Nearly eight years have passed since a third bout with cancer ended Margaret “Lambie” Guyton Stout’s life at age 42 – but her memory can still bring tears to the eyes of her lifelong friends, Laurie Avery and Nicole LeBoutillier.
“She loved having parties, getting people together and having fun,” said Nicole. “Lambie was always SHARING something – a book, a story, a recipe – she would never come to anything empty-handed.” Added Laurie, “She knew such a diverse group of people – she was witty, funny, impish, always easy to laugh – just a really great friend.”
So when Lambie assembled a Race for The CureTM team called “Pretty in Pink” (named after Lambie’s favorite movie), her fun-loving, generous spirit naturally drew dozens of supporters. Her backyard fundraising party, dubbed “Cocktails for a Cure,” generated more than $12,000 for their team and was such a success, everyone involved decided to make the fundraising party an annual event.
But in just a few short months, another cancer diagnosis and related treatment left Lambie unable to prepare for the next year’s festivities.
Lambie’s team members, known to one another as “Lambie’s Flock,” all rallied to the mission of Team Pretty in Pink. “She knew we were going ahead with the second annual party. We kept her involved in the planning even though she couldn’t be involved in the work,” said Nicole. “We were determined to make it happen for her.”
Just three days before the 2011 fundraiser, Lambie lost her battle with cancer – and her devastated friends almost cancelled the event. “But then,” recalled Nicole, “we all said, ‘What would Lambie do?’ There was no question she’d want the party to go on.” Fueled by Lambie’s inspiration, the second event eclipsed the first, raising an amazing $46,000 for cancer research.
“After giving that gift to Komen in 2011,” said Laurie, “we realized we had a much bigger opportunity to spread the funds we raised throughout the community, and decided to create a 501©(3).” Their nonprofit ultimately became known as Lambie’s Legacy – and the fundraiser was renamed Cocktails for A Cause.
However, as working women with families, the founders realized they needed a partner to help manage and distribute the funds that Lambie’s Legacy raised. Laurie, an attorney, suggested a fund with Toledo Community Foundation might meet their needs.
The founders of Lambie’s Legacy – Laurie, Nicole, Heather Westmeyer and Lambie’s sister, Lissa Guyton – met with TCF’s Bridget Brell Holt to discuss which type of fund would best suit their needs, and how to set it up. They ultimately chose a donor advised model, with the four of them as the fund advisors, and named it Lambie’s Legacy: The Margaret Lamb Guyton Stout Fund.
“The 501(c)(3), Lambie’s Legacy, facilitates our fundraising efforts, and the TCF fund grows and distributes them,” explained Nicole, who serves as the nonprofit’s president. “It’s an all-volunteer organization, with a board of eight – the four founders and four others who rotate onto the board periodically. The board meets quarterly, does the event planning and makes recommendations to the TCF fund advisors.”
2019 will mark the 10th annual fundraising event for Lambie’s Legacy, and a return to the theme “Pretty in Pink.” While the fund has supported various types of local organizations, cancer care continues to be a major focus, especially for those unable to afford screening, treatment or support services.
“Our goal is to support PEOPLE – human resources – not buildings or equipment,” said Laurie. “We try to pick one organization each year to highlight and then invite them to write a grant. They’ll get the lion’s share of the event proceeds for that year, with the remainder supporting the continued growth of our TCF fund.”
The group’s vision for the nonprofit and TCF fund includes family, too. “We involved Lambie’s mom with the establishment of the fund and keep her looped in with the fund activities,” said Laurie. “We always envisioned Lambie’s daughter would be a part of this, too. She’s only 14 now – but as the fund continues to grow, she’ll have a part to play.”
She continued, “At first, the vision was HUGE – and over time we realized it didn’t actually have to be that much. We realized this is working well at the size it already is. We always want to grow our list of sponsors and supporters but it will always be a volunteer organization. And, it’s not just about us. Many people have been involved along the way, and we couldn’t have accomplished this without them. We’ve brought new people onto the Lambie’s Legacy board. But, it’s always going to be personal – the four fund advisors will always be a part of this.”
Added Nicole, “We did this to support our friend. We always say, ‘What would Lambie do?’ We don’t ever want that to change.”