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Gifts to Remember

Article Type: Life Stories

More than most, Bill and Barb Venema have endured painful tragedies over their 64 years of marriage. On March 3, 1965, their five-year old son, Timothy, was struck and killed by a car while on his way to school. Eleven years later, on November 21, 1976, their daughter, Julie, died of leukemia at age 10.

Over time, the pain from these losses diminishes; however, their memory never does. So the Venemas keep the memories of Timothy and Julie alive in meaningful and powerful ways. 

One of the ways Bill and Barb honor their children is through memorial scholarships at the school where Timothy and Julie were students. The scholarships are named after each child, and they annually benefit families with financial needs.

“If an organization has great value to you, then a gift means it will continue to have value for others,” reflects Barb.

The Venemas have also made gifts in their wills to six other Christian schools. These include schools attended by Bill and Barb, as well as their children and grandchildren. 

"From my grandparents through my parents, it was very important that we knew the Lord and that we have a Christian education, no matter the cost," says Barb. 

Bill and Barb have also remembered the hospital where Julie was treated for leukemia with a gift in their will. The year after Julie died, Barb began volunteering there, and since then, she’s logged over 12,000 hours of service!

The Venemas also regularly express their unyielding faith and commitment to generosity through planned gifts to a variety of ministries close to their hearts.

For decades, they have used their Stewards Fund, a donor advised fund through Barnabas Foundation, to provide steady, generous support to dozens of ministries ranging from mental health and family services to world missions.

Extending this legacy of generosity, Bill and Barb have set up Stewards Fund accounts for their other children, Doug and Amy, to give to the ministries that matter most to them.

“No matter the cause,” says Bill, “we want to increase the impact of the missions we support.” Despite experiencing deep grief and loss, the Venemas reflect the abundance of God’s blessing through lives of service and generosity.

To learn more about gifts in a will and other giving options, contact Barnabas Foundation at 1.888.448.3040 or info@BarnabasFoundation.com.