Donor Spotlight – Partners Planning in Advance

Partners in Trust Kevin and Cindy Cassady knew Guide Dogs of America was a special place the first time they attended an Open House on the GDA campus. That first visit led to the couple attending numerous fundraising events for the school. Eventually, they went from fundraising participants to volunteering at the events. Ultimately, they decided that giving their time was not enough. In 2004, the Cassadys started making donations to the school and, in 2009, they ensured that they would leave a future gift to continue their support of the school by becoming Partners in Trust.

“We were forming our living trust, and GDA was the first organization that we thought to include,” said Kevin Cassady. “What sticks out in my mind and initially bowled me over was the Open House. Seeing all of the dogs — from the puppies-in-training, to the working guide dogs — learning about the program and seeing firsthand how a guide dog changes a person’s life. It opened up a whole new world for us.

“From the outset, we were impressed by the entire business model of the school and the dedication of the staff and the volunteers. The rate of return to the organization is very high. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that our contribution makes possible the extraordinary gift of a guide dog — that was bred and trained at the school — to their blind partner.”

The Cassadys made it a priority to make a plan and have their affairs in order early in their adult lives.

“We encourage everyone — at any age — to make a trust and to think about and explore how you can make a difference,” said Cindy Cassady. “We feel good knowing that what we are building now will help to ensure that this incredible program will continue to provide guide dogs, free of charge, to their blind recipients beyond our lifetime.”

For information about becoming a Partner in Trust, please contact Rhonda Bissell at (818) 833-6432.