Throughout her career as an attorney helping those on the margins of society and in her current role as an associate of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, Edith Benson is someone who sees Jesus in everyone and everyone as her neighbor. When considering the lasting legacy she will leave, it made sense for her to find a way to continue to help those in most need beyond her lifetime. “We are called upon to live out our faith in words and deeds,” she says. “I am planning gifts, now, deliberately, to have more control over how things are set up and secured.”
After some discussions about beneficiaries, Edith decided to create the Social Justice Endowment in the Catholic Foundation. This endowment will support the Office of Social Justice and Life for the Diocese of Erie with a focus on programs and teachings involving diversity, inclusion, equity, and advocacy. Edith realized this fund can do more than educate and inform within the diocese itself. She says, “the Office of Social Justice and Life is not confined - its work goes beyond the parish[es] and diocese and ultimately is a way of evangelizing.”
Regarding her inspiration to create this endowment in the Catholic Foundation, Edith says, “We share the same values. The Catholic Foundation is an instrument to live out my values and beliefs. It helps me use my resources to live out Jesus' values to show my love of neighbor and God.” Edith donated the funds to establish the Social Justice Endowment directly from her IRA, using a charitable giving tool that offers her tax advantages while enabling her to make a meaningful charitable gift.
Edith looks ahead to what this fund could lead to in the future; with these teachings shared to a broad audience, from clergy to students, all of us in the community can benefit and grow. She explains, “if I can help bring resources to address these issues, then more people will have that opportunity to live out those values. Recent years have awakened us to look inward and also to help others. We are each other’s sisters and brothers.”
“The Catholic Foundation is an instrument to live out my values and beliefs. It helps me use my resources to live out Jesus' values to show my love of neighbor and God.”