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27 January 2017

Why I Contributed to the Capital Campaign: Jim Sorenson

Jim at the Annual Membership Meeting, January 2017
For those not familiar, The California Genealogical Society's Capital Campaign kicks into high gear this February with a goal of raising $1.2 million dollars.  The goal was created to coincide with the beginning of our 120th Anniversary in 2018. 

A committee chaired by Chris Pattillo was created to lead this effort. Chris also has the considerable help and talent of both Jane Lindsey and Sandy Fryer to ensure that the campaign will be a huge success.  

Why is a Capital Campaign needed?  The money raised will help ensure that our society will remain a leader in genealogy and give us the necessary financial cushion to weather various storms in the future. 

Now that you know about the Capital Campaign, I hope you enjoy the beginning of a new monthly series of blog posts entitled Why I Contributed to the Capital Campaign.  The first will focus on life member, long-time volunteer, donor and previous board member Jim Sorenson.  

Jim has given generously of his time and money for over nine years to The California Genealogical Society (CGS).  He has been involved in key strategic roles in the organization that have allowed us to thrive and succeed where many genealogy societies have either failed or begun to lose membership. Jim is a strong believer that the California Genealogical Society is an institution that contributes to our local community and collective history.  His latest genealogical project is pursuing information pertaining to his biological paternal grandfather, who was recently identified using analysis of autosomal DNA test results.

With that being said, here are a few questions I asked him on why he chose to financially support our society:
  • By contributing to the Capital Campaign, what do you hope to accomplish? I’m strongly interested in keeping CGS going as a vital resource for doing genealogical research and to support the many educational activities that they present.
  • You have many organizations to choose from when considering a donation, what made you choose us? My wife and I support many local and national charities. However, I know that my donation to CGS will be used wisely and every dollar goes to support CGS without being diverted to pay for expensive fundraising.    
  • How does donating to CGS extend your personal legacy or the legacy of California genealogical research? By keeping CGS fiscally healthy, I know that their great resources will be available to my descendants and me for years to come.
  • How did CGS' genealogical resources help your research efforts? In addition to the subscriptions to online databases, the CGS library has many books which can’t be found online or at general-purpose libraries. Although I’ve been doing genealogy for several years and have built up considerable experience, the collective expertise of the CGS members and their programs offers help that is not available if you just do it on your own.
  • What would you say to those contemplating a donation to the Capital Campaign? Donation decisions are personal and there are many deserving organizations asking for support. However, being an all-volunteer organization means that your support of CGS goes further to support its goals and purposes in providing an understanding of your ancestors and the world in which they lived, the challenges they faced, and the successes or failures that made them what they were.
If a donation to the Capital Campaign sounds daunting, then consider becoming a Life Member of the society.  Did you know that 100% of the Life Membership fee ($1200 that can either be paid at once or over a 5-year installment plan) is invested in mutual funds and provides long-term support for CGS? 

The revenue from these funds is used to cover unanticipated expenses and helps secure that the Society will remain viable in the years to come.  Rather than calculating a return on a Life Membership, we encourage you to think of this as donation with benefits.

Have questions? Please send either Chris or Jane an email to discuss what's best for you.

We need our dedicated and visionary members like Jim to step forward and make the pledge towards creating a more sustainable and prosperous future for CGS.  Please act now to preserve the heritage that you've worked so hard to discover.  We're counting on you.

Thank you for considering how you can help ensure that The California Genealogical Society will remain a financially strong leader in the field of genealogy.

Photo by Ron Madson

Logo designed by Lois Elling

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