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The Mohonk Preserve in New Paltz, NY protects the Shawangunk Mountains and their wildlife by inspiring people to care for, enjoy, and explore the natural world. It received a grant from the Michael Sasse Fund in 2010. Photo (below) by Frank Trac


Our Donors on Giving: Michael Sasse

“I really liked your ad in the Times the other day. So far, it seemed, The Trust placed so much emphasis on charitable giving as part of estate planning. But it is way more fun to do it while one is still alive. The great asset of The Trust is to build an endowment over time while making charitable contributions to one’s favorite causes. And all the decision-making is assisted by the ample resources of The Trust.

“I hope more people realize that they too can be part of the philanthropic community without being a billionaire. (Remember when it was a real big deal to be a millionaire?)”

We got the e-mail above from Michael Sasse, a Trust donor since 2001. Sasse is not a billionaire, or even a millionaire. He’s a nurse at a hospital in Brooklyn, where he now lives.

He came to New York from Germany in 1988 as a tourist and stayed. He got his degree in nursing from St. Vincent’s Hospital, where he worked for 22 years until it closed. “New York is a fascinating place,” says Michael. “It’s given me an opportunity to live life to the fullest.”

Sasse has always found the money to give to charity. “I’m a salaried person,” he says, “but I think it’s important that we all contribute to our communities. I saw a Trust ad and was intrigued. The Trust makes is so easy to become an involved donor. And when there’s a person who knows you, it makes it really comfortable. I like to give to charities that can use and appreciate a modest grant. When Bob Edgar or Gay Young say, ‘we’ve checked out that nonprofit,’ I know it’s okay.”

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