Diocese of California distributes over $1.7 million from Liza Colton Trust

On Tuesday, July 15, Amanda Kiernan, planned giving officer for the Diocese of California, distributed checks totaling over $1.7 million dollars to eight San Francisco Bay Area organizations. These checks were dispersals from Liza Colton’s trust. Colton was a life-long Episcopalian and died on May 19, 2014. Her obituary is available here

Representatives from the eight organizations named — Grace Cathedral, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Kiva Micro Funds, Hospice by the Bay, The Sierra Club Foundation, San Francisco Botanical Gardens, The Nature Conservancy, and the ACLU  — gathered in the bishop’s office for wine and hors d’oeuvres at 7 p.m. Their first half hour together was spent getting to know one another. For the most part, Liza Colton was the only personal thread they had in common.

Before checks were presented, the organizational representatives were invited to share a memory of Liza if they knew her personally or how they might use the funds. Stories ranged from Liza’s perpetual presence and giving of her time to her spirit of welcome and hospitality, as well as her big personality. Plans for the gifts included appreciation for helping organizations run to funding services for those who are in desperate need of having their human dignity recognized.

Before the event J. Davey Gerhard, director of development for the Diocese of California said, “Liza Colton was a great friend and supporter of the ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of California, Grace Cathedral, and social causes in the Bay Area. Shaped by her deep faith and guided by love for her community, Liza’s legacy will be felt by these organizations dedicated to improving the life of individuals and to the stewardship of our public spaces and the environment.”
 
The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, added, “Liza continues in the great tradition of her mother, Liz Colton, and indeed her whole family, in supporting her church and her community. Liza was what our church says God loves, which is a cheerful giver. She was a tremendous amount of fun, had an incisive mind, and a generous heart. I personally miss her, but I am grateful that these organizations will find their missions furthered by her significant gifts. In this way her values and spirit live on.”

Bishop Andrus was unable to attend the event at the last minute, but the Rev. Canon Stefani Schatz spoke on his behalf. Schatz said, “This gathering, as these new relationships are formed, is an example of something we in the Diocese of California strive for: collaboration. Each of you has gifts that you bring to the world, and some of you share volunteers. We hope that you’ll be able to share more having met one another as you give thanks for Liza’s ongoing gifts to you.”

A celebration of Liza’s life was held July 12, at St. Mark’s Cathedral, Salt Lake City, and on Saturday, July 19, at St. James, San Francisco.