Why Should Heirs Have All The Fun?

March 31, 2014

Carolyn Goldston Demonstrates the Impact of Legacy and Planned Giving

The University of Texas at Austin embodies many traits that motivate affinity and passion for everything Longhorn and even inspire financial contribution to the university, but the greatest impetus for such connection is appreciation for the role the University plays in the community and its active legacy. Longtime Austinite and community advocate Carolyn Goldston has certainly found that to be true. In fact it’s Goldston’s long history with The University of Texas that has grounded her legacy in Austin.

C. Goldston

Arriving on campus in the fall of 1953 from a small town in West Texas, Goldston quickly grew smitten with the Capitol City. Although Goldston didn’t ultimately graduate from The University of Texas, she did marry into the burnt-orange-blood-line. Since her husband was a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin Law School, Goldston recalled that most of their friends were alumni and university faculty, driving a social life that revolved around campus conversation. The university, after all, was the impetus for their interest in Austin. Likewise, the conversations taking place on campus drove much of the dialogue and action of the city. “The university cultivated an open-minded culture,” Goldston explained. “When you are near and around a large environment of research, you have to be open.” Perhaps inspired by such thinking Goldston launched her civic ambition and contribution to community advocacy by assuming leadership roles. Serving as an organizational incubator of many civil rights efforts at the time, Goldston became a board member of The University of Texas at Austin’s YWCA/YMCA, establishing her life-long commitment to community engagement and social justice by taking part in the many conversations concerning equity for women and people of color, prevalent of the time and certainly in the college town.

Some sixty years later, Goldston has served on the Austin Tomorrow Goals Assembly, the McDonald’s Observatory Board of Visitors, and the Austin Area Urban League board, and served as a Travis County Housing Commissioner, Travis County Grand Juror, Austin Library Commissioner and President of the Friends of the Austin Public Library. This lifelong consideration for the community and its future inhabitants is what propelled Goldston’s decision to allocate part of her estate to The University of Texas’ Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE), on whose advisory council she now sits. It is a decision she said she did not come to lightly, but did so instinctually. “It gives me such joy when I think about it, I’m going to die with a smile on my face,” said Goldston, hopeful her legacy will live on to influence the conversations she’s always taken part in.

The choice of planned giving was done with thoughtful intent, mandating that her gift be allocated to the advancement and education of African-American men (an effort that continues to rise in significance as indicated by President Obama’s recent announcement of the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative). She has been part of the effort to foster their success since her days giving to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. which supported Thurgood Marshall’s efforts in the field in the late 1950s-1960s. Goldston’s gift will be entrusted to DDCE’s initiatives focused on African American males, to ensure that the often overlooked and underserved population will always have her support.

“As a card-carrying feminist, this specific gift may come as a surprise to some,” Goldston said. But given Goldston’s commitment and history with the university and passion for and alignment with the work of the DDCE, it comes as no surprise that she has planned her impact and influence beyond her time.

“In order to get this type of symbiosis you have to open yourself up to giving,” she said. “Planned giving just made sense…The DDCE has a pantheon of good work, and there’s a perfect match for everyone. So I thought to myself, why should my heirs have all the fun? Why shouldn’t I get to determine how my legacy continues on campus and in the community?”

For more information about the Planned Giving program visit:



– Virginia A. Cumberbatch


Previous post:

Next post: