Planned Giving: Estate Gift “Insures” Family Legacy

Donna and Tom Foster
Donna and Tom Foster

Tom Foster learned about generosity early in life. His father died when Foster was just a kid, so he, his mother, and his siblings were often dependent on the kindnesses of their friends and neighbors in their hometown of Talladega.

“He was essentially raised by the community,” said daughter Laney Blanchard, “and he never forgot that. I think that’s what made him so sensitive to the needs of others. He also just loved people and wanted to help anybody he could who needed it.”

Though Foster’s wife, Donna, wasn’t as outgoing as her husband, she was more than supportive of his generous ways, according to Blanchard.

“They were a classic case of ‘opposites attract’ when it came to being around a lot of people,” Blanchard said. “Mom was an artist, and she was overall more reserved than he was. But she was always happy to be Dad’s partner in contributing to their church and community.”

The Fosters met while both were attending the University of Alabama. After graduation, Foster did a tour of duty in Vietnam with the U.S. Army, earning a Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service while there. After returning home, he earned a law degree at Cumberland School of Law, later serving as a city judge and as an administrative assistant for Congressman Bill Nichols in Washington, D.C. He went on to open a real estate law office in Birmingham, where he practiced for 35 years.

Foster’s community endeavors included serving on the boards of Eastside Ventures (a subsidiary of Eastern Health System) and the Eastern Health Foundation. Through those connections, he developed a heart for the hospital that later became Ascension St. Vincent’s East when Eastern Health System merged with St. Vincent’s Health System.

So after Foster passed away on December 23, 2021, no one was surprised to learn that many years prior, he had named the hospital as a beneficiary on a life insurance policy and arranged for the proceeds to support the East Cancer Treatment Center.

Donna Foster passed away on February 16, 2022, only eight weeks after her husband. According to Blanchard and brother Brannon Foster, their parents left them a legacy much like they left countless others through their commitment to generosity and service.

Naming a charity as a primary or secondary beneficiary of one’s life insurance is an easy way for policyholders to support organizations they believe in and to help build better futures for others. Won’t you consider naming Ascension St. Vincent’s Foundation of Alabama as a beneficiary? Contact Jennifer Carter at 205-558-3858 or visit to learn more.

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