Lambda Legal Announces Eden/Rushing Chair
(New York, December 3, 2013) - Today Lambda Legal announced, in conjunction with the estates of Dr. John Eden and Mr. Robert Rushing, that its Legal Director position has become the Eden/Rushing Chair in honor of the couple's long-standing commitment to Lambda Legal's work. This marks the first time a position in the organization has been named.
"I am incredibly proud to carry this new title in honor of a couple who understood - first-hand - how critical our work is, and who supported our efforts over many years," said Jon W. Davidson, Legal Director and Eden/Rushing Chair, of Lambda Legal who just marked his 9th year as Legal Director and celebrated 18 years with the organization in 2013. "Our work is made possible through the support of individual donors and we deeply appreciate that John and Bob entrusted their legacy for equality to us."
Robert Rushing and John Eden were among Lambda Legal's very first Guardian Society members and, through bequests, have donated nearly $3 million dollars to Lambda Legal. Together 45 years, friends describe Bob and John as devoted to each other. They were avid art collectors. John was a tennis player and Bob was a swimmer. They had a large circle of friends and enjoyed entertaining.
Bob developed Multiple Sclerosis in his 40's. When Bob and John made their estate plan, they did so with Bob's illness in mind. However, in 2005, John died unexpectedly during what was thought to be routine heart surgery. At that time, New York did not recognize marriage equality, and John's untimely death threatened to cause huge tax liabilities for Bob, who was slowly becoming disabled from his illness. Bob became keenly aware of the need for same-sex couples to plan wisely: He had lost not only his adoring partner, but also his primary caretaker, and for a time he feared he would also lose his home. Luckily, Bob's attorney was able to prevent some of the negative tax consequences.
The New York winters would eventually be too hard on Bob's health, so he settled in San Diego where he lived until his death in 2012. After Bob died, John's cousin called Bob's executor, wanting to know whether John's wishes were being carried out. The executor told him that most of Bob's estate, part of which Bob had inherited from John, was going to Lambda Legal. John's cousin said, "That's all I need to know. That's what John wanted."
To discuss other naming opportunities and/or learn more about the Guardian Society, a group of individuals who have included Lambda Legal in their legacy giving, contact Thai Pham, Director of Legacy Giving, [email protected] or 212-809-8585 x 214.