Skip to main content Skip to accessibility controls

Making a Difference in Life, Work, & Legacy

When Elizabeth C. “Betty” Grant retired in 2005 from the executive search firm she cofounded, O’Leary & Grant, she sought a great deal more than relaxation. She studied Spanish, got certified as an English as a Second Language teacher, and spent three months in Argentina. Upon returning home she began to teach English to immigrant communities in the Twin Cities.

Betty also began volunteering to assist the Latinx community. When Casa Esperanza (now Esperanza United) announced it would close the Minneapolis center where she volunteered, Betty and another volunteer decided to run it themselves and created Amigos del Mercado. “A big hole exists in the services various agencies provide. We help fill that gap,” she explains.

“Many challenges arise for immigrants who don’t know English well or know how to use the Internet. Imagine getting a stack of mail each day and not being able to tell what is junk and what is crucial. We help Latinx parents correspond with their children’s teachers. We help them navigate the health care system or the IRS, assist with online job applications, and refer them to services that are available.”

Her commitment to helping women and children runs deep. That same desire to help women who haven’t had the advantages she has enjoyed prompted Betty’s gifts of time and money over three decades to the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota.

When Betty first heard about the WFMN, a part of the Minneapolis Foundation at the time, she says: “I was intrigued by the focus on women and girls, and on working upstream to bring about systemic change. I called to ask how I could help. Initially, I served on a marketing committee and later served on the board (1992-1998).”

Betty recently created a sizeable legacy gift for the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota. Fifteen years earlier she established a will bequest for WFMN. After reviewing her estate plan recently, she decided that giving charitable gifts from her IRA made more sense tax-wise.

“After my lifetime,” Betty says, “I want some assets to go to family members, some to go to my longtime partner Bill, if he survives me, and some to go back to the community including WFMN.”

If loved ones inherit an IRA, they must pay income tax on the money distributed to them. Sometimes these distributions push the individuals into higher income tax brackets. IRAs, therefore, can be among the most highly taxed assets that individual beneficiaries may inherit. Betty chose to bequeath other assets to loved ones while utilizing her IRA for charitable giving.

She split her legacy gift to WFMN evenly between general operating support and the endowment. Betty explains: “I want to help with current needs. I equally want to expand the endowment to provide sustainability over the years.” The endowment is invested in perpetuity with the board setting a certain percentage of the market value to be spent annually.

Betty was raised in Rocky Mount, N.C., and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. “I majored in mathematics, which served me well in my career.”

She initially worked for the Hartford Insurance Group, later, Unisys and then for Cullinet, a Boston-based software company, opening a company office in Minneapolis. After leaving software sales, she cofounded and ran the executive search firm, O’Leary and Grant, with Patti O’Leary. Now, in addition to volunteering, she works part-time with Navigate Forward, coaching executives in a job transition. “This is my encore career,” she says. “I feel really lucky that I’m using my skills and expertise to help people.”

Through various career changes, she has remained focused on WFMN. She has helped promote donor-partner events, striving to reach an ever-expanding group of supporters. “Women with financial capacity are benefitting from a more equitable world, and we have an obligation to make the world better still for other women and girls.”

“WFMN is taking a stand on reproductive health and rights,” she says. “These rights are under tremendous pressure in our country today, and this is a really important issue for women. I’m glad to see WFMN involved.”

“I want women to have an equitable shot in earning income, finding opportunity, accessing health care, and being safe in their homes and communities. An estate plan gift for WFMN helps me make a difference for a cause I care about.”

Learn More

Find out how a gift from your IRA can help end systemic inequities and drive innovation for gender and racial justice for generations to come. Contact Lizzie King at 612-236-1832 and to learn more.

Explore Related Posts

Sign up for our newsletter!

Sign up and stay informed as our key partner to ensure safety, economic justice, well-being, and leadership for all women, girls, and gender-expansive people in Minnesota.