Fundraising veterans Judy Bradley and Dave Mitchell share why they have included LJI in their estate
Judy Bradley and Dave Mitchell are no strangers to philanthropy. In fact, it's how they met — working together in the fund development office at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) in 1980. Recently, Judy and Dave informed La Jolla Institute that they decided to leave a portion of their estate to LJI as a bequest in their will.
Both Dave and Judy enjoyed long and successful careers in helping raise money for healthcare and biomedical research organizations. Dave headed development programs at UCSF, Stanford, Northwestern, and Scripps Research. Judy spent much of her early development career at Stanford, UCSF, Children's Hospital SF, and Children's Hospital at Stanford, and later served as a fundraising consultant to a variety of nonprofit organizations. And, at different times, each one worked closely with LJI to help devise a philanthropic vision and plan for the Institute, which is still in place today.
When asked what drove them to spend nearly their entire careers in this field, Dave said, "In my estimation, biomedical researchers are incredibly bright, creative, and dedicated individuals. They're not in it for the money. They're just in it for discovery. Of all the things I've done in my career, raising money on behalf of bench researchers such as those at LJI, has been the most rewarding."
A decade ago, the couple sat down together to discuss the organizations that meant the most to them, and selected those they wanted to include in their bequest plan.
More recently, they revisited their choices, recognizing that time has resulted in changes to their priorities and interests. It was at this point that La Jolla Institute resurfaced in their minds.
Judy recalled tuning in to watch several episodes of LJI's "Live from the Lab" webinar series, launched with the advent of the pandemic.
"We were blown away. In a dark time, we realized how important LJI's work was, and how quickly LJI's scientists could mobilize and put all their efforts behind finding answers for a vaccine. This gave us confidence that something vitally important was being accomplished. So, because of our prior association with LJI, combined with this added level of awareness and confidence, we decided to make some adjustments to our will."
Dave feels similar passion for the Institute, "From diseases that have to do with an underperforming immune system to systems that are over performing, almost every disease category is influenced by the immune system. LJI is unique in that it's a cloistered, small group of scientists who come from different aspects of immunology and who work together in the same building. They collaborate. They share information. The environment at LJI is optimal for maximizing discoveries."
Judy and Dave recognized their bequest could be an opportunity to help sustain future research at LJI, an organization they believe in that is providing a great service to society.
Dave explained, "Big universities have large size to their advantage, but that size can also work against them. We could have made our bequest to a big university, but it would have been a drop in the bucket. Instead, targeting it on LJI is prudent because at some date when our bequest comes to fruition, it will make an impact in ways we can only imagine."
Judy provided a closing thought: "We hope this can inspire more people who give annually to LJI to think about an estate gift. Because it can be a powerful way to give — a six or seven figure bequest can really help build the endowment and give LJI the financial security it needs and deserves."
If impacting medical research is part of your vision for your legacy, you can learn more about the bequest process, view sample bequest language and even download our free estate planning guide here. If you have already named LJI as a beneficiary, please consider letting us know by completing a bequest intention form (which you can download from our website here). This way we can be sure to honor your gift according to your wishes, and welcome you to LJI's Legacy Society.