Coming Full Circle

As a 6-year-old, Betsy Strong had her tonsils taken out at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. She volunteered at the hospital as a teenager, then started her career there as a nurse. Now a financial advisor who counsels clients on the value of giving back, Strong has brought her lifelong connection to the hospital full circle: She has made a generous legacy gift.

Helping underserved populations was Strong’s favorite part of working in UCSF Benioff Oakland’s busy emergency room and clinics.

“I learned how much the hospital supports the neighborhood,” Strong says. “It felt so good to help people, and I felt like I was always learning about the issues facing families.”

Decades later, she still vividly recalls the effusive thanks she received from one recent immigrant father, who was overjoyed to be able to have his children immunized.

Strong eventually left nursing and became a financial planner—a career that may seem like a drastic change, but actually requires similar abilities, she says: a head for numbers, empathy, and good listening skills. Strong’s special focus on wealth management related to nonprofit giving keeps her tied to her roots in service.

“An inheritance can be a way for people to tell their story, and to deliver to their kids the lessons they have learned in life, which are more important than money,” Strong says.

Since leaving nursing, she has maintained an active volunteer schedule, always related to children or health issues. And when she decided to make a gift of an IRA inherited from her father, an Oakland native, donating to Children’s was a natural choice.

“Giving back was a value I learned from my father as a child. With this gift, I want to thank him, and to continue his legacy and support the hospital’s expansive services,” Strong says. “The hospital speaks to me perfectly because of my lifelong connection—it’s just the right fit.”

The personal satisfaction that comes from giving is something she often shares with her clients.

“I always encourage them to become involved with the charities they support when they have made a legacy gift,” Strong says. “It’s wonderful to know how you are helping people and to experience that satisfaction during your lifetime.”