A Gift That Keeps Giving

January 01, 2014

A brief advertisement in the local newspaper seeking volunteers was the only prompt Delia “Del” McCulloch needed to call Providence. The California native was intrigued by the opportunity to become a caller for the telephone reassurance program Company Calls, a daily check-in service for older adults living alone.

Company Calls offered the perfect role for a woman whose childhood ambition was to become a radio actress. “I was shy,” explains Del. “I wanted to be heard, but not seen.”

For 10 years, Company Calls has had top billing in Del’s life—except with this “gig,” her listeners aren’t among an anonymous radio audience. They are older adults who count on her calls for reassurance and companionship.

Homegrown Girl

Del grew up during the Great Depression, graduated from Hollywood High School and studied radio while attending Los Angeles City College. Despite her shy nature, her sense of adventure prevailed and she began a 16- year career in the U.S. Foreign Service.

Diplomatic missions in Hong Kong and India were her favorite stations, and it was while on leave from Hong Kong that Del met future husband Paul McCulloch on an American passenger ship. Paul and Del married in November 1978 and enjoyed their late-in-life marriage until Paul passed away in 1995.

Once widowed, Del—always one with a zest for travel, exercise and gardening—discovered another new passion: volunteering for Providence. For more than a decade, Del’s involvement with Company Calls has advanced Providence’s mission of caring for the poor and vulnerable. “I got to know people over the phone through the years,” Del says, “and they became almost like friends. They counted on us to contact them every day.”

Giving Back

As Del started to think about her own financial security and ability to give back, she decided to partner with Providence through a charitable gift annuity, a type of planned giving that transfers cash or property to a charitable organization in exchange for a lifetime stream of annual income.

“I just wish people realized how valuable a charitable gift annuity is,” says Del. “It gave me a good feeling that I was helping our community by supporting my local medical center. Plus, it assured me an income for the rest of my life. I was so pleased that I set up a second annuity a few years after the first one.”