Creating a Lasting Legacy

A philanthropic gift makes an incredible impact in the fight against food insecurity in Central Iowa.

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In Her Own Words

A note from Suzie Glazer Burt

My life has been made joyful by giving. And if by sharing my own story of joyful philanthropy I can help influence others, I will have done something that means a great deal to me.

I grew up with a family in which philanthropy was a core value. My great-grandfather, Jacob Levitt, came to the United States from Lithuania in 1884. He was a peddler here for 13 years before he started the State Loan Finance Co. in Des Moines. His mission was to ensure that working-class people had access to credit. By the time my grandfather Ellis Levitt joined the company in the early 1900s, the organization had added an office in Kansas City. Ellis created the first direct-mail marketing program for any lending institution. His work ethic and integrity resulted in many loyal customers, and the business continued to grow, even during the Great Depression. In 1980, State Loan Finance became Dial Finance and grew to include more than 500 branches nationwide.

The example of these ancestors and their dedication to community service continues to inspire me. But my mom, Maddie Levitt, was my mentor and my greatest role model. She taught me the two most valuable lessons I have learned in my life: First, there’s no fun like work. Second, the greatest responsibility and the greatest gift any of us have is to leave our community a better place than we found it. My mom demonstrated that through her own philanthropic endeavors and the joy she found in sharing blessings with others. I have tried to emulate her through my service to Drake University; the Boys and Girls Club; and now WesleyLife Meals on Wheels.

Thanks to my mother, I understand that it’s important for all of us to return more in our lifetimes than we have taken or been given. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve, and my dearest wish is that my work will bless others.

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