Personal Giving Stories
Pauline "Polly" Roesch, a former secretary, singer, gardener and civic leader in Springfield, firmly believes that those more privileged than others are blessed if they give back to their communities. Springfield's younger citizens are usually the beneficiaries of the 97-year-old Roesch's largesse.
"I've always felt that if I can help develop the talents of the future—those young people who will be our leaders of tomorrow—I will have really accomplished something here on earth," said Polly.
To that end, Polly has generously supported students at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Most recently, she established a charitable gift annuity (CGA) that will fund the Polly Roesch Music Scholarships and the Polly Roesch Endowed Music Fund.
Scholarships will be for students who participate in music groups and programs, with preference for voice students in music majors. The Music Fund will support sheet music, purchase and maintenance of instruments and other enhancements of the music program at UIS.
Earlier, Polly made a generous gift to establish the Walter and Polly Roesch Scholarship Fund to benefit undergraduate students in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the Urbana-Champaign campus. Awards, made annually based on financial need and good academic standing, have assisted several Springfield-area students.
Polly, who served on the former Sangamon State University Board more than 27 years ago, has also provided funding to place a dome on the UIS observatory at Clayville, a tribute to her father who loved astronomy.
Her husband, Walter Roesch, died in 1977, 42 years after he married the former Polly Wenneborg. He was a successful businessman who shared his wife's commitment to giving. Nonetheless, as financially comfortable as he left her, she is the investing mastermind behind the gifts.
The immediate tax savings and guaranteed high level of lifetime income Polly will receive from her CGA certainly met her high standards.
"I work very diligently on my investments and am proud of what they earn," she said. "I am just as happy to be able to donate it to worthy projects."
When asked what motivates her philanthropy, she is quick to respond: "Happiness is helping others."
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