Adding a sense of purpose to life

Scot and Jessica Eisenfelder

Scot and Jessica Eisenfelder

Scot and Jessica Eisenfelder

Scot and Jessica Eisenfelder are sure of one thing: Their legacy is giving to others. "We have our health and we're reasonably well off," says Scot, senior vice-president for strategy at AutoNation. "There's nothing I could buy that will provide the equivalent joy that I get from helping other human beings."

The Florida couple always knew that philanthropy would be an important part of their lives. "We found ourselves writing a lot of small checks," Scot says. But they wanted their giving to have more impact. "I want to invest in making people's lives better," Scot says. The couple heard former first lady Barbara Bush talking about Americares. "We did some research and we saw a confluence of values with Americares—it's about raising human dignity, providing hope and creating a foundation of health so people can be more successful," Scot says. "And it's so professionally run. It's off the charts in terms of efficiency."

Jessica and Scot's affinity for Americares deepened when they went on the 2011 airlift to the Dominican Republic. "It made the work tangible," says Scot. The couple was especially struck by a hemophiliac clinic they visited, to which Americares donates the expensive and essential blood clotting factor that prevents the boys from experiencing dangerous bleeding after a bruise or minor cut. "I realized that without Americares, the boys would have no hope," he says. "There is no other clinic for them in the DR. As a parent, the thought of not being able to care for your child—it took my breath away."

The trip also solidified their belief that Americares was doing the most good with their donations. "The organization just exudes confidence," Scot says. "I think, as a donor, you always worry about that a bit—'What really happens?'"

Confident and aligned with the purpose of the organization, the Eisenfelders have included Americares in their estate plans. "Americares has an ability to get things done that's really impressive," says Scot. Just as important, the couple has also formed a family foundation so their two children can continue to donate to charities throughout their lifetimes. Says Scot, "The greatest gift is the ability to give."

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