Michael Colvin: I want my legacy to reflect my values

Michael Colvin

“I was captivated, and I turned to my friend and said: this is it. I’m in…”

Even though I’m still relatively young, I focus on planned giving now because I want my legacy to reflect my values as I build my wealth over the next 30 years of work. In Judaism there’s a tenant known as Tikkun Olam, which roughly translates to “repair the world.” We repair and not fix, and in doing so we acknowledge that there will always be something else that will need our time and attention. Continued engagement with the world around us is the point. I chose to include EDF as a beneficiary of my IRA because that continued engagement, with multiple perspectives, is built into the DNA of the organization.

When I was an undergrad at Berkeley, I saw Vice President Al Gore do a prototype of his “Inconvenient Truth” power point lecture. I was captivated, and I turned to my friend and said: “this is it. I’m in…” That was almost 20 years ago, and I have now been working on clean energy and climate change issues my entire professional career—with a focus on policy to decarbonize the utility sector. After working for the state for ten+ years, my “stretch goal” was to work for a place like EDF.

I describe myself as a pragmatic optimist, and I think that aligns well with EDF’s mission of “finding the ways that work.” For me, it starts with listening to what people are saying and understanding their underlying reasons; from there, you do what you can to find mutually agreeable solutions. EDF does that better than any other place out there.

As you can see from the photo, I love going outdoors to rock climb. I find that climbing fosters great community and emphasizes stewardship. You get to interact with nature in a tactile way, and that physicality creates a unique connection back to the world and with each other. The environment is meant to be shared, and I’m so glad that I can help share it with future generations through my work with and planned support for EDF.

—Michael Colvin, EDF Director Regulatory and Legislative Affairs, California Energy Program


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