally. And I appreciate how they partner with people like farmers and ranchers.

An Early Love of Nature

I guess that I started caring about nature in my late teens when I saw people illegally gathering crabs off the dock to eat near my hometown in New Jersey. I decided to take matters into my own hands and borrowed my friend’s security guard hat and badge. When I started “patrolling” the docks, they couldn’t dump their crabs fast enough!
That may have been when I realized I could make a difference with my actions. Over the years, I’ve earned a reputation as a kind of “enforcer” for nature. Working for AT&T, I started my division’s first recycling program and was dubbed the “recycle warden.” And even though I am retired now, I still remind friends to recycle and do right by the Earth. We all have to do something to make a difference, especially when it comes to protecting nature. 

Growing up in Bayonne, New Jersey, nature wasn’t exactly at my doorstep. (My idea of hiking then was climbing on a rooftop!) Yet the little exposure I did have to nature really made an impression on me. For me, it’s simple: preserving the oceans and forests and all of nature is about respecting every creature’s right to live—and it’s about the future. Making a bequest with the Conservancy is a way to do my part. 

I don’t do these things because I want a medal or to be in the spotlight—it is just the right thing to do. And in my life, I think I have helped more than I have hurt. I really believe I am leaving the world a better place.

Information that may interest you ...

Find out more about making a gift through your will.

You can leave a legacy for nature. Learn about our Legacy Club.

Read stories from our donors and discover the benefits of planned gifts

You can protect coasts and other natural places by making a planned gift with The Nature Conservancy. Contact us today.