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GPC Spotlight

Deborah Dunn

Deborah Dunn

Born and a raised in Utah Valley, Deborah graduated from the University of Utah, majoring in Political Science and with a minor in Japanese. Following her missionary service for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Tokyo North mission, she received a master’s degree in International Relations and Area Studies and then a law degree from BYU.

She spent 16 years in Chicago working at Kirkland & Ellis in the Trusts & Estates Department. With her children approaching junior high and her parents’ health failing, she relocated to Boise, Idaho in 2012. There, she worked at a boutique estate planning firm for five years, before joining Perkins Coie Boise where she works in the Personal Planning Group, focusing primarily on high-end estate planning and family office structuring for national clients.

The focus of her undergraduate studies and master’s degree was economic development. While she has been able to be involved in implementing charitable giving strategies to some extent over the years through her law practice, she says that most of her daily work does not touch upon the areas that drive her heart. “The Gift Planning Council has afforded me the opportunity to focus on bridging the gap between the passion and idealism of my youth with my ultimate career path.” said Deborah. “It is uplifting and reinvigorating to see the good that can be accomplished through charitable giving.”

She was particularly impressed by the presentation given at the last Gift Planning Council Conference in 2017 by Laurence Welk’s granddaughter. “My mother loves Laurence Welk and so I recall his program from my childhood. I have been involved in the establishment and oversight of numerous family foundations throughout my career. But I do not think I have seen one so thoughtfully and constructively used to bridge generations and involve young children in the process of giving. The model was instructive for both larger family foundation and family charitable giving on a much smaller, but equally important and powerful scale.”

When asked about a favorite experience regarding a client who gave to a Church entity, Deborah said, “To date my experiences have involved the drafting of testamentary bequests – the benefits of which are to be reaped in the future. An estate planner’s way to plant seeds…”. Deborah is married with two children, ages 17 and 15.

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