Herches turn their passion for helping children into a lasting gift

As a junior and senior high school teacher, Mary Herche witnessed the violence that had taken root in young people who had been victims of child abuse and neglect. She dealt with students who acted out their internal turmoil in the classroom.

Mary’s unique perspective as an educator and coach is why she sees so much hope at Childhaven.

“You see those little babies, and you know that by helping Childhaven, you’re helping those children get a good start in life,” says Mary.

She and her husband, Tom, believe so strongly in Childhaven’s mission of breaking the cycle of abuse and neglect that they have remembered the organization in their wills.

“What happens those first few years has a huge impact on the rest of their lives,” says Tom, whose commitment to children also includes service with the Rotary Boys & Girls Club in Seattle.

The Herches’ attachment to Childhaven goes back 25 years. Mary was introduced to the agency even earlier through the Greater Seattle Service League and the Junior League of Seattle, two charitable organizations that have been very important to Childhaven over the years.

Starting in the 1920s, the Junior League helped what was then Seattle Day Nursery with everything from making curtains to training staff. Now it provides clothing and school supplies to children graduating from Childhaven and entering kindergarten.

The Greater Seattle Service League and its members have raised money annually to support Childhaven’s day-to-day operations and the funding of facilities, vans and equipment. In addition, three Service League members, including Mary, have served on the Childhaven Board of Trustees.

Mary’s tenure from 1986 to 1992 saw Childhaven open the Eli Creekmore Memorial Branch in Burien and the Patrick L. Gogerty Branch in Auburn, as well as plan the new state-of-the-art Broadway Center.

As major supporters, the Herches appreciate Childhaven’s efficient use of donor dollars and the foresight of leaders who saw the need for new approaches to child care.

“You can focus on the immediate, but you also need to plan ahead,” says Mary, of their decision to leave a legacy gift. “It’s a lifetime commitment.”