Through her time as a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, Past National President Janet Jefford has had a unique opportunity to see and experience the impact the Auxiliary has on the veterans, military, and families they serve, but also on the members themselves.

Jefford is no exception. She has experienced professional and personal growth opportunities through her tenure.

“Things I learned from being a part of the Auxiliary helped me in my profession, and it still does today,” Jefford said. “I think it happens to all of us, because it gives us the opportunity to grow and gives us skills that we never would have learned otherwise.”

In addition, Jefford reminisced about a deeply personal opportunity that her ALA membership afforded her.

“Getting involved in the Auxiliary gave me the opportunity to spend the last few years of my mom’s life with her, doing things with the Auxiliary that she really felt passionate about,” Jefford said.

A lot of Jefford’s work in the start of her active membership was to honor the legacy of her mother, who was active in the Auxiliary for Janet’s entire life.

In turn, Jefford wants her legacy and the legacy of the Auxiliary to live on for years after she is gone, just as her mother’s does. She decided that leaving a planned gift would be the best way to do this.

When she retired, Jefford took a look at the different ways she could dedicate her money to the Auxiliary. She decided on using her 457b, a benefit from her time as a vice president at Goodwin College, as the avenue in which to leave her legacy.

“All they did was send me a form, I called the ALA to get their EIN number, and that was it,” Jefford said. “All it took was putting down the ALA as a beneficiary, and you can decide on a percent.”

No matter what way you give, Jefford said all members should do their best to donate to the ALA or ALA Foundation.

“We need volunteers, and time and talent are important, but the resources to keep the organization going are also important, and I think you need to have a balance between both,” Jefford said.

She would recommend planned giving, because it does not take any money away from your current budget.

“Planned giving is absolutely the way to go,” Jefford said. “It’s not really affecting you right in this moment, and when it is done, you do not have to think about it.”

Start planning your gift to the ALA or ALA Foundation by visiting