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Two Extraordinary Gifts for Farmland Conservation

MALT depends on supporters like you to help us continue to save Marin farmland from development. MALT was fortunate to be the recipient of two extraordinary bequests, the largest in MALT's history—one from the Robert Held Estate and another from the Laurie Vaughan Estate. The Held and Vaughan bequests were used for the acquisition and stewardship of easements and, ultimately, for the benefit of future generations who depend on MALT to help preserve Marin's rural open space and working farms.

Planned gifts and bequests, such as the Held and Vaughan Bequest, become part of MALT's Stewardship Fund Endowment. So far, over 100 donors have indicated that they have chosen MALT as a beneficiary of their estate. We hope you will consider joining them.

Robert Held Bequest

When the late Robert (Bob) Held attended MALT events, he always made an entrance. Usually alone and always well-dressed, he was known to burst into song in the middle of a conversation. Mr. Held passed away at his Mill Valley home, leaving his estate to Marin Agricultural Land Trust. The total value was over $6 million, the largest bequest MALT has ever received.

Born and raised in Chicago, Mr. Held began his adult life in New York as a stage actor. He moved to San Francisco in the 1960s and to Mill Valley in 1972. According to his friend and neighbor, John Polhemus, he "surrounded himself with things he loved." Those included antique furniture, jewelry, a collection of Asian and American art, and a garden which was blooming the day he died with lavender, camellias, California poppies, and nasturtiums. "He cherished his garden," said Wendy Barbaria, another friend and the executor of his estate. "He spent from morning until night there, enjoying views of both San Francisco and Mount Tamalpais."

Laurie Vaughan Bequest

Laurie Vaughan was born in England and grew up in Miami. In her early 20s, she moved initially to Los Angeles and then to San Francisco before making her home in Novato. As reported in the Marin Independent Journal, "After graduating from Golden Gate University, she embarked on a 25-year career in financial services. Her passions included sailing, international travel, all things French, a love of nature—and a strong commitment to environmental preservation." Laurie Vaughan demonstrated her commitment to the values of farmland preservation by leaving the majority of her estate, valued at close to $500,000, to MALT.

Though we didn't know Laurie Vaughan personally, we will remember both her and Bob Held with gratitude as we continue our work of preserving Marin County farmland with their generous help.