Leaving a Legacy: Nancy & Dan

Dec 7, 2020

If you want to know how compassionate, innovative mental health services can make a difference in an individual or family’s life – just ask Nancy. For Nancy and her son, Dan, People Incorporated was life-changing.

By the time Dan was 12 years old, he had been living at the hospital for a year. He has rubella syndrome – a rare disorder that causes significant, lingering mental health and physical health challenges, as a result of experiencing rubella in-utero or as a young child.

“He had violent outbursts, and I couldn’t keep all of us safe anymore,” says Nancy.

Nancy’s fierce love for her son began a quest to find him a place where he could be safe. Unfortunately, Dan’s rubella syndrome meant that he faced more than just his mental health concerns – he is also deaf.

When Nancy met People Incorporated’s then-CEO, Tim Burkett, they decided to work together to create a program that would meet Dan’s needs.

“We knew Dan wasn’t the only person facing these challenges, so we drove across the state to find people who needed us. As it turns out, we were able to fill a program,” says Nancy.

Nancy and Tim worked side-by-side, meeting with donors to buy and renovate a home and advocating with local legislators on the appropriate staffing needed to keep everyone safe. Together, they filled a critical gap in care in Minnesota – a program finally existed for people with mental health needs who also had hearing impairments.

“I credit the fact that he’s doing so well to the care he’s received at People Incorporated. The life expectancy for people with his condition is 38 or 39, but he’s 54 and doing great! He feels safe. He has friends. Most people with his condition and symptoms rotate between prisons and hospitals, but he’s doing so well,” says Nancy.

Donors like you help us transform unique, innovative programs like this into a reality. Your gifts to People Incorporated allow us to help individuals who might otherwise fall through the cracks in a complicated mental health system. People like Nancy and her son count on you to support programs that are as unique as the people we serve – many of whom could never afford to create specialized services on their own.

Nancy hasn’t missed an opportunity to give to People Incorporated in 24 years. She’s also a member of our Heritage Circle – a group of individuals who have informed People Incorporated that they’ve included us in a legacy gift.

“Why wouldn’t I give? I just love the place! It makes me feel good to be able to give a little something. I was 40 years old when Dan was placed and I was finally able to work. I don’t have much money to give, but I give what I can, and People Incorporated is always at the top of my list. In my next life, I’m going to give away millions of dollars. I can think of nothing more fun to do than that,” says Nancy.

Legacy gifts range from simple to complex, but their impact makes a significant difference. To learn more about this giving option, please contact one of our gift officers at give@peopleincorporated.org

Find this story and more in our Fall 2020 InTouch newsletter.