One Christmas, almost twenty years ago, the Walsh family discussed making donations to charity in lieu of a gift exchange. What resulted is a series of legacy gifts to The READ Center that have helped hundreds of adults improve their literacy skills over the years.

“Literacy has always been important to my family. My parents encouraged me to read as a child, a passion that continues today. It’s a skill that I took for granted,” said Mike Walsh. Walsh is a past Treasurer and Board President of READ, and serves on the Marketing and Development Committee today.

After Mike’s father passed away several years ago, the family established the Edward F. Walsh Memorial fund to honor his memory. It was seeded with $500 in 1999.

“The primary purpose of the fund was to provide a financial foundation to ensure the long-term health and vitality of READ,” says Mike.

Helen Walsh, Mike Walsh’s mother, was also inspired by READ’s mission and attended READ events. When it came time to do some estate planning of her own, she identified a few organizations she wanted to support, READ among them. After Helen passed away, a $100,000 bequest was made to READ from her estate. The fund was renamed the Helen Walsh & Edward F. Walsh Memorial Fund in 2007.

Though READ is eligible to use a portion of the fund’s investment for operations, 50 percent of the annual revenue is reinvested in the fund each year, and the fund is growing. Its current value is more than $162,000. “I plan to set aside my own bequest as I put my own estate plan together,” Mike says.

Revenue from the fund has been used to provide teacher salaries, train tutors, purchase books and curriculum materials – all the things READ needs to help adults improve their literacy skills. A steady source of funds provides stability for READ programs and a foundation to plan for the future.

Mike hopes the fund will continue to grow. “My mom and I envisioned the fund as a leadership gift, to set an example,” Mike says. “More supporters including The READ Center in their estate planning would be transformative for the organization. Sometimes bad things happen. A strong endowment ensures that READ’s programs will carry on.”

The READ Center thanks Mike Walsh and his family for their generous support of The READ Center through the Walsh Memorial Fund.

If estate planning is one of your new year’s resolutions, please consider making a bequest to The READ Center. Bequests can provide READ with funding for programs and operational support. If you’ve already named The READ Center in your will or trust, let us know! We hope that in the years to come, adult literacy services will be obsolete. Your support brings us closer to that reality.


Making a donation to The READ Center through a planned gift is a great way to create a legacy of learning for adults in our community. Learn more about joining The READ Center Legacy Society. 

This article is featured in the latest edition of our Report Card newsletter. You can view and download the newsletter here. 

Pictured above: Mike Walsh and fellow winners of the 2014 Spelling Bee. Walsh and his employer, Union Bank, have sponsored READ’s annual event, now a Trivia Bee.