Bequest Stories

Mike Schaefer's Legacy Gift

Mike Scheafer turned his passion for nature into a lasting gift.


A Cup of Coffee with Mike Schaefer

Mike Schaefer explains why it is important to "pay it forward."


Paying it Forward

Mike Schaefer is a longtime Nature Conservancy volunteer and donor.  His partner, Ric Weiland, one of Microsoft’s first employees, left a generous bequest to The Nature Conservancy and several other charities. 

As a former finance and policy analyst for the city of Seattle, Mike spent more than a decade evaluating funding and drinking water quality protection initiatives on behalf of Seattle’s watershed – a tract of more than 100,000 acres.  This work led to a special interest in freshwater conservation, which he has continued to explore with the Conservancy.

“There are a lot of competing demands on our water,” Mike says. “When you find folks sitting at the table trying to make decisions on how to manage these critical supplies, you realize that a group that has an independent voice, that can look at water policy from an intergenerational perspective, from not just one individual interest, is just what it takes to do the right thing.”

Mike grew up in rural New York State, but has spent the last 30 years in Seattle.  An avid outdoorsman, Mike leads a hike up Washington’s Mt. Adams as an annual charity fundraiser each year, and spends as much of his summer as possible boating on the Canadian Pacific coast.

Mike says that he and Ric made decisions about their legacy giving by “aligning their values with the vision and strategy they had for the future.”  They thought carefully about the values and causes that were important to them, and made sure that their philanthropy reflected those priorities. 

“We don’t know what the challenges of the future are going to be in the environmental movement,” Mike says.  But the bottom line is that it’s our family’s commitment to leave our campsite better than we found it.”

Information that may interest you ...

Find out more about making a gift through your will.

Learn how to leave the Conservancy in your estate plan.

Request your personal gift proposal today.

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