Doing What Is Right by Giving Back

Art and Helen Poland

Art and Helen Poland

Throughout their life together, Art and Helen Poland have been fiercely committed to education. After meeting in high school, Art and Helen spent decades expanding their education. Art became an astrophysicist and spent 20 years working for NASA studying space weather and stars. Today, he's committed to the education of the students he teaches at George Mason University.

With a Ph.D. in physical chemistry, Helen first taught atmospheric science and air pollution before pursuing the career she'd dreamed of as a child: a veterinarian. After receiving her DVM, she opened an equine vet clinic in Warrenton, Virginia, which at one time employed three other veterinarians. She continues to work part time on her own. "Studying the chemical cycles involved in all life processes has always amazed me," she says. "I still love learning and thinking about veterinary medicine, as well as getting to practice the art and science of medicine on horses and educating their owners."

The couple's enduring love of learning is also the reason they decided to include WAMU, American University Radio as a beneficiary in their charitable estate plan. "The things we want to support after we're gone are all about education," says Helen. "And we consider WAMU to be all about education."

"There's so much depth to the stories on WAMU," says Art. "It's not just sound bites. It's both sides of every issue."

Today, they look out the windows of their farm in Fauquier County to see their horses grazing in the grassy fields. A window over their kitchen sink looks into a birthing room padded with straw for mares ready to foal. Art has a telescope for stargazing in Virginia and around the world. Helen enters horse shows and takes daily rides across the hills.

They have no television. But they do have radios tuned to WAMU. Public radio connects Art and Helen to the Washington region and the wider world, they say. "Listening to WAMU keeps our brains growing," says Art.

"We don't look at our planned gift as philanthropy," says Helen. "We see our future gift as giving back to an organization that has given so much to us."

Like the Polands, you can create your legacy by including WAMU, American University Radio in your estate plan. Contact Eliza Saunders at 202-885-8904 or to explore your giving options.