Early in their marriage, Jacquelyn Pogue and her late husband, Bob, established a joint philanthropic fund. Although they came from different professional backgrounds—she as a psychotherapist and organizational consultant and he as an insurance executive—they shared a desire to help create a more compassionate, sustainable, just, and spiritually awakened world.
"The word philanthropy comes from Greek, meaning affection or love for humanity," Jacquelyn notes. "Charity, to me, is a response to an immediate, urgent need. Philanthropy is the thoughtful implementation of our highest vision. How we give should be a reflection of our values, a way to shape the world as we wish it to be."
Supporting the arts is one of many ways the couple has sought to achieve this goal. "Art is a catalyst," she says. "It demands our attention, if only for a few minutes, stimulating our thinking, creating new perspectives, urging us to see things in a different way."
All art museums can inspire our creativity, appeal to our higher natures, and advance our humanity, but what sets the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts apart is its commitment to making those experiences available to the widest possible audience.
"VMFA is truly a community gathering space," Jacquelyn says. "There are countless ways to enjoy the museum beyond the art, and so many of them are free."
She also appreciates the museum's willingness to take risks, citing the recent acquisition of Kehinde Wiley's Rumors of War and last year's exhibition Awaken: A Tibetan Buddhist Journey Toward Enlightenment as examples.
"Tibetan Buddhism is an enduring passion for me," Jacquelyn says, "but I recognize that it's a challenging topic for an exhibition." Jacquelyn, who has followed Buddhist teachings and been a meditation teacher for decades, was impressed by the way the exhibition enabled visitors to appreciate the objects on display as beautiful works of art while also giving them an opportunity to understand the role of art in Buddhism.
"Inviting visitors to participate in the exhibition—to see the world in a way that may be very new to them—reflects the museum's faith in its audience," she observes. "VMFA is leading by example, which I hope gives other institutions in our community the confidence to take their own risks."
In addition to being a sponsor of Awaken and helping to organize the meditation and mindfulness series offered alongside the exhibition, Jacquelyn has included VMFA in her estate plan. She named the museum as the beneficiary of a payable on death (POD) bank account, which allows her to maintain control over the funds during her lifetime, withdrawing or adding to the account as her needs change. Ownership of the account will pass directly to the museum at her passing with no need to involve attorneys or go through probate.
"The simplicity and flexibility of a POD account really appealed to me," explains Jacquelyn. "It's such an easy way to support an organization that has earned my heart."
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