Article News from the Institute for the Local Government Jerry Patterson

How to Leave Your Legacy as a Champion of Good Local Government

Jerry Patterson is a past president of the Institute for Local Government and the 2005 recipient of the League’s Presidents’ Award for longstanding service to California cities. He is a former member of Congress and former mayor of the City of Santa Ana. Patterson presently serves on the Coast Community College District Board of Trustees.

As you work in the trenches of day-to-day service to your community, you may have wondered: How can I ensure that my efforts have a lasting impact? Are there ways I can help to provide a foundation for continued good local government? How will I be remembered by my community, my colleagues in public service and my family? What will my legacy be? 

Endowment Fund Created

The answer was to create an endowment fund, the goal of which is to provide guaranteed support for ILG’s future work. That work program includes ILG’s current focus on public service ethics, sound land use planning practices, civic engagement and fiscal stewardship. Founded in 1955, ILG’s mission is to develop forward-thinking resources to assist local officials in their service to California’s communities.

As with all nonprofits, ILG strives to have diverse and stable sources of funding for the long term. We have been fortunate in attracting short-term foundation and private sector support for a number of our efforts. And local agencies’ support in publications purchases, training and other contract consulting arrangements has been vital to balancing our budget on a yearly basis.

ILG’s endowment, or Legacy Fund, was created for long-term financial stability. Contributing to the endowment is a tax-deductible way that individuals can underscore their ongoing commitment to good government at the local level. As with most endowments, the goal is to create a fund that will produce interest earning to support ILG’s core operations in perpetuity.

Ways to Help

There are several ways that individuals can help. The simplest, of course, is a personal donation. Checks should be made payable to Institute for Local Government Legacy Fund and mailed to the Institute of Local Government, 1400 K Street, Suite 400, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Elected officials may make a contribution from campaign funds. This is especially beneficial for retiring public officials who have surplus funds. Naming ILG’s Legacy Fund in a will, charitable remainder trust or other planned giving document is another method. Other ways include making contributions to honor retiring public servants or in memory of their services upon their passing.

To demonstrate their strong support of ILG’s work, the members of its board of directors have made personal financial commitments to the Legacy Fund.

Those who contribute to ILG’s endowment receive ongoing recognition through the ILG website ( Other forms of recognition are also available. The ILG board welcomes all input on how major gifts can receive additional recognition.

This article appears in the May 2006 issue of Western City
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