For GDA Partners in Trust Bill and Pam McDonald, it took only one visit to Guide Dogs of America to know they wanted to offer their financial support to the school.
“We attended Open House, and it just hit me. Watching the guide dog demos and the puppies-in-training and starting up conversations with students and hearing how having a guide dog has changed their life,” Pam McDonald said. “I had a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye the whole time I was there. I was so touched.”
The couple became donors in 1996 and in 2008, they became Partners in Trust.
“Everything is going to GDA. The entire estate,” Pam McDonald said. “What better way to have our estate live on? Our gift will help the school continue its work with these beautiful animals and to make such a difference in the lives of those who receive them. I feel really peaceful about our choice.”
Several years ago, after they had already been donating to GDA, Pam McDonald had a serious staph infection in her eye, which left her unable to see for several months. Fortunately, the ophthalmologist was able to save her cornea, but the experience gave her a deeper understanding of how difficult it is to be independent when you cannot see.
“It really helped me understand what not having a guide dog would mean to someone with a vision loss,” she said. “Not only in how the dog helps you move through the world, but the companionship they provide. If I didn’t have my personal dogs during that period, I would have gone crazy.”
McDonald has introduced several of her friends to GDA by bringing them to Open Houses, and many have donated after their visit.
“I think if someone experiences GDA the way I did the first time, they will understand what a difference their contribution will make. A guide dog gives a blind person’s life back to them,” Pam McDonald said. “GDA is a legitimate charity, and I am so happy that our support of the organization will continue through our estate. I cannot think of a better cause and I don’t think there is any better group than Guide Dogs of America.”
For information about becoming a Partner in Trust, please contact Rhonda Bissell at (818) 833-6432. Guide Dogs of America has earned four stars from Charity Navigator, a rating the charity evaluator only awards to the most fiscally responsible organizations.