Donor Stories

Supporting the Future

Sandy MorrisonSandy Morrison had loved coming to Omega for many years. Then in the course of a single year, she lost her job, was diagnosed with breast cancer, and her father passed away suddenly. If ever Sandy needed Omega in her life, it was then. Through the generosity of scholarship support, Sandy returned to Omega in 2014 to find the healing, respite, and rejuvenation she needed. Her Omega experience, she says, was so helpful and important during a particularly challenging point in her life.

Because Omega was there for her when she needed it most, Sandy wants to ensure Omega will be there for others. When she received an unexpected inheritance, she contacted Omega to learn more about giving. It was easier than she thought. With guidance from her attorney and a few conversations with our development department, Sandy named Omega as a beneficiary of her estate. Through the Morrison Family Scholarship Fund, Sandy will touch the future and help others access Omega when they too need it most.

By making a testamentary gift, Sandy joined a number of others in The Sanctuary Circle, which recognizes and celebrates those who have chosen to support Omega by creating a lasting legacy in their will or other gift-planning vehicle. Members of The Sanctuary Circle help shape Omega’s future and inspire others to join in “awakening the best in the human spirit” through their generous planning and support.

If you would like information on how to make your own planned gift to Omega, please contact development director Veronica Fitzgerald at or call 845.266.4444, ext. 402. If you have already named Omega in your bequest plans, please contact us so we can celebrate and recognize you for making such a heartfelt gift.

Speaking of the Future

Saskia ShakinSaskia Shakin, a professional public speaking coach, author of More Than Words Can Say: The Making of Inspired Speakers, and long-term Omega participant, understands well the value of effective communication. Saskia’s desire to share those skills with others helped lead her to an important and personal decision about her own philanthropy and the impact it will allow her to have on future generations of Omega participants.

“I had attended several of Omega’s Women & Power conferences, and was trying to figure out how I could support them. I realized I had more time and talent than I did spare cash; so I decided to offer my services as a public speaking coach.

“I wasn’t sure if they would like the idea, but it was greeted with such enthusiasm that I was glad I had overcome my shyness. It was the perfect win/win situation. I learned from those I coached, and they learned from the 30+ years of Leadership coaching I had done in the corporate arena. And I was thrilled that my company received recognition as a corporate sponsor.

“But Omega is addictive! Giving of my time was no longer enough. As I got to know the leaders taking Omega into the next century, I wanted to make sure my support would be there over the long haul. So I arranged for my estate to make a donation that would help Omega’s dreams and vision come true, knowing that my gift would benefit so many. It reminded me of the Japanese saying, ‘Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime.’ My variation: ‘Leave a donation to a person, and you help them out; leave a donation to Omega, and you help change the world.’

Gift Planning in Support of Veterans

Sarah Howard’s career in higher education has spanned roles such as dean of students and vice chancellor of student affairs information technology. In each of those roles, she valued helping others to grow as one of her highest priorities.

Recently retired, Sarah is studying to become a certified spiritual coach so she can continue to make a difference in the lives of others. Planning for her retirement provided Sarah with another opportunity for helping. When an adviser suggested she could make philanthropy part of her financial planning, Sarah reached out to Omega to discuss how her gift could have significant impact.

“I wanted to do something to help our veterans who are struggling with serious issues,” said Sarah, who has long respected the sacrifices of military women and men. As a counselor herself, Sarah sees the tremendous value of the holistic approach of Omega’s Veterans, Trauma, and Resilience programs.

Upon discussing her intention with Omega’s development staff, Sarah named Omega as a beneficiary of her estate. “Omega’s approach to helping veterans heal is something I believe in. It’s rewarding to me to know I am supporting this important work,” she said.


Contact Us

If you would like information on how to make your own planned gift to Omega, please contact Development Director Veronica Fitzgerald at If you have already named Omega in your bequest plans, please contact us so we can celebrate and recognize you for making such a heartfelt gift.

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