San Leandro woman leaves $25K surprise gift to homeless shelter

The Hayward-based Family Emergency Shelter Coalition was recently surprised by a donation from the last will and testament of Gertrude “Trude” Bloomfield Campe, a San Leandro resident who died nearly a year ago.

According to a FESCO spokesperson, Campe was “a retired nanny, an immigrant from England and a woman of modest means.” Read more about Campe and her gift in the press release after the jump.

Family Emergency Shelter Coalition in Hayward Among Beneficiaries of Retired Nanny

FESCO Receives Large Legacy Gift from San Leandro Woman

Hayward, CA –April 18, 2011The Family Emergency Shelter Coalition (FESCO) today announced that it received a surprise bequest of $25,669 from Gertrude “Trude” Bloomfield Campe, a former resident of San Leandro, California.

Ms. Campe was born on November 27, 1920 in the Whitechapel District of London, England. As a young girl, Ms. Campe spent time in an orphanage with her younger brother and sister when her mother died and her father was unable to care for all of the children. Mrs. Campe immigrated to Canada in the early 1950s, where she worked as a nanny.

In 1955, along with a few friends, Ms. Campe traveled to San Francisco which she decided to make home. During her lifetime, Ms. Campo started over several times with no more than she could carry in a few suitcases. During these periods she was helped by various social agencies and would eventually work for the Salvation Army in San Francisco and East Bay communities. Ms. Campe lived in San Leandro with her husband from 1993 through 2001.

“Trude frequently talked about individuals and agencies that had helped her throughout her life. She in turn helped others. Ms. Campe set up a living trust and lived frugally so that her estate could be distributed to organizations that help others, locally, nationally and internationally. Her estate reached close to $400,000, said Robert Olsen, Trustee of Ms. Campe’s estate.

“This bequest from Ms. Campe highlights the impact that people of modest means can have through charitable planned giving,” said FESCO executive director Cate Steane. “Estate gifts from a donor of modest means, like Ms. Campe, can have a huge impact on an organization of FESCO’s size, ensuring that we can continue our work to end family homelessness until the job is done.”

The need in social services agencies such as FESCO continues as government funding resources dwindle. Two-thirds of FESCO residents are children; 46% of these children are five years old or younger. Still, on any given night there are over 1,000 homeless children in Alameda County.

FESCO has in-house estate planning expertise usually found at universities and hospitals. Supporters can learn for free about estate planning options that can help their favorite charities, and be well informed when meeting with their attorneys to make plans for their estates. More information on planned giving is available on FESCO’s website.

About Family Emergency Shelter Coalition

Family Emergency Shelter Coalition (FESCO) works to end family homelessness in Alameda County. FESCO serves families of all configurations—two-parent families, single fathers, single mothers, and all children under 18. FESCO has developed goal-oriented support services that address the issues that lead to homelessness and instill skills that will move the families toward employment and independent housing. 

For more information or to donate:

Eric Kurhi

  • Michael Moore

    This is a wonderful story at a wonderful time of the year and speaks to the eternal good of all. Gertrude Campe is a great model for all. Blessed Be.

  • Right, Michael. And FESCO is the real deal. They have a marvelous program, but because it is so complete and full spectrum, it requires a larger budget than flop and slop warehousing of people that deals momentarily with the symptoms.

    FESCO is extremely good at using the money they receive to provide service and not to pump it into executive overhead and organizational agrandizement.

  • John W. Kyle


    Happy and meaningful Passover wirh reflection on personal relationships with our creator !!