The ACTEC Foundation Mourns the Death of Past President L. Henry Gissel, Jr.
The ACTEC Foundation is sad to share the news of the death of former President L. Henry Gissel, Jr. Henry served as President of The Foundation from 2017 through March of this year. Henry’s passion for ACTEC and The ACTEC Foundation were felt across the trust and estate profession through not only his words but his many deeds. Current ACTEC Foundation President Jeffrey C. Thede states, “In March 2020, I was honored to follow in the very large footsteps of Immediate Past President L. Henry Gissel, Jr. My goal is to continue the excellent work Henry has done to expand the knowledge of The ACTEC Foundation among Fellows of the College, as well as the wider community of persons who look to the Foundation for information to help them with their family’s estate planning needs and professional development. Henry’s devotion to the Foundation’s good work was unparalleled, and I, along with all members of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, miss him deeply.”
Henry also served as Vice President of The ACTEC Foundation from 2014 to 2017, Chair of The Foundation’s Nominating Committee from 2017-2020 and Chair of the Foundation’s Fundraising Committee from 2014-2017.
While at the helm of The ACTEC Foundation, Henry initiated many projects:
- Henry instituted the first regular meetings of the Foundation’s Executive Committee in late Spring of 2017, his first year as President. This practice allows the Foundation to move issues forward between Board meetings and continues to this day.
- Henry created a Disaster Preparedness Subcommittee, which is focused on gathering information for cities and states after a disaster.
- The Financials of the Foundation were significantly improved during Henry’s tenure as President, particularly in how grants are reported and presented.
- Henry was instrumental in the drafting and the approval of the Foundation’s first gift acceptance policy.
- Under Henry’s tenure as Foundation President, the Young Leaders Program was renamed to honor Past ACTEC President Dennis I. Belcher, becoming the Dennis I. Belcher Young Leaders Program. Henry spoke movingly, at the ACTEC conference room’s dedication to Dennis I. Belcher, about the Young Leaders program and how much time Dennis invested in mentoring young trust and estate attorneys.
- Henry instituted the process of having members of the Foundation’s Board of Directors serve as liaisons to both substantive and administrative Committees of the College, both to make the Foundation aware of the possibility of any projects worthy of a grant and to keep the College’s Committees aware of the work of the Foundation.
- The publication of donor names was resumed during Henry’s tenure as President of the Foundation, both in the three annual newsletters and on the Foundation’s web site. Also, the Blue Ribbon campaign was instituted, recognizing donors with a blue ribbon on their badges at ACTEC’s three national meetings.
- The Foundation’s Policies, Practices and Procedures Manual was significantly updated during Henry’s three-year term as President.
- The Bylaws were significantly re-written during Henry’s tenure, separating the leadership of the Foundation from the College and creating a Nominating Committee so the Foundation could elect its own officers. Royalties from the Quicken Templates were allocated to Foundation revenue during Henry’s tenure.
- During his time as President, a change was made to the Mary Moers Wenig Student Writing Competition such that the first prize winner of the Competition is awarded a full-tuition scholarship to the LLM Program at the University of Miami School of Law.
- Significant funding was awarded to the Communications Committee to produce the ACTEC Family Estate Planning Guide videos for families and ACTEC Trust and Estate Talk podcasts for professionals.
- The Foundation’s logo was refreshed, and the website underwent a significant rebranding and reorganization of content to be user friendly to professionals, families and students.
- The Foundation created a Distinguished Service Award. The first recipients in March of 2020 were ACTEC Fellows Judith and Howard McCue, in recognition of their years of service to the ACTEC Foundation.
Godspeed, Henry, and thank you for making The ACTEC Foundation the trust and estate champion it is today.
Please consider honoring Henry’s achievements and continuing his efforts with an in memoriam donation to The ACTEC Foundation.
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