Love of Music Becomes Legacy of Education

By Patricia O’Dell

George and Linda Robbins turned their lifetime love of music into a legacy of music education and healing – and they did it the smart way by taking advantage of matching funds and using tax codes to their advantage.

Married almost 28 years, attending concerts and theater has always been an important part of the Robbins’ life together. Linda began studying piano at age eight and never stopped. George took accordion lessons as a child, but, as he says, “that didn’t turn out well.” In college, Linda majored in music and went on to teach vocal music for 16 years in the Iowa public schools. She also served as a church choir director and organist, and had a stint as pianist at the Von Maur department store in Des Moines. Today, she continues to study piano with Dr. Cameron Dibble at the Conservatory Academy.

Before retiring, Linda worked for 12 years as a development officer at the Conservatory of Music and Dance. George spent over 30 years in sales at Pitney Bowes and 10 years in various development positions. When they both turned 70 last year, they agreed that they wanted to use the required minimum distribution from their retirement account for charitable purposes. For them, the decision to contribute $20,000 to create a scholarship to help students studying Music Education and Music Therapy “was a no-brainer.” The Women’s Committee of the Conservatory matched their support with a gift of $5,000 to make the endowment complete. George used matching funds from his former employer to create a distribution account so the scholarship can be awarded immediately, even before the interest from the endowment has accrued.

Linda explained why she and George decided to create a scholarship focused on Music Education and Music Therapy. “As I was nearing retirement, I was looking for something meaningful to do when I was no longer working full time. Over the years, I had the opportunity to get to know the music therapy faculty well, and to learn more about the wonderful work of music therapy. The faculty gave me the opportunity to pursue a graduate equivalent in music therapy while still working. Not only was it a wonderful learning experience from excellent teachers, but I also got to know some of the students very well. Following retirement, I did a full-time music therapy internship, then worked part-time in the field, and still work on a flexible basis. It has been very rewarding.”

Since retirement, Linda has remained actively involved in the Women’s Committee, and co-chaired the 75th Anniversary Spring Fundraiser in 2016. George currently serves on the board of the Friends of the Conservatory. The Robbins have also made their support of Conservatory a part of their estate plan.