When Rebecca Levison’s mother died last year after contracting COVID-19, the educator and her wife, Kathleen Sullivan, were suddenly faced with some decisions to make about her inheritance.
Since they were both former employees of the Los Angeles LGBT Center and have remained donors, they decided to also include the Center in their estate plan through its Circle of Life program.
“We’re not spring chickens but we’re also not very old,” Levison pointed out. “It’s kind of surprising to be working on an estate plan and thinking about the will and where money is going. Unfortunately, this life event has caused us to have to confront those issues. But now that we have gone through this process, it feels very comforting and responsible. It’s good knowing that when we’re no longer here, what we value and support is still going to be supported into the future.”
The couple met through mutual friends on a group camping trip to Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington over Labor Day weekend back in 1992.
“I am not a camper and she is a camper, so I was probably a little cranky on that weekend,” Sullivan recalled.
But they managed to become friends on that trip and six years later, they became a couple.
In 2011, they rented out their home in Portland, Oregon, to relocate to Los Angeles and work at the Center where Sullivan was director of Senior Services and Levison worked for Policy’s Leadership LAB.
“It was the best job I ever had,” Sullivan said, wiping away a tear. “I really believe in what the Center does. I wanted to be part of the legacy, to be part of my generation giving to future generations.”
The couple returned to Portland after four years and remained staunch Center supporters. In April 2019, they traveled back to Los Angeles to attend the block party celebrating the opening of the Anita May Rosenstein Campus.
“The Center has just always been at the heart of community service and social service and that’s why it remains in our hearts a thousand miles away,” said Sullivan, who now works for EngAGE NW, which teams with developers to create affordable housing for all ages.
The Center’s expansion “is such a tangible way to show the need,” Sullivan added. “The great thing about the Center is there’s a lot of foreshadowing and planning and laying the groundwork. There’s always a willingness to do more and find a way to make it happen.”
“The culture of the Center is to try new things and to take the next step and to be one step ahead of the curve,” she said. “We really believe in the work.”
That’s what made investing in the Center’s future such an easy decision.
“I think LGBTQ people have a responsibility to support the community and I feel like this is one way,” Levison said of the Circle of Life program. “It’s our responsibility to come together and give and give as much as we can whether it’s a small amount or a large amount.”