Our newest employee on the Philanthropies Gift Planning Services team is Jacob Dowse. We are excited for you to get to know him a little better in this edition of the GPC Spotlight!
1. Please share a bit of your background and your practice.
I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska where I lived until I was 13 years old. Although I lived through some of Nebraska’s historic football seasons, and cheered heartily for them, my blood always ran blue, and it is with my beloved Cougars that my true allegiance lies. Our family ultimately settled in Utah and I had the privilege of attending and earning a degree in History from Brigham Young University.
After serving a two-year mission to Rio de Janiero, Brazil, I returned to Utah and married my high-school sweetheart Sofia Lee. We have four wonderful children, Annie (13), Austin (11) Sage (9), and Tayson (7). We love the outdoors and enjoy camping, fishing, horse-back riding, music and enjoying it all. We currently live in Orem, Utah.
After graduating from BYU, we moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, where I received a juris doctorate from the University of Nebraska. Following law school, I accepted a position as an attorney with the law firm Robinson, Seiler & Anderson, LC, in Provo, UT, working on a broad range of civil litigation matters including contract, business, real estate, and financial law cases.
In 2012, I accepted an offer to work with the Real Estate Division of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where, among other responsibilities, I worked closely with donors who held appreciated real estate assets and were in a position to donate those assets to the Church. This was a marvelous experience, and I was deeply impressed by not only the generosity of these good people but the spirit that accompanied their desires and actions.
During that time, I worked closely with the Gift Planning Services team at Philanthropies and developed a love and appreciation for their work and mission as well as the people I interacted with. When the opportunity arose to join their incredible team, I jumped at the chance to continue my career and assist in this impactful work.
2. Why you are involved with the Gift Planning Council?
When I first started working closely with Philanthropies in 2012, I was deeply impressed by the specific individuals I worked with on the Gift Planning Services team. I felt a sincerity and authenticity to their motivations and the work they were doing. I was uplifted by their enthusiasm and vision for philanthropic giving and helping families and individuals accomplish their goals.
When the opportunity arose to participate in the Gift Planning Council Conference, I was anxious to attend. I immediately felt that the conference was different than many professional conferences I had attended. In addition to receiving excellent technical practice insights from local and national professionals, the conference focused on core values and the joy that comes from inspired giving. I was touched by a feeling of connectivity to those around me.
Over the years I have made many professional connections through the Council, but more importantly, have felt a deeper, core connection to those involved because of the shared principles that underlie the work that we are engaged in. I have made many dear friends through the Council and enjoy the opportunity to deepen and strengthen relationships at the biennial conference.
3. Can you please share with us some of your favorite experiences that you have had serving on the Gift Planning Leadership Council or at the conference?
One of my favorite things about the Gift Planning Council Conference is the opportunity to learn about the various inspired priorities for giving and fundraising that the First Presidency and Presiding Bishopric of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have made available. For example, I remember Clark Gilbert, then President of BYU-Idaho, speaking a few years ago about the miracle of the BYU-Pathway Worldwide program. He explained that the mission of this program is to develop disciples of Jesus Christ who are leaders in their homes, the Church, and their communities. Because of varying circumstances around the world, there are millions of members of the Church who do not have the opportunity to seek higher education and obtain meaningful and gainful employment. The program is especially impactful for returning missionaries around the world who may not otherwise have the opportunity to put into action the spiritual and temporal principles they learned as missionaries.
Having served as a missionary in Brazil and making many good friends that came from challenging circumstances at home, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude. As I listened to President Gilbert, I was impressed by our Heavenly Father’s love for his children and how He provides prophetically-inspired means whereby those who have served Him with all their heart, might, mind, and strength and developed life-changing spiritual and temporal habits could return home and be filled with hope for their future. Today the BYU-Pathway Worldwide program is blessing over 41,000 students in more than 100 countries to earn degrees and obtain significant employment.
This example, is one of many from the Gift Planning Council Conference that have inspired me to participate in and do all I can to assist in helping families and individuals understand the tools, resources, and opportunities that are available to bless other’s lives through purposeful giving.
4. Do you have a favorite experience you can share regarding a client who gave to a Church entity?
With that experience above in mind, I want to share another experience I recently had with a member of the Church who also felt inspired by President Gilbert after visiting with him in his home about the BYU-Pathway Worldwide program.
He stated in a letter to me the following: “It has been our privilege to host past and current Presidents of BYU-Pathway Worldwide, BYU-Idaho, and LDS Business College in our home, where they explained the missions of their organizations and inspired Latter-day Saints and non-members to financially support these prophetic priorities. At the last event, then BYU-Idaho President Clark Gilbert spoke at a cottage meeting, and then met with us privately the next day. As President Gilbert sat in our living room, I had the impression that this house that had hosted educational leaders on the Lord’s errand would eventually be fully consecrated to the Lord whose work we strive to be about. The time for that consecration has come.”
After sharing this with me, he indicated that he and his wife would like to donate their home, valued at a significant amount, to the Church, and specifically for the benefit of BYU-Pathway Worldwide and other institutions of higher education.
I love this example because it highlights the true spirit of giving. At the root of it all, this family wanted to go about doing good as the Savior did, and as a result, was inspired to know how they could best use their resources to bless others.
I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Gift Planning Council and to work and serve with you. Like this wonderful family, I hope the underlying principle of “doing good” will work in me and in each of us as we engage with one another in this important work.