For the six decades of their marriage, Phyllis Z. and Fenmore R. Seton were devoted philanthropists, endowing funds and awards and giving regularly to numerous causes in their beloved Greater New Haven Area and beyond.
The couple took great pride in jointly earning the Yale Medal for outstanding service to the university, the Seal of the City Award from the New Haven Historical Society, and the Connecticut Philanthropist of the Year Award from the National Society of Fundraising Executives.
Fen Seton died in 2003, and when Phyllis Seton died this past August, only one month shy of her 99th birthday, Women’s Health Research at Yale received a significant bequest as directed in her will.
“She was so proud of my involvement with WHRY,” said Dinny Wakerley, Phyllis and Fen’s daughter and a member of the center’s Advisory Council. “She knew it was a wonderful organization doing crucially important work for the health of women.”
Phyllis Seton’s thoughtful bequest became a grateful addition to WHRY’s Legacy Society, a special designation for planned gifts that will provide lasting support for our mission to improve the health of women. Such commitments are needed to ensure that we continue to generate new research findings on women’s health and sex-and-gender differences that can be translated into practical improvements for the benefit of everyone.
Rosemary Hudson, one of Women’s Health Research at Yale’s first benefactors, began the Legacy Society in 1999 by naming WHRY in a charitable remainder trust, a financial instrument that allows individuals to receive an annuity until the end of the term, when all or a portion of the remaining funds will come to WHRY. In August, Daphne Foreman also joined the Legacy Society by naming WHRY as a beneficiary of her life insurance policy.
“We are tremendously grateful for these generous and thoughtful gifts from Rosemary, Phyllis, and Daphne,” said WHRY Director Carolyn M. Mazure, Ph.D. “The future of our center and the health of women rely on making a lasting impact that benefits everyone.”
Such planned giving can increase a donor’s income to keep pace with inflation, avoid upfront capital gains taxes, and reduce estate tax liability.
Dinny Wakerley said her mother would be thrilled and honored by her inclusion in the Legacy Society.
“She was certainly not looking for any recognition,” Wakerley said. “But if she could encourage others to do something similar, that would really please her.”
Daphne Foreman designated her gift to WHRY in memory of her mother, Hilda Foreman, who died at the age of 78, one week after being diagnosed with congestive heart failure.
“She had a variety of conditions that caused this to be missed,” Foreman said. “My mother’s experience alerted me to how much we need to do to improve the medical care of women.”
Foreman, who earned master’s degrees from Yale School of Music (’83) and Yale School of Management (’89), had attended several of WHRY’s events in New York and decided to make the most out of a whole life insurance policy she owns.
“I give small gifts to causes that I care about, but I have not been in a financial position to give a gift of any major substance,” Foreman said. “I think it’s cool that now I’m a philanthropist.”
Just as she was inspired by her mother’s lifetime of giving, Foreman hopes to inspire others who may have limited means to consider naming WHRY as a beneficiary of an insurance policy or the remainder of a retirement fund.
“This is exciting,” she said. “With this designation, I can make a real difference.”