Whether it’s your time, words of wisdom, or something more, the decision to share what you have with others is intensely personal. Scripps College’s founder Ellen Browning Scripps made giving her mission. This legacy of generosity would go on to shape the lives of thousands of students, including Clare Hubbard Kelm ’69—who now makes giving back a lifework of her own.
“Clare is a quintessential Scripps woman: educated, adventurous, and very giving,” says Director of Development and Major Gifts Crystal Jones ’85. Along with Clare’s husband, Ed, the couple has donated steadily to The Scripps Fund for years, directing their support to the areas of greatest need at the College. Recently, the Kelms also finalized their decision to include a generous bequest to Scripps in their wills.
“Crystal was the first person I really had contact with in terms of exploring what we could do long term,” says Clare of her planned giving process. Giving back to institutions of higher learning was always a family tradition, modeled by her parents who left a legacy gift to their alma mater. The importance of a college education also goes back a long way in Clare’s family—her great-grandfather was a founding professor at Stanford University, and her grandmother was a college graduate at a time when not many women were.
Rather than attending a larger co-ed institution, Clare chose Scripps because of its tight-knit community, access to the other Claremont Colleges, and prioritization of women’s education. In the sixties, she recalls, some women’s colleges were still seen as “finishing schools,” but Scripps continues to hold its own as a recognized institution of higher learning.
“We’ve come a long way in what women have accomplished and what we’ve created for ourselves—but we still have more to strive for,” says Clare. “There’s value in creating a special place for us where we can think critically and understand societal ‘rules’ so we can learn to break them. More people in this world need access to this.”
After a career as a high school English teacher, Clare and Ed took early retirement and moved to San Juan Island in the Pacific Northwest to live with their Cessna 172 airplane in a residential airpark community called Roche Harbor Skyway. Clare is an active volunteer and philanthropist for the arts, conservation groups, the League of Women Voters, and other organizations dedicated to making positive changes in the world.
Last year, the Kelms were one of 16 alums and friends to make legacy commitments to Scripps—commitments that let Scripps safely plan for the College’s future. Once connected with Scripps’ planned giving team, says Clare, she and her husband were able to discuss the best way to include the College in their estate planning journey, ultimately opting to donate a percentage of their estate instead of a lump sum. Leaving the gift undesignated was deliberate, she adds, noting the importance of Scripps using the funds for whatever students need most.
“Educational institutions need outside support. They cannot operate simply on the tuition paid from the students or their families,” she says, adding that their gift will ensure that the College isn’t financially held back from opening the Scripps experience to deserving young women. “What does it matter what you own while you’re here on earth if you’re not doing anything to help the world become better after you’re gone? Giving to Scripps can continue to educate women long into the future. Nothing I buy myself can do that.”
Just as Ellen Browning Scripps’ choice to establish the College continues to alter the lives of women today, so too will Clare’s planned gift extend the Scripps experience to a new generation of young women. Clare hopes her legacy gift will help future students continue to shatter women’s perceived limitations.