Over seventy years of chocolate chip cookies is a legacy project that most everyone can relate to. Not seventy year old cookies, relegated to a museum. Rather a process of serving warm, just out of the oven cookies for people to enjoy week after week over that time.
Just goes to show everyone can contribute something – and with the right planning, what lives on beyond your lifetime can simply be an extension of what was joyfully given during it. Candace “Dacie” Moses provides us with an example of just how big even a small gift, made sustainable, can grow to be.
Dacie Moses was a librarian at the Carleton College in Northfield, MN, in the U.S., where she was awarded an honorary master of arts degree in 1969. But her real claim to fame, both in the legacy she defined and lived, as well as what she left for future generations is the Dacie Moses House. During her life, Dacie invited students to her house for freshly baked cookies, Sunday brunches (for up to 50 people), to hold conversations, watch TV or play the piano, snack from her refrigerator or call home from her phone.
Valuing the creation of community around warm chocolate chip cookies and conversation, Dacie did one more thing before she died in 1983 at the age of 97: in her will she donated her house to the Carleton Alumni Association. She
instructed that it be used as it was during her lifetime – available as a hostel for students and alumni, that the upstairs apartment be rented, and that the rents received be used to maintain and improve the property. In a separate trust, she provided funds to pay for supplies needed to make sure the freshly baked cookies remain available and to cover the cost of the Sunday brunches.
Two students still live there each year, overseeing and caring for the house, which continues to be a student and alumni gathering place. Her own bedroom and private bath are rented out as a hostel to Carleton visitors. The legacy Dacie lived, lives on to benefit others. It now even has its own website, a following on Facebook, and a video on YouTube that chronicles Dacie telling her own living legacy story.
The following tribute was written about this legacy:
“Let it (Dacie’s home) become a place of ministry, the rarest kind of ministry, a ministry not of preaching or persuasion or programming, but of simple hospitality – for this was the ministry Dacie performed over
all those long and faithful years… In the hospitable space of Dacie’s house we have always been free to be who we are without embarrassment, inadequacy or shame.”
(from the Carleton VOICE, Vol. 46, No. 3, p.34, by Parker J. Palmer, alumni 1961)
From the conviction of her values, her joy in life and a little bit of property, Dacie Moses created a lot in her life that she consciously designed as an enduring legacy.
Doing something similar requires only that you
- take stock – of what you value, what brings you joy and what you have to contribute,
- develop a structure for it,
- find and coordinate the advisors you’ll need to make it happen, and
- get it going in a way will live on when you choose to step away.
At Creating Legacy, we help you put that all in place. From a local community project to a global enterprise, the difference is only a matter of scale built on your unique desires and circumstances. Who would you like to impact, and how? I personally take great joy in helping people make that happen.
Just what might your legacy be?