Growing up in India, Liz Moldt remembers one Christmas when her family, instead of giving presents to one another, gave money to a local nonprofit. The incident had a profound impact on her.
“I was blessed to have parents who taught me the importance of giving and who provided a great foundation for me to have a good life,” she says.
Liz went on to channel that passion for helping others into the profession of teaching for 15 years. She would also serve as activity director at a nursing home, which would foster her love for the senior community and their unique needs.
Henry Moldt dedicated more than 30 years of his professional life to Delta Air Lines. After retiring in 1995, he didn’t sit for too long. Instead, he found himself in a second career at the DeKalb County school system, driving a school bus for 13 years for kids with special needs. This experience would later connect him to the DeKalb County Special Olympics where he has been volunteering for the past 10 years.
In 2007 Liz and Henry established a donor-advised fund at The Community Foundation to better structure and focus their personal philanthropy. One of the signi- ficant gifts the Moldts have made through their fund has been to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where Liz had been volunteering for some time. Today both Liz and Henry volunteer at the hospital – she working in the gift and coffee shops and he focused on patient advocacy. For the Moldts, this volunteerism has allowed them to know first-hand the organization that they have generously supported financially.
Their financial gifts to Mercy Care Services of St. Joseph’s Hospital have allowed the organization to expand its campus, providing additional patient examination rooms and medical services–helping improve the organization’s ability to ultimately serve more of metro Atlanta’s homeless population.
“When we found out about Mercy Care and their work with the homeless, it became really important for us to help them out. The joy we get from giving, the sense of fulfillment through volunteering and giving financially, makes me grateful to be able to help others through philanthropy,” says Liz. “I realize there are so many out there struggling to make it day to day, and if I can do even just a little to make someone’s day brighter, I will.”
Making days brighter is second nature to Liz. Three days a week, she visits Fountainview Center for Alzheimer’s disease where she spends time with a 93-year-old woman nearing the end of her life.
“So we spend evenings together. I’ll help the staff feed her, read her books and poetry, play music, stroke her forehead and just let her know someone cares. And each night we call her husband and I put the phone against her ear to his voice. She rarely opens her eyes but she’ll smile every once in a while. You can see in her facial expression that she recognizes his voice,” says Liz. “Anything I can do to help, I want to do. I just hope someone would take care of me if I was in that same position.”
Liz has a hard time explaining her motivation for giving. Perhaps it is because giving is so ingrained in who she is. While she has lived in Atlanta for 35 years, she admits she didn’t have a real sense of the needs of local nonprofits and their work to improve quality of life. Over the years, she and Henry have worked with their philanthropic advisor at The Community Foundation to explore areas of interest including health, animal welfare, literacy and education.
“We don’t always give large gifts like we do to St. Joseph’s. But I think even the smallest amount can be used to make a difference. No, you can’t save the world but you can make a mark. One person who gets a meal; one animal that gets a home; one person who goes into Mercy Care for treatment and comes off drugs – these small differences all add up to something big.”