May 26, 2005

Dr. Grace Brody Sustains her Life's Work

When one is passionate about what she does, no obstacle is too great to overcome.

When Grace Brody, an emerita professor at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, was widowed at 26, she had a ten-month-old child, no job, no insurance, no parents, and no college education. Through faith, determination, and a passion for social work, she earned three degrees, moved through two careers, and taught generations of students.

Now, through a combination of an outright gift and a charitable gift annuity, Grace Brody has provided for an endowed professorship in Parent-Child Studies at the Mandel School. The relationship between parent and child has been her life-long area of interest; one which she describes as "the most fundamental in our society." By using a planned gift vehicle, in combination with a cash gift, Grace was able to receive a guaranteed stream of income for life, while at the same time see her gift at work today.

Sit and talk with her for a while and you will feel that you are in the presence of someone whose teaching has shaped history, defining and exploring this "most fundamental" topic, the relationship between a parent and a child, in a manner that has made a significant contribution to academic leadership in contemporary social science.

Previously, Dr. Brody was inspired by her concern for society to make a gift to the Mandel School that established The Grace Brody Institute for Parent-Child Studies. Now, her generosity will ensure a professorship—one of very few in the country—focused on parent-child relationships. Her personal and career connections to this topic are understandable and filled with passion.

It is one thing to believe that this field has enormous potential to affect a sea of change in our culture. It is quite another to imagine how this teacher, a petite, single woman, was able to accomplish such a generous gift. She giggles when asked how she did it. "Yes," she says, "my colleagues asked that too. Friends were quite surprised." Then, taking on a more serious demeanor, she makes a sweeping gesture over herself and says, "Well, I just did," but the clear implication is that it was her passion that motivated her. Dr. Brody filled her life with learning and teaching. Her travels were to lead students to places that would enlighten them.

Dr. Brody always maintained a profound sense that life is knitted together from those all-important relationships of parents and children. And now, because of the way she sees her own place in the world, her act of conscious generosity will give new and lasting purpose to the field of study she cares so much about.

Posted by: Amy Raufman May 26, 2005 01:31 PM | Category: Endowment , Faculty Support , Gift Annuities , Individuals , Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences , Planned Gifts , Priorities , Schools , Source