Last February the Salvation Army received a generous donation through the estate of a Missoula resident. It was like a dream-come-true, according to Henry Graciani.

“The person who bequeathed the money to the Salvation Army wanted specifically to help families in need in the Missoula area,” Graciani, a Salvation Army Captain, said. The unexpected donation “filled in the gaps” in funding for Silvercrest, a housing project that will provide for low-income senior citizens for generations.

This May, a diverse group of more than 30 Missoula non-profit organizations worked together on a coordinated Legacy Montana campaign. The campaign encourages support for charitable organizations by asking individuals to remember the organizations in their wills.

Their message is simple. You can’t take it with you, and you don’t need to be wealthy to leave a legacy. The process is simple, too. One way is to donate a portion of a life insurance benefit by adding a charitable group as a beneficiary. Another way is to make a non-profit organization a beneficiary of a stock account. It’s recommended you contact a financial advisor or member of the Missoula Estate Planners to get the job done.

The campaign featured testimonials from three local residents, Geoff Sutton, Judy Preston and Ty Robinson, who have chosen to give donations to Missoula non-profit organizations through their estates. Only about five percent of Americans make such a provision for a charitable gift.

The three Missoula residents have given gifts to the Missoula Art Museum, Missoula Community Medical Center Foundation and the YWCA. They did what the anonymous donor did for the Salvation Army.

When a significant donation comes in “out of the blue,” as in the case of the recent gift to the Salvation Army, it can “make an organization’s dreams come true,” according to Graciani. “It becomes a gift for perpetuity,” he added.

For more information about gifts for perpetuity and the Legacy Montana campaign, contact Jean Bowman at 543-5387.