The Pitch Pipe January 2022

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“IT COMES FROM THE HEART” A talk with Sweet Adelines donor Kathy Dow


athy Dow was born to barbershop. “It was in my DNA because my mom was in Sweet Adelines when she was pregnant with me,” she says. “All the way through my high school years, I saw her participate in Sweet Adelines. Her quartet rehearsed at the house, and I went to shows. My dad and I even helped with regional competition.” Kathy’s mother, Edith Kimball, was a member of Melotones quartet and of the (now disbanded) Parkette Chorus of Villa Park, Illinois (USA) until 1979. For a while, Kathy’s education and career kept her from joining Sweet Adelines but, 18 years ago, she joined The Blend (then called Centennial Blend). Eventually, she became a dual member with Skyline Chorus, which has been her sole chorus since 2020. She also sings lead with Lyric Quartet, who opened the 2019 Region #8 competition with a witty tribute to actor George Clooney! Kathy also serves as the Region #8 Competition Coordinator. Recently, Kathy set up a recurring gift as well as an estate gift to Sweet Adelines International to make sure the organization that has been so important to her and her family can continue on into the future. “I’ve gotten so much out of the organization in my years of membership,” she says. “All the education, the friendship, the people I’ve gotten to know and work with from all over the world. It’s just been a big part of my life, so when my husband and I were looking over our estate plan, we thought, ‘Why not put some of our investment back into the organizations that give so much for so many people all over the world?’ We have had — and continue to have — wonderful experiences with Sweet Adelines.” While Sweet Adelines donors can specify the focus of their gifts, Kathy and her husband chose to designate theirs as “unrestricted.” That means their money can be used in the areas of greatest need. Kathy says seeing how Sweet Adelines International has adapted during the pandemic illustrates how future needs can be unpredictable. “I’ve been really impressed with the education, the international

virtual convention, and the regional performances and events,” she says. “Being virtual makes the education so much more accessible to people who can’t travel. There are some good things that have come out of it: the access to education, the greater affordability of education, and lowering the stress on educators, since they don’t have to travel.” To make their gifts, Kathy and her husband worked with a financial advisor, and they also worked with Sweet Adelines International Chief Philanthropy and Administrative Officer, Susan Smith, who is herself a Sweet Adeline (Harborlites Chorus, #21). Kathy said the process was easy in both cases. “It was good to have Susan to speak with about how it works and to have someone to connect with who can show you how your gift really does make a difference,” she says. “I feel better about doing that than just writing it on a piece of paper and sending it in. It’s good to be able to talk with somebody who knows what these kinds of gifts can do in the future.” Kathy wants other potential donors to know that every amount really does make a difference, whether as a recurring gift or an estate gift. “Everybody has an estate, and it doesn’t matter how big or small that is,” she says. “It is a statement of your confidence in the organization and your willingness to help ensure it continues on giving benefits that you’ve enjoyed during your time.” Most of all, Kathy says, choosing to give financially should be something donors do with joy. “It comes from the heart,” she says. “You just need to look at what means the most to you. It’s very personal. Everybody has different things in their lives that are important to them. I would encourage anybody to set a little bit aside for those organizations that have given you so much.”

To find out more about donating to Sweet Adelines International, contact Chief Philanthropy and Administrative Officer, Susan Smith at or visit

January 2022 |