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April 22, 2011 > Local shelter receives large legacy

Local shelter receives large legacy

Submitted By Melody Appleton

The Family Emergency Shelter Coalition (FESCO) announced Monday that it received a surprise bequest of $25,669 from Gertrude "Trude" Bloomfield Campe, a former resident of San Leandro, California.

Ms. Campe was born on November 27, 1920 in the Whitechapel District of London, England. As a young girl she spent time in an orphanage with her younger brother and sister when her mother died and her father was unable to care for the children. Mrs. Campe immigrated to Canada in the early 1950s, where she worked as a nanny.

In 1955, along with a few friends, Ms. Campe traveled to San Francisco where she decided to make her home. During her lifetime, Ms. Campo started over several times with no more than she could carry in a few suitcases. During these periods she was helped by various social agencies and would eventually work for the Salvation Army in San Francisco and East Bay communities. Ms. Campe lived in San Leandro with her husband from 1993 through 2001.

Ms. Campe frequently talked about individuals and agencies that had helped her throughout her life. She set up a living trust and lived frugally so that her estate could be distributed to organizations that help others, locally, nationally and internationally. Her estate reached close to $400,000, said Robert Olsen, Trustee of Ms. Campe's estate.

"This bequest from Ms. Campe highlights the impact that people of modest means can have through charitable planned giving," said FESCO executive director Cate Steane. "Estate gifts from a donor of modest means, like Ms. Campe, can have a huge impact on an organization of FESCO's size, ensuring that we can continue our work to end family homelessness until the job is done."

The need in social services agencies such as FESCO continues as government funding resources dwindle. Two-thirds of FESCO residents are children; 46 percent of these children are five years old or younger. Still, on any given night there are over 1,000 homeless children in Alameda County.

FESCO has in-house estate planning expertise usually found at universities and hospitals. Supporters can learn for free about estate planning options that can help their favorite charities, and be well informed when meeting with their attorneys to make plans for their estates. More information on planned giving is available on FESCO's website,

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