"I heard so much about the problems that people were having as a result of the war," explains Mary Fran Libassi about her relationship with CARE, which dates back to 1947. As a teenager, Mary Fran took her earnings from a part-time job in her local library and began sending CARE Packages overseas.
But for Mary Fran, just mailing packages wasn't enough.
In 1951, as part of a church group working in France, she traveled to Berlin, then just recovering from the war, to meet Horst Schroder, the recipient of her CARE packages. "It was a powerful experience," she recalls, one that was reciprocated when Horst came to stay with her just after she was married.
Mary Fran's husband of 62 years, Peter, credits his wife with inspiring him to join the CARE family as well. "Mary Fran has told me so many stories," he says, "and over the years, they've become my stories too."
The newest chapter of their story is a generous Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA) that the Libassis gave to CARE in 2003. "It will provide some income for us, but it will be a significant gift to CARE. The CGA is like a gift you make in the present, but it's a pledge that when you pass on, CARE will have it for its future," says Peter.
Both in their late 80s, the Libassis appreciate how CARE has, as they put it, "reinvented itself" over the decades since they sent their first CARE Package overseas. "I look forward to seeing what they're doing," Peter says. "We're always pleased and excited about everything we read — and everything that CARE is accomplishing to create change in the world. No matter what your interest is, there's always a CARE project that someone is working on."
Adds Mary Fran, "My husband and I are very interested in strengthening the role of women in society and recognize the profound way in which they can and are making a contribution. The fact that CARE provides opportunities to women in the world will always resonate with me. I want them to have some of the opportunities that I've had in my life."
Now, through their generous annual gifts to CARE — and their Charitable Gift Annuity — the Libassis are leaving a legacy of hope to people who are struggling. "You read the paper every day and realize that the world cries out for the help CARE provides," says Peter. "In a way, we're fortunate to have CARE present us with challenges that we can address. We have such amazing wealth here in America and it's a privilege to help others."
"We fundamentally believe in what CARE is doing. Since the beginning, they have been a wonderful organization — doing just the kind of work that we want to support. The ability to provide them with a sizeable gift is wonderful."