Julian and Gladys Saunders – Gift Planning Enriches the Lives of Others

April 30, 2014
As a businessman, Julian Saunders had a knack for success. During his long career he established Saunders Ford and two thriving self-storage warehouses, earning a comfortable living for his wife, Gladys, and himself. The couple also had love in their hearts for those less fortunate and an overflowing spirit of philanthropy, perhaps instilled by a charitable gift that Julian's father provided in 1949 – one that earned the gratitude of Mother Teresa.

In fact, throughout their lives the couple always thought of others. Julian became a pilot whose passion for flight led him to join the Flying Samaritans, transporting medical professionals to Mexico to assist those who had no access to health care. Closer to home, Gladys also became known for her charitable deeds and her willingness to help those in need. The die was cast for the couple to support Providence in a significant way.

"I am the eternal optimist," Julian once said. "It's important that every individual seek out ways to enrich his cities by creating opportunities that will allow individuals living there to enrich their own lives."

Julian was born to British parents in Calcutta, India.  From there he moved to Australia then onto British Columbia, Canada, in his early twenties.  Gladys was born in British Columbia and raised there in a small village, Bella Coola.  She and Julian met in B.C., married in Washington state and eventually settled in Southern California in the mid 1950s.  There, Julian followed in his father's footsteps and went to work in the auto industry as a salesman.  Twenty years later he was the dealership owner.

As their success grew, the couple began to support Providence through annual giving, and their gifts were often designated for emergency care. That support continued for more than two decades, even after Gladys passed away in 2005 and Julian in 2011.

Through his estate, Julian endowed Providence with a $7 million trust that is funded through commercial real estate plus municipal and corporate bonds. This is a planned giving arrangement that enabled him to provide for his surviving spouse and support Providence with a tax-free distribution over time. His generosity will strengthen Providence long into the future, fulfilling a commitment to support the Providence mission of compassionate care while paying back the community that helped the couple achieve success for so many years.

"This is one of those gifts that doesn't happen all the time," said Al Ghirardelli, Julian's longtime estate attorney. "All of Julian's objectives were achieved and he still had assets remaining to give to charity."


For more inspiring stories like this one and to learn about creating your own legacy with Providence, please contact Ron Bitzer at 310-415-2796 / ronald.bitzer@providence.org or Brigette Loden at 818-757-4387 or brigette.loden@providence.org to receive our latest publication.