Margaret Graff is a Private Wealth Advisor with Ampere Wealth Management, specializing in retirement, wealth management, and philanthropy.

Richard Higgins is a Retired Professor of Electrical Engineering, Georgia Tech.

What do you think is the most important thing United Way of Greater Atlanta does?

We love United Way’s high-level perspective on challenges facing our community.

When did you start giving?

We have always donated to charities, but our ability to give has increased in recent years.  We took our philanthropy to a new level in 2007 when we started a private foundation to really make a difference through specific projects. We closed our foundation in 2021 because we realized that simpler methods of giving were more fulfilling. Now we get to concentrate on the fun stuff – changing lives – instead of the details of running a foundation.

What inspires you about the work of United Way?

United Way supports many organizations that address different aspects of problems to find efficient and effective solutions. Rather than donate to individual organizations with which we are familiar, we can let United Way determine where resources can be used most effectively right now. We like specific projects where we can change lives, and United Way has become a valuable partner in helping us achieve our goals.

What prompted you to create your plans and include United Way?

I don’t remember how we stumbled upon United Way. It didn’t take long before we recognized the tremendous value of United Way’s perspective, and we evolved quickly to Tocqueville and Ivan Allen donors. The more we learn about United Way’s work in Atlanta, the deeper our commitment becomes. It was a natural step to include United Way in our estate plans.

What do you hope your gift will accomplish?

Our main focus with United Way has been reducing Atlanta homelessness, most recently through the Motel-to-Home initiative. Here we are helping households that are in a fragile situation – one nudge could drive them into homelessness or raise them into stable housing.  We love being able to help at this critical time in their lives. By including United Way in our estate planning, we can continue work on homelessness in Atlanta after we’re gone.

What would be your advice to others considering becoming Legacy Leaders?

As a Private Wealth Advisor, I encourage my clients to be deliberate about their estate planning. We brainstorm how much is enough and how much is too much to leave to their heirs. Once you’ve covered  your beneficiaries’ needs, it’s time to think about how to make the world a better place after you’re gone.

Thank you, Margaret and Richard, for being Tocqueville Society members!

To get more involved with the Tocqueville Society, please contact tocqueville@unitedwayatlanta.org.