Dawn Dridan Radtke is remembered by family and friends for her generous giving and for helping those in need. Originally from Tasmania, Australia, Dawn moved to the United States in 1955. Her family said that “Dawn epitomized one’s generosity of spirit, as she represented the true and Good Samaritan.” Throughout her life she lived this truth. With the help of the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF), she was able to make her gifts felt across the Church.
Dawn had a great number of interests and talents. Her varied career included time in education, psychological counseling, social work and work as a freelance travel agent. She had a great love of music and was an accomplished harpist. She and her best friend, Ruth Morrison, authored 2 books and many papers centered on their work as therapists. Over the years, she received numerous awards and acknowledgements for her community service, social work and counseling.
Dawn was already well into her philanthropic years when her relationship with ECF began in 2001. Although she possessed a very generous spirit, Dawn also had a keen financial sense that she used to support her charitable giving. As she accumulated assets through shrewd investing, she began to look for ways to support herself as well as the many Episcopal entities and other charities that she held dearly. Through conversations about life income gifts with representatives at ECF, Dawn discovered that there were various ways for her to support herself with a steady stream of income while ultimately leaving gifts to her beloved charities. In particular, a charitable gift annuity was the perfect vehicle for her. Charitable gift annuities allow a person to establish a contract that provides him or her with a recurring (annually, quarterly or monthly) payout while providing a charity with the residual value of the gift (typically 50% of the original gift amount).
Dawn’s love of music led her to make some memorable gifts. When St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Fairhope, Alabama (her home parish) was being built in the mid-1990s, there weren’t enough funds in the construction budget for a pipe organ. Instead, the parish was going to have to settle for a piano or electronic organ. The musician in Dawn could not fathom a newly constructed church without a traditional pipe organ and so she took it upon herself to make sure they could have a pipe organ. She found a clearinghouse for reconditioned pipe organs, purchased one and had it installed in the new church. Her gift of the organ and its installation was the largest gift in the capital campaign that financed St. Paul’s new facility.
Dawn’s giving spirit extended beyond the walls of St. Paul’s when she helped another parish raise funds for an organ by establishing a fund and directing her clients make donations to the fund in lieu of paying her for her services. Dawn’s generosity and determination to achieve her goals set her apart.
Dawn Dridan Radtke had a firm grip on the power of using life income gifts to assist Episcopal entities further their missions. Life income gifts are a great solution for people who desire a steady source of income for the duration of their lives, while also providing a legacy for charity. This type of planned giving helps people meet their philanthropic goals and financial security needs. For those interested in more information for life income gifts, and other types of planned gifts, ECF can help. ECF has provided planned giving services to the Episcopal Church since 1995. ECF has distributed more than $23 million in planned gifts to Episcopal dioceses, congregations, and organizations nationwide, and manages over $40 million in charitable gifts.
The ultimate legacy of Dawn’s generosity was over twenty-five gifts to numerous organizations and parishes around the United States and Australia. Dawn’s family summed up her life best when they said, “She lived by the moto ‘that we come into this world with empty hands and leave it that way as well.’ However, along the journey Dawn encouraged us all to use the Lord’s gifts and graciousness to generously provide for others and embrace love and good will.”