This Inspired Lauren Giles to Plan Museum Gift
As a child, Lauren Giles 03C felt very lucky that her father often took her to the Michael C. Carlos Museum because it was next door to his office. Micheal W. Giles was the Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Political Science before retiring in 2018. "The Carlos Museum was magic," she recalls. "Full of cool stuff that I had never seen before."
Positive experiences like this led her to choose Emory College for her undergraduate education, which has given her a strong foundation for professional success as an attorney. In early 2016, Lauren made partner at Alston & Bird LLP, a law firm in Atlanta, and began planning financially for the future. As part of her plans, she has made a bequest to the Carlos Museum.
"A lot of people in my demographic don't think about the long term as much," Giles notes. "We are more present than future oriented in this life stage. As I was redoing my life insurance and retirement plans, I thought about what was really important to me. I have felt so invested at Emory because my father gave his life to the university and never left. Coming back here after the passage of time, I realize how much the university has given to me. I feel in my heart that service to Emory will be part of my future, and this planned gift felt like the right choice."
As her childhood affinity for the Carlos deepened, she sought to honor a part of Emory that serves as a crossroads for intellectual inquiry and scientific research. The Carlos collections date back to 1876, and the museum's growth has paralleled Emory's as a teaching and research institution. Collections span nineteenth-century acquisitions of Asian art and objects by Methodist missionaries to more recent acquisitions supporting the university's strengths in Latin American, African, Classical, and Middle Eastern Studies. The museum has a distinguished history of providing opportunities for scholars in many disciplines to expand their work and for students to learn by participating in academically rigorous projects.
"I believe in Emory's values and its unique gifts as a research university and liberal arts university," she says. "In a real way, my planned gift to the Carlos Museum values both of these things."
Today, Giles volunteers extensively at the museum, including serving on the Visiting Board and as an ambassador for its Young Associates program. She also is a member of the Emory University Annual Giving Board. Her involvement has deepened her appreciation of the museum and its community reach, which inspired her to find new ways to give back.
"I see the commitment that the museum takes first hand, and it is very emotionally affecting for me. When we had an event at the home of a Carlos family member, I understood that everything about the museum came from what generous people were willing to do."
Her planned gift is part of her multifaceted support of the museum. When the Carlos promoted a Momentum crowdfunding project to replenish the bus transportation funds, Giles and her parents offered a leadership-level challenge grant. "It's not hard to ask people to support something that you care about. If I think it's important, I want to be the person who gives first because someone has to be."