Leaving a Legacy


Celebrating 20 years of the Oak Leaf Society

Since 2000, 155 individuals have committed to investing in the future of Four Oaks and the success of the children and families we serve. It’s because of Kathy Toborg Cook, former Four Oaks Planned Giving Director, that this unique group of donors is what it is today.

In 2000, former Four Oaks CEO Jim Ernst approached Toborg Cook about starting a planned giving society. Toborg Cook, who had prior experience establishing a planned giving program for Kirkwood Community College, set to work right away on laying the groundwork for what would become the Oak Leaf Society.

The Oak Leaf Society is Four Oaks’ planned giving society that recognizes individuals who have named Four Oaks to receive a planned gift through their will or family trust. Members have also been inducted for significant lifetime giving, major gifts, or lifetime service.

“It was a little daunting to start a planned giving society,” Toborg Cook said. “I spent a lot of time meeting with people and learning about what they loved about Four Oaks and what we did that really spoke to them.”

Toborg Cook worked on identifying individuals to be a part of the first class of the Oak Leaf Society, whose name can be credited to Jim Sealy, former Four Oaks Foundation Fund Development Director, according to Toborg Cook. The first class of the Oak Leaf Society was inducted in 2000 with Toborg Cook being among the first members to join the group.

With each year that has passed, more and more members have been inducted. Each year, the induction of new members has been celebrated with a dinner, which are some of Toborg Cook’s fondest memories from her time with Four Oaks.

“I can’t believe it’s been 20 years,” Toborg Cook said. “Sometimes you can spend your whole career some place and not really know what you accomplished. But the last time I attended a dinner and when I saw all of the names of the members in print, that was a very proud moment for me because I knew I had helped the future financial stability of Four Oaks through these people.”

Toborg Cook says committing to a planned gift is one of the most unique and meaningful ways someone could support Four Oaks.

“It just makes my heart swell to see that wonderful type of support that to me is really the most important,” Toborg Cook said. “It’s always important when you have a major gifts campaign or a capital campaign for a specific project and that’s wonderful and I wouldn’t take away from that for a minute, but to me planned giving is investing in the future of the organization.”