For Olivia Ware '78, giving is about staying connected. Whether it's political or art or social causes, she wants to help the people and places that matter most to her. Giving to Davidson College, she says, is a way to support many things she cares about, all in one place. And, she made philanthropy a priority as soon as she graduated.
"I don't think giving is something you should wait to do until you feel you're financially able to make significant contributions," she said. "It's important to give in all stages of your life. My donations in my 20s are certainly different than what I can do now, but it's about establishing a practice."
Olivia encourages all alumni to consider how they can make a difference for alma mater.
"Many of us [alumni] have been blessed financially, and it's a great way to take our financial rewards and use them for the greater good," she said. "The college has the ability to take those funds and use them in a way that I couldn't do if I were doing it on a small scale. Education is vitally important and constantly changing, and I want to put the money in the hands of people who can really direct it in the best possible way. For me, those people are at Davidson."
One of the ways Olivia has chosen to support Davidson is by including the college in her estate plans—something that was "not hard at all to do," in her opinion.
"Sometimes it feels daunting, like it's something only Warren Buffet and those kinds of people do," she said. "But it's not like that at all. Any person who is thinking about his or her future should consider planned giving. Most people consult with financial experts or tax attorneys anyway, and they give great advice. It's not as complex as it seems, and it takes very little time to set it up."
Olivia thinks about her own planned giving decisions in the simplest of terms, in fact. And, her considerations made Davidson a clear choice to include.
"I want to make sure the things I care most about are taken care of when I'm gone," she said. "Quite often, the obvious beneficiaries listed in a will are people, but I want to make sure the organizations I care about are taken care of, too. So, that's where Davidson comes in. I care about the college and its future, and I want to make sure I do what I can to help out."
Specifically, Olivia is passionate about maintaining the intellectual community she loved as a student. She enjoyed being in a knowledge-based environment that was stimulating and mind-expanding and where she was able to make connections with all people—faculty, students and administrators.
"I got a lot of incredible support from Davidson," she said, "and giving back is a way to acknowledge that support. It's also important to me that students without access to higher education are given opportunities to succeed. Some students, like students of color, may have more challenges, and I have a real interest in making sure they have exposure to a place like Davidson."
One way Ware ensures that her gifts create these kinds of opportunities is by supporting the Emergence Scholarship of The Davidson Trust. Created by African-American alumni in celebration of the achievements of Davidson alumni of color, this scholarship supports students through The Davidson Trust, with preference given to individuals from historically underrepresented populations at Davidson.