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Nov./Dec. response: A Legacy of Love Began with a Mug

One member’s story of joining the 1869 Society.

by Cecilia Malm

It began with a mug … Claudia Davis had recently moved to Billings, Montana, with her husband and children and was looking to connect with people in her new community.

“I got a phone call inviting me to attend a Christmas party,” she recalls. “It was a mug exchange. And, it turns out, also a meeting of the local United Methodist Women unit.”

Claudia Davis

As the unit leaders gave a report on the national and international impact of the organization and described missional work all over the globe, Davis says, “I thought to myself, I want to belong to an organization like this that is making a real difference.”

In Billings, and later after moving to Helena, Davis became increasingly involved with the organization and the Mountain Sky Conference, taking on leadership roles as unit treasurer, district treasurer, and communications officer. “Many of the women in my circle have become lifelong friends,” she adds.

When she heard about the launch of The Legacy Endowment Fund, she was supportive from the start. 

“I had worked with nonprofits, and I knew from those experiences how important having an endowment is to an organization,” she says. “I understood right away how the interest generated by The Legacy Endowment Fund could help underwrite administrative costs so that more money could go directly into mission.”

As Davis and her husband sat down to create their wills, “we decided that a percentage of what remained of our estates would go to The Legacy Endowment Fund of United Women in Faith. It was an easy decision, since the organization has been such a big part of my life and I want it to continue to have an impact for many years to come.” 

She filled out a simple Letter of Intent indicating the type of gift (a will bequest), the percentage of her estate she plans to leave to the organization, and the estimated value of the gift. 

“While it is not required to include the estimated amount of the gift for a will bequest,” explains Christi Campos, executive for Development and Donor Relations with United Women in Faith, who advises many members on estate planning, “doing so enables United Women in Faith to count the pledge toward The Legacy Endowment Fund campaign, which helps move us closer to the goal of raising $60 Million.”

By making a planned gift, Davis automatically became a member of United Women in Faith’s 1869 Society. Members of the 1869 Society receive special recognition from the organization, invitations to events, and a monthly newsletter with additional financial planning information.

These days Davis can reflect over a mug of coffee or tea on her decision to include United Women in Faith in her estate plans and say, “It makes me incredibly happy to be a part of something that I know can do so much for the world.” 

CECILIA MALM is director of Development for United Women in Faith. For more information about the 1869 Society and making a planned gift or other type of gift to The Legacy Endowment Fund, visit: or contact the Development Office at

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