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How fitting that the 31st CPGR Summer Symposium wasn’t even officially underway, and Mike Jackson was letting fellow attendee Karen Dunbar of Colorado State University know that he had made plans to leave a gift to the university. Jackson, who earned a BS in Health Science from CSU, definitely walks the talk.
He’s passionate about planned giving, and deeply passionate about giving back, not just through his treasurers but his time and talents. Ten years ago Jackson joined CPGR and shortly thereafter became involved on the membership committee. This year he completes six years of service on the board, including a 4-year role as treasurer during part of that tenure.
For his many efforts, including his pivotal part in helping the organization establish an endowment, Jackson was named the 2019 Volunteer of the Year.
“I can’t possibly give back to CPGR all that it has provided to me,” he says. “The friendships and ongoing education that comes from actively participating is invaluable.”
Jackson began his career in non profits as Executive Director of the Duncan Family YMCA. His love of planned giving blossomed during his role as Director of Nonprofit Relations at Community First Foundation. In that position he helped the foundation acquire endowment assets on behalf of nonprofit clients. That’s when he originally approached CPGR about establishing an endowment fund.
The timing, however, wasn’t right for CPGR. Fast forward seven years. That’s when the pieces began to fall into place, and Jackson was there offering to help out by leading the evaluation of the various foundation options, presenting criteria and helping create policies on how CPGR could best use the endowment fund.
“There is such a marriage between building endowment and planned giving legacies,” he says. And it’s working with donors to help them accomplish what they want by leaving a legacy that he most enjoys.
His first experience with legacy harkens to his grandparents. His grandfather was vice president for human resources with Johns Manville and upon relocating to the Littleton area, he and his wife built a home with breathtaking mountain views on Marston Reservoir. Jackson grew up in a home about two blocks from his grandparents. When his grandparents passed, they left their home to his parents who continue to reside there.
In his work with donors, he’s found legacy to nearly always be about a donor’s children or parents, rarely is it all about them.
In addition to his work with CPGR, Mike currently serves on the Legacy Committee at his church. He is an avid tennis player and enjoys the outdoors. His wife, Amy Kusek, is Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations, at the Colorado School of Mines. They have three children: two in high school and one attending Montana State University.
Of his service to CPGR, Jackson says, “It’s rewarding to do worthwhile work.” He is also deeply appreciative of his employers who have supported his involvement.