Yahn Bernier and Beth McCaw view philanthropy as a family value. Since the earliest days of their marriage, they set up bequests to ensure that the charitable organizations they support will benefit after they are gone. Their goal is not only to help those causes but to send a message to future generations. They want to impress upon their young daughter the importance of giving as a lifelong passion. “We were given great gifts, but they’re just ours to hold for a very short period of time,” Beth says.
In 1998, they left budding legal careers in Atlanta to move to the Seattle area, where Yahn had an opportunity to try something completely different. He joined a small start-up company, Valve, to help design video games. Until then, it had just been a hobby for him, but he certainly had a knack for it: Valve today is one of the world’s leading video game producers. Beth continued her career as an estate-planning attorney, which brought her to the Washington Women’s Foundation and a network of Fred Hutch supporters.
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“We’re both fairly entrepreneurial people — we really love this spirit of innovation here at the Hutch,” she says. “Yahn and I both felt like medical research was an important thing for us to fund.”
Cancer research is close to their hearts. Beth’s mother is a breast cancer survivor, and Yahn’s mother died of complications from throat cancer. And the couple believes their Hutch involvement provides lessons to their 9-year-old: “We’re always looking for ways to engage our daughter in philanthropy and in science,” Yahn says.
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If you are interested in supporting Fred Hutch's lifesaving work, consider a gift through your estate. It is a simple but powerful way to make a lasting impact. Contact our Planned Giving team at 206.667.3396 or at firstname.lastname@example.org today for details.