Educators Tell How They Became Mote Donors
Every Mote donor has a story of what led him or her to support Mote with a legacy gift. Each is different, personal and carefully considered. But in the end, the motivation is the same: they all believe in Mote's mission. Tom and Carol Kerr got there through education...
"We met in Boston," Tom says. "I was on the staff of Northeastern University as an associate dean and professor of engineering." Carol adds, "And I was finishing my master's degree in speech language pathology. We quickly found mutual interests—rescuing wildlife was one."
Tom continues, "As for interest in the sea, I sold marine tackle and crewed on commercial fishing boats while in high school. I saw how a dragger, a bottom trawler, can catch and discard tons of fish and other marine animals that weren't the target species. Pretty wasteful! But the experience sharpened my interest in marine life."
"We never lost that interest, even as we moved around," Carol says. "That's right," Tom remarks. "I worked in various posts at Boston University, at Drexel in Philadelphia, at Rowan and Fairleigh Dickinson in New Jersey, and around the country after I was the president/CEO of Campus Group International Education Services, dedicated to helping smaller colleges attract and retain foreign students."
"When my parents moved to Sarasota in the 70s, we would come down to visit and that's how we came to know Mote Marine Laboratory," Carols says.
"We were already giving to a number of charities," Tom interjects, "and we began giving Mote modest annual gifts and in time became sustaining members. We were impressed by the research and education programs the Lab was running—programs with the power to change public perceptions in favor of protecting marine life. Education was the tie that bound us and led to our commitment to support the Laboratory with a gift devised by our will."
Carol concludes, "We hope other potential donors will see the enormous contribution Mote is making and make their own contribution via their estate plans. There are many ways to do it."