Planned Giving the Schaller Way
February 26, 2016 – Family-owned and operated Schaller Auto World has been part of the fabric of the Greater New Britain business community ever since Gustave “Gus” Schaller founded Schaller Oldsmobile in 1953 – and supporting the community that supports its business has always been the family way.
Today, Schaller Auto World President Art Schaller, Jr., and his wife Trish carry on the tradition – and they are passing on their philosophy of “giving back” to their children, Alli and Spencer. Art is a board member of the Community Foundation, and a past president of the Rotary Club of New Britain-Berlin, where he and the family remain actively involved. Trish was active with the former Junior League and is now a vice president of the Main Street Singers, among other community pursuits.
The Community Foundation is one of the family’s favorite causes: The Schaller Auto World Fund, which supports children’s causes, was established in 2003 to mark the company’s 50th anniversary, and Art and Trish are members of the Foundation’s Beehive Society, having included the Community Foundation in their will.
We visited with Art and Trish recently to talk about planned giving – the Schaller way.
Q: Talk about your commitment to giving back to the community and why it’s important.
Art: For us, it just feels right. We’ve lived a wonderful life, and all the blessings we have are largely due to the people who choose to come here, to Schaller Auto World, to give us their business. So it’s our way to return the favor so to speak, to support the people and the community that support us.
Trish: Our whole family is committed to giving back, and it’s wonderful to be able to pass that along to our children as well. We love helping out with the Rotary’s Out of the Cold luncheons at the Salvation Army, and seeing the kids enjoying it, too, is rewarding. Both Alli and Spencer volunteer with the Miracle League of Connecticut, which serves kids with physical and mental disabilities.
Q: The Community Foundation is a big part of your charitable efforts. Why?
Art: I was on the board of the Rotary Club years ago when the Club established a donor advised fund at the Foundation, and that was my introduction. The beauty of the Community Foundation is that when you support the Foundation, you are really supporting the entire community – it’s not just one charity, it’s a charity that looks out for the wellbeing of the entire community.
Trish: I am not involved with the Foundation the way that Art is, but it is easy to see that supporting the Foundation just makes sense. The Community Foundation is the community, the whole community.
Q: Take us through the process of including the Community Foundation in your will, which made you members of our Beehive Society, and how that came to be.
Art: I’m now the third generation managing this company, and I learned long ago the value of planning for the future. Estate planning, projecting out what you want where – it’s all part of prudent financial planning, taking care of your future needs and the needs of your family. When you go through this process you start looking at what’s best to achieve your goals, what’s important to you. What happens if we aren’t here tomorrow? In the course of that, you come to conclusions and you make decisions about what you can do and who you can help along the way.
Trish: It made all the sense in the world that our estate planning be reflective of those same things that are important to us in the here and now – our family, of course, and the community at large, as well. Both the Community Foundation and Rotary are included in our will. The idea was, structure the estate so that we can take care of others in the community, those programs and services that are important to us, while taking care of our own.
Art: The Foundation knows this community and they know how to equitably distribute funding to help the greatest number of people. Better yet, they know how to invest funds to ensure the best return on the dollar, and that offers true peace of mind. And we know that the work of the Community Foundation, in one way, shape or form, will carry on forever.
It is the right thing to do.