Stories of Giving: Lani and Leighton '74 Lam
A thoughtful gift and estate plan can help satisfy personal financial-planning needs, while reflecting individuals' values and hopes for Punahou's future.
Lani and Leighton '74 Lam know there is something very special about the relationships and opportunities that the Punahou community nurtures. Although Leighton only attended Punahou for middle school, it was during that time he found his courage and confidence to discover his creative path. That path consistently brought him back to Punahou and lifelong friends.
When their children, Lucas '09 and Kaily '02, entered Punahou, the family's connections to the School community grew. Witnessing their children's experiences and how Punahou prepared them for college – Santa Clara University and Stanford University – motivated the Lams to give back to the School.
When Lucas and Kaily graduated from Punahou, Leighton and Lani wanted to further express their appreciation. They realized that giving back keeps their connection to the Punahou community strong and provides opportunities to stay involved with the School.
In 2011, they established the Leighton '74 and Lani Lam Family Psychosocial Endowed Fund, which was inspired by Lucas' experiences with Punahou's Psychosocial Education program and as a peer counselor for Camp Kuleana and Camp Paumalu. Lucas found that the camps provided him with a meaningful way to meet diverse classmates and to develop leadership, empathy and communication skills. Leighton and Lani appreciated the extraordinary impact of the program on their son and hope to provide opportunities for other students to grow personally from similar experiences.
In 2015, Leighton named Punahou as a beneficiary of his SEP IRA with instructions that the distribution be added to their named endowed fund. For the rest of his life, Leighton will maintain control over the funds in his IRA, should he need them, and when the final distribution is made to Punahou, it will be tax free.
"There is incredible value in the friends you make as a Punahou student and parent," Leighton says. "I hope generations to come will know the happiness of these lifelong friendships and benefit from all Punahou has to offer."