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Family Values

A couple’s dedication to philanthropy is embraced by their daughter.

BY SHARI ROAN
In January 2021, only weeks before a vaccine for COVID-19 became available in the U.S., Robert Fox, 92, and his wife, Valerie, 87, fell ill with the virus. The Pacific Palisades couple, lifelong Los Angeles residents, struggled with their symptoms at home before being admitted to the hospital. They died within days of each other.The couple’s daughter, Lorraine Fox, was stunned and devastated by the sudden passing of her beloved parents. But in the months that followed, she found solace in carrying out her parents’ final wishes. That includes remembering Providence Saint John’s Health Center in her estate plans.Robert and Valerie had often expressed appreciation for the care they received at Saint John’s over the years. They had meetings with Andy Trilling, vice president of principal gifts at Saint John’s Health Center Foundation, to discuss a gift to Saint John’s in their estate plans. However, the couple died before they could complete the paperwork, Lorraine says. “My dad had several meetings with Andy and Foundation CEO Bob Klein,” Lorraine recalls. “He fully intended to make this gift, but he never signed the paperwork. I just wanted to do everything I could to honor my parents’ wishes. It’s what they would have wanted.”Robert and Valerie approached life by asking how they could do good in the world. They set up their estate and pursued meaningful philanthropy. Lorraine, who holds an MBA and is a partner with Aspiriant, a wealth management firm based in Los Angeles, helped her parents structure their estate.In recent years, however, Robert and Valerie expressed a desire to include Saint John’s in their plans after experiencing care for a variety of ailments.“My parents were very philanthropic-minded,” says Lorraine, who lives in Palo Alto. “They thought a lot about the fact that money should have a purpose. They were very intentional about their gifts—the institutions to which they left money. So that is why they were very committed to doing something for Saint John’s to pay it forward. They both felt they wanted to give back after receiving such good care at Saint John’s.”Lorraine’s estate gift will be directed toward the Saint John’s Cancer Institute. Her parents grew to admire the work of the institute and saw promise in its research, clinical trials and state-of-the-art treatments. Estate gifts are an ideal way to leave a legacy in one’s hometown or community.

It’s not a document you do once and put on a shelf,” she says. “It should be considered a living document and reviewed periodically with an estate planning attorney. There should be an open conversation in the family about what is the purpose of money. My parents did that.” “We are moved by Lorraine’s decision to leave a gift to Saint John’s in her parents’ honor,” Trilling says. “We were heartbroken by Mr. and Mrs. Fox’s passing, yet their philanthropic legacy will endure through the impact of this visionary gift. We are most grateful to Lorraine and the Fox family. ”Lorraine says she takes comfort in knowing she will complete what her parents started but were unable to finish. In doing so, she honors the way they lived. “One reason I wanted to follow through on this gift is my parents were two of the most loving and magnanimous people I’ve ever met,” she says. “I’m so fortunate to be their daughter.”