St. Mary the Virgin, San Francisco, given Margaret Wosser Award

St. Mary the Virgin, San Francisco, received the Margaret Wosser Award at the 165th Convention of the Diocese of California on October 18, 2014. Each year at diocesan convention, the Planned Giving Department awards the Margaret Wosser Award to an individual or parish who has demonstrated exemplary efforts in promoting estate planning and legacy gifts within their congregation.

The Margaret Wosser Award is named after a San Francisco woman who left over one million dollars to the Diocese of California in her estate for outreach programs to the homeless and AIDS communities. Ms. Wosser was a neighborhood staple in the Castro District where she owned and operated a community laundromat, which she personally operated every day for over thirty years. Ms. Wosser was known for two things: her frugality with quarters and her love for her only son. Unfortunately, her son was diagnosed with AIDS in the 1980s and subsequently died from the disease several years later. However, Ms. Wosser was eternally grateful to The Episcopal Church for the love, care, and support shown to her son during his last years. In memory, she bequeathed the laundromat building to the Diocese of California so the proceeds of the sale could support the church’s outreach ministry.

Over the past two years, St. Mary the Virgin has undertaken a vigorous revival effort of their congregational legacy society. They have hosted two thank you events to recognize and honor those within their congregation who have remembered St. Mary the Virgin in their will or estate plan. The St. Mary’s Legacy Society has produced technical seminars on the legal and financial implications of end of life planning, as well as hosted philanthropic experts to discuss the importance of multigenerational philanthropy. The seminars are accompanied by written articles distributed in the parish newsletter and printed brochures in the parish hall to increase information and awareness among the congregation. St. Mary the Virgin embodies the values of the Margaret Wosser Award through their efforts to give special recognition and honor to parishioners who chose to give in this meaningful way.

To honor Ms. Wosser’s wonderful bequest, the Diocese of California recognizes St. Mary the Virgin as the recipient of the 2014 Margaret Wosser Award for their meaningful and important work in the field of legacy planning and estate gifts to the church.