Jill Fatzer spent her career surrounded by books. After graduating as a philosophy major from Newcomb College of Tulane University in New Orleans, Jill went on to library school at the University of California Berkeley, then worked in academic libraries across the country, eventually becoming dean of library sciences at the University of New Orleans.
While she enjoyed her years in library administration, Jill says, “I spent my last five years at UNO just teaching classes for future librarians, which in many ways was the most rewarding part of my career.”
Now that she is retired, Jill spends much of her time surrounded by the plants in her Austin, Texas garden. “I remember my parents growing a victory garden when I was little,” Jill says. “Now I have a vegetable garden, and I try to preserve a remnant of the tallgrass prairie that was part of the original landscape here in the Texas Hill Country. One of the benefits of retirement is bringing out old hobbies that you haven’t done in years!”
In addition to gardening, Jill is active in her community. “I am very involved in local political races right now, especially the race for the State Board of Education here in Texas. People are really paying attention to that race because they want to ensure that the Board is not filled with right-wingers who want to re-write history by changing the history curriculum standards,” she explains.
She is also dedicated to several charitable organizations that promote her beliefs, such as People For the American Way Foundation. “When I was a member of the American Library Association, one of my activities was to lobby on behalf of academic libraries in Washington, D.C.,” Jill says. “During one of those trips to D.C., I got involved with PFAW through their lobbying efforts, which I believe are critical. People don’t realize that the power of government really is in the hands of the people, and PFAW gets more individuals involved with that decision-making process.”
When Jill was updating her estate plans a few years ago, she knew she wanted to include People For the American Way Foundation as well as two other causes that hold special meaning for her. She decided to create a charitable remainder trust (CRT) that provides her with payments today, and will make meaningful gifts to the Foundation and the other two causes in the future.
“As a retired librarian living on modest investment income, I decided the best way I can help the organizations that I care about is to leave them money when I depart this earth,” Jill says. “My CRT provides me with reliable income that I know is going to be there year after year. Plus, I am glad to know that my estate plans are in order and nothing will be left to chance.”
While she enjoys the payments and tax benefits associated with her CRT gift, Jill quickly notes that the biggest benefit is “knowing that you are ensuring the future of an organization you believe really strongly in. PFAW Foundation represents the feelings about social justice and related issues I have had all my life,” Jill says. “It is one thing to write blogs and complain about injustices. But PFAW goes to Washington, pounds the halls, and buttonholes the decision makers to get things done. I hope my gift to PFAW Foundation will help them continue to stand up for the rights of future generations of Americans.”