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Ardyth Neill, Heifer Foundation President
Ardyth Neill, Heifer Foundation President

Editors note: Guest blogger Ardyth Neill is the President of Heifer Foundation. Neill joined the Heifer Foundation in 2001. Since then, she has served as CFO and vice president of asset management. The Heifer Foundation was established in 1991 to oversee and grow the endowment to provide support for the work of Heifer International. Heifer Foundation and Heifer International work together supporting the common mission of ending hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.

Heifer Foundation? What’s that? Who are we? What are we doing here? 

Some of you know Heifer Foundation. And for that, thank you! But most don’t understand what Heifer Foundation is and, more importantly, its relationship to Heifer International.

Heifer Foundation is a separate nonprofit, charitable organization with a distinctly different purpose than Heifer International. For starters, we’re a foundation. That means that we are building an endowment to provide long-term support to Heifer International, mostly through planned giving instruments like bequests, estate gifts, trusts, annuities, stock…things like that. Long-term stuff. In the past we’ve referred to ourselves as the Heifer savings account, while Heifer International is the checking account. Both accounts are invested in the shared mission of ending hunger and poverty and caring for the Earth.

So what does this mean?

Heifer Foundation provides a way for loyal Heifer supporters to keep giving to Heifer after their lifetime—continuing to pass on the gift for families all over the world. Heifer Foundation is a responsible fiduciary collaborator for our committed donors’ foundation and charitable trust needs. 

As the President of Heifer Foundation, I meet some of the most amazing people. People who are passionate about Heifer International’s mission and are including Heifer in their wills and planned giving. People who desire to leave a lasting legacy.

Heifer International has gone through many changes over the past years, with new leadership and new strategies to create greater impact worldwide. I recently visited Senegal and Nepal to see Heifer International projects and how these changes are manifested through program work. The goal of my visits was to see firsthand how the legacy of Heifer Foundation gifts continue to create lasting impact in families’ lives.

Through these trips, I was grateful to see the time-tested, 70-year-old Heifer model of using values-based, holistic community development to bring families out of poverty and into thriving livelihoods. Cornerstones continue to transform lives. Women continue to be empowered. The commitment to sustainability is unwavering. All at a scale never before imagined.

I was delighted to come back and share with both Heifer Foundation and Heifer International donors what I experienced. How women have found their voice. How the Cornerstones continue to bring people together. How, through Passing on the Gift®, families who’ve received an animal become donors themselves when they pass on the offspring. The newfound dignity and pride is almost tangible as the essence of a Heifer International promise is finally realized. That anyone can have power over poverty.

This holiday season as you’re planning your gifts for friends and loved ones, consider expanding your legacy towards ending hunger and poverty through our W.I.L.L. Society. These lasting gifts help secure the fulfillment of Heifer’s mission.  Learn more about Heifer Foundation and the many ways to create your lasting legacy. Visit our website, join our mailing list, and learn about a variety of confidential, planned charitable giving options for being a lifetime—and beyond—donor for Heifer.   

You’ll hear more from Ardyth and Heifer Foundation over the next year at Now, hear from Ardyth directly and see how families continue to be transformed.