Pajak Receives Prestigious Don Poole Award

Seven philanthropic advisors recognized for growing local charitable giving

February 28, 2019

Laura Harger Pajak, a partner at Foord Van Bruggen & Pajak Financial Services, was awarded the Sacramento Region Community Foundation’s prestigious Don Poole Award this week for her significant contributions to the growth of philanthropy in the region.

Pajak is the ninth to receive the honor, which is awarded to professional advisors in the region who exemplify commitment to charitable causes, devotion to educating clients about charitable giving, and mentorship of fellow advisors to support their own clients’ philanthropy.

Pajak, center, with some past recipients of the Don Poole Award and members of Don Poole's family

“Anyone who knows Laura knows she checks all of those boxes. She is a dedicated champion for philanthropy with her clients and among her peers—and, because of her professional advocacy, the nonprofits that serve our community can better flourish. What’s even more inspiring is the fact that her professional dedication to philanthropy is matched by her personal commitment to give back to our community,” said Linda Beech Cutler, the Foundation’s chief executive, noting that Pajak and her husband, Steve, support the causes they love in the capital region through their charitable fund at the Foundation.

Pajak, who is a Certified Financial Planner and a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy, also serves on the boards of the Sacramento Estate Planning Council and the Rotary Club of East Sacramento, where she was President in 2003-2004 and was twice honored as Rotarian of the Year.

"I aspire to work every day with my clients to help them with their goals and in my community to help others," said Pajak, after she was surprised with the honor at the Foundation’s annual reception to recognize professional advisors who foster philanthropy in the capital area.

See photos from the event

Pajak was selected by her peers to receive the Don Poole Award. The award is named for Poole, an estate planning attorney and former Foundation board member, who left an inspiring legacy for fellow advisors when he died in 2009. During his 38 years at McDonough, Holland & Allen, he created plans for large and small estates that required sophisticated charitable giving techniques.

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During the reception on Tuesday, the Foundation also honored seven Bridge Builders, advisors who referred clients to the Foundation to open charitable funds during the past year. Because of their efforts, a number of funds with diverse charitable purposes were brought to the Foundation in 2018, inspiring philanthropic giving in the region.

Awardees and the charitable funds they referred were:

Stacey K. Brennan, Boutin Jones, Inc.
Leon D. Schimmel Fund & Gollober Family Fund

Donna L. Courville, Boutin Jones, Inc.
Leon D. Schimmel Fund

Peter Frederick, Wells Fargo Advisors
Gedestad Family Trust

Amanda E. Johnson, Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.
Gail Goldsmith Charitable Giving Fund & Gail Goldsmith Long Term Charitable Giving Fund

Marissa Sirota, Marissa Sirota Law
Jack D. Forbes Fund & Jack D. Forbes Endowment Fund

Joseph M. Sullivan, Joseph M Sullivan CPA, Inc. 
Save The World Fund

Kate Willcox, Boutin Jones, Inc.
Gollober Family Fund