It was a typical Thursday morning. I arrived at the office and began sorting through a stack of envelopes on my desk. Categorizing them into piles, I came across an ordinary looking envelope with the return address of one of our long-time donors. Thinking it was our normal correspondence, I was surprised to find no note inside, but rather a check with the words “In Memory of Marjorie” written at the top.

I was not ready for this. Tears filled my eyes as soon as I fully comprehended what the check I held in my hands actually meant. Someone I cared about, and who cared about me and the work we do, had passed away. It was a feeling I had never felt before, especially as my eyes finally saw the amount of the check. As a small nonprofit, gifts of all sizes make a huge impact on our work, but this amount was one of the largest donations from an individual we had ever received. Simultaneously feeling an immense sense of grief and an immense sense of gratitude at the same time was one of the most human experiences I have ever had.

It was in that moment where I finally and truly understood why these types of contributions are called “Legacy Gifts,” as they reflect a person’s deepest desires to “leave their mark,” by making a lasting impact on the world long after they have passed away. With gratitude and respect, our organization decided to add Marjorie’s gift to our own endowment so her legacy would grow and add to the long-term financial sustainability of Algalita. I get emotional thinking that this was Marjorie’s way of sending one last note of encouragement our way, because Lord knows how much I’ve depended on those over all these years.

In her memory, we’ve planted a California native plant garden right outside our office and had a small remembrance stone made with her name and birth month flower – which is a Daffodil. Seeing the stone each day reminds me of how lucky I am to be in a position to experience so much gratitude. Whether you’ve donated to us or not, if you’re reading this – you are part of our community, and we are so grateful you exist.

-Katie and the Algalita team

If you’re just hearing about Legacy Gifts for the first time, or have been aware of them but hesitant to learn more, we encourage you to reach out to us for support. We have a special partnership with the Long Beach Community Foundation where they provide step-by-step guidance on how to begin your Legacy Gift journey.

Also, keep in mind, these contributions are sometimes called “Memorial Gifts”, “Bequests”, “Remembrance Gifts”, or “Planned Giving”. Whether you’re considering giving to Algalita or another organization, we’re here to help you though the learning curve. Email us at, or call us at 562-598-4889.