“I’m All About the Future”
Meet Glenn Bozarth
We recently had the chance to speak with Painted Turtle Board member and long-time volunteer, Glenn Bozarth in July 2021 to hear what Camp means to him and how he thinks about the future and supporting The Painted Turtle.
Glenn has been involved with Camp since the summer of 2004, our first year of operation. He has since volunteered for over 55 Camp sessions or day events for over 2,100 hours logged. And in 2017, we were grateful to have him join our Board of Directors where he continues to be an incredible champion of all that we do.
Additionally, October is National Estate Planning Awareness Month. Estate Planning is making a plan in advance for things like investments or other assets as well as other directives before one passes. This ensures one’s wishes are carried out as one intended. The Painted Turtle is grateful to have Glenn as one of our Leave a Legacy donors and honored that he has chosen to include The Painted Turtle as a beneficiary within his will and share a little bit about his journey to this decision.
Glenn was formerly the Senior VP of Corporate Communications for Mattel, Inc., and President of the Mattel Children’s Foundation. Today he serves on the board of directors for a number of children’s charities and works regularly as a ‘hands-on’ volunteer with Habitat for Humanity where he has helped with over 12 international builds including in Malawi, Bolivia, Madagascar, and Cambodia.
Glenn is also on the Boards at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA and the Amerman Family Foundation, which benefits children and animals in need. The Amerman Foundation also generously supports The Painted Turtle’s equestrian program.
Interview with Glenn Bozarth, Volunteer and Board member and Alexis Madrid, Director of Development.
Information contained herein was specific to Glenn. The information included is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor.
Alexis: Hey, Glenn, welcome. How are you?
Glenn: Oh, I’m doing great. Thank you. I got to spend a day at Camp last weekend. And I am all full of Camp energy.
Alexis: I know, I’ve seen some great pictures and heard some awesome stories. So, thank you, as always for spending time up there. Thank you also for sharing about your Painted Turtle journey, and the ways that you’ve been involved. I’m looking forward to sharing with our community the impact Camp has on you, as well as the impact you have on Camp.
Glenn: Great, me too.
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Glenn’s Background & Camp Journey
Alexis: You’ve been involved in Camp for a very long time, since the beginning in 2004. Can you share how you first learned about Camp and how you got involved?
Glenn: Sure, I heard about it from a friend. And I helped do a little fundraising before the Camp even opened. I was invited to the grand opening and I was already sold on the concept, but I hadn’t gone to Camp as a child, nor do I have children of my own. And I tell people that once I got there and saw the facility and saw how comfortable the cabins looked, I decided that I would like to volunteer and so I applied to volunteer that very first year.
Alexis: And what was it like your first year having not been to camp as a kid?
Glenn: It was just such a powerful experience and something that I didn’t expect. I was from a corporate background and we had fun, but we didn’t have fun the way you do at Camp; to see that everybody’s so uninhibited, and just being themselves and feeling free. And by the end of the week, I was ready to do that, too. In fact, one of the staff members at the end of the week said, “Can I tell you something?” I said, “Sure.” She said, “I have to tell you that I watched you. And I think that you grew more during this week than the kids did.”
Alexis: We think Camp is about making an impact on campers and camper families, but it’s also making an impact on us as staff and volunteers.
Glenn: Oh, for sure. I tell people all the time, nobody gets more out of it than me.
Alexis: Can you share a little bit more about your past experiences and roles in the corporate world, and how those experiences may have attributed to your connection to Camp and, and passion for The Painted Turtle?
Glenn: My field was communications. And for the last 12 years of my career, I was the head of communications for Mattel, the toy company. And I had various things under my responsibility and a staff of people, but it included things like being the key spokesman for the company, handling media relations, being involved in investor presentations, Wall Street, and employee communications. It also involved all of our philanthropy. And at the end of my career, just knew that my passion was for philanthropy. When I was able to retire at an early age, I decided that was where I wanted to spend time, so some of that has been serving on boards of directors. But initially, in the case of The Painted Turtle, that was hands-on volunteering, and in some ways, I enjoyed that so much more, just using another part of my brain that I didn’t use during my career.
Alexis: I know for myself, personally, it’s been a great honor to know you for quite some time. And we are excited and grateful to have you on our Board as we get to see your talents as a volunteer, but also have your guidance and your expertise from a communications, philanthropy, and fundraising perspective.
Glenn: So, as you know, I qualified my Board acceptance and said that I was a little reluctant and I would do it, but I didn’t want to be treated any differently at Camp.
Alexis: Being on our board, what motivates you to continue staying involved and at the level as a Board member?
Glenn: I just feel like I know and believe in the program so much, and I can see on a hands-on basis, what it does for the kids. If I can help at a more strategic level, helping with the future of the organization, and current programs, it’s just interesting for me to see that detail as well.
Alexis: Having been involved even before Camp started, almost 18-19 years, in your opinion, what is the most important work that we at The Painted Turtle are doing?
Glenn: It’s everything we do that allows these kids a chance to feel normal, to feel like they’re not different, that there are other people like them. You really see what it does for them in terms of independence and confidence and courage. Parents will tell you their child returns home changed, and that they take it throughout their year. It’s not just that time at Camp.
Alexis: And what would you say gives you the most pride about your involvement in Camp?
Glenn: I think just seeing the result of it, not necessarily of my activity, but being involved with an organization that does such great work and makes such a big difference for these kids who haven’t had an easy time…who weren’t dealt the best hand.
Alexis: Is there a Camp moment, whether you were volunteering or something that you were a part of, that rises to the top as a memorable moment for you?
Glenn: There are so many, it’s just very powerful. The kids go home in tears, we’re in tears at the end. But I’d say the incredible experiences. I remember one time being in the Well Shell medical facility with a little boy. And he needed IV treatment, and we were going to miss the campfire. And he didn’t want to miss the campfire. So, we wheeled the IV pole down to the campfire, and he attended. And where else would that happen? That’s the special thing about Camp. These are kids who could not go to a traditional Camp, they can only do it because of the care and medical support that’s available to them there. And that causes the parents to be comfortable giving us the privilege to have their kids for that period of time. So often it’s the first time they’ve ever been away from home overnight.
Alexis: I know that’s just one of many examples of the ways we can support and adapt so that campers don’t have to miss a program or not participate in an activity because we can make those adjustments and support them.
Glenn: We want to say yes to everything. How often in life do you have experiences where that’s where you’re coming from, but we want to say yes to everything. And we do pretty well with that.
Glenn’s Decision to Name The Painted Turtle as a Beneficiary of his IRA
Alexis: So another reason we have you here, as we near October and what is National Estate Planning Awareness Month, is to highlight the ways in which you can support Camp. And one of those ways is through estate planning. We’re very grateful for a commitment you have made to Camp in this way, but I wondered if you could share more about your journey through life and when and why you started thinking about the future and estate planning, and some of your philanthropic goals.
Glenn: During my career, I got involved to some extent through the programs of Mattel, through the foundation that I oversaw. We started an employee volunteer program. I would get involved myself and would volunteer for activities. So that was sort of the start of it. I feel that I’ve been so fortunate that when I was able to retire early, I wanted to concentrate some time on giving something back. And so that drew me into this.
I think that for many of us, we think that it’s always too early to start estate planning and thinking about things like wills and trusts, but it’s really a responsibility. And I have to say when I finally did it a few years ago, it gave me great clarity, and also helped me change some things about what I’m doing now.
In working with an estate planner, I could see that in the end, I was going to leave money to charities, and specifically The Painted Turtle. And the first thing that made me realize is, maybe I should do more of it now. If that’s what I’m going to do in the end, why not do it now so I can enjoy seeing the benefit that it brings. So, I have done that. But the other thing was to look at the end result and look at those assets. The estate planner helped me realize that I should look at the different tax considerations for what you do with your estate. And in that process, realized that for my retirement funds, IRAs, and 401k’s, that if those funds are left to my heirs, they will pay taxes as they withdraw the money just as you would during your lifetime. But if I leave those funds to a charity, there is no tax. And so, I’m better to leave other assets to heirs, and those retirement fund monies to charities. And that’s why I’ve decided with my IRA to leave a portion of it to The Painted Turtle.
Alexis: Thank you, Glenn. As I’ve shared before, we’re beyond grateful for all the ways in which you support both with your time, but your treasure for programs and projects at Camp, as well as looking towards the future. Thank you for sharing some of your thought processes and the internal conversations you’ve had to figure out what type of impact you want to make in the world and at Camp. These are specifics for you and what works for you in collaboration with your estate planner. So for others considering making decisions in this regard, ensure you consult your financial and/or legal advisor. We appreciate you sharing your personal story. Thank you.
Glenn: Yes, it helped to get some professional advice on this by actually working with an estate planner because I hadn’t thought about the tax implications. It was easy to sit down with somebody and look at the whole picture. Of course, you’re considering what would happen if the event is today and you’re thinking about what if the event is way down the road. And you can change things, too. It’s not as though things can’t be changed along the way.
Cabin Chat with Glenn
Alexis: We’re going to switch gears back to Camp with fun questions that we often ask in a Camp setting, whether it’s cabin chat or some of our virtual programs. Can you share something that you wish other people knew about The Painted Turtle?
Glenn: I wish people could just see for themselves what a difference it makes. Also the bond between these kids. The fact that they share the same condition and that they’ve met the same challenges. It’s just really a strong bond, and we see it when they are introduced to their peers at Camp. And then we see them the next year and they are friends who’ve been getting together at other times. It really is a sense of community that brings people together who have this common cause, that it wouldn’t otherwise be easy for them to find each other. So, we serve a great service in that regard.
Alexis: What might someone be surprised to know about you?
Glenn: I think my Camp friends would be surprised to know that I believe I’m an introvert. And that’s not what they necessarily see. During my career, my job was always to be in the background. I was never the front person; I was supporting the CEO and the other executives. I was helping with speech writing and arranging for interviews for them. Really, it was not my job to be the showman at all. But we all take on that role at Camp because that’s what makes it fun.
Alexis: I know we have plenty of photos to prove that between skits and silly Olympics, and I think the latest with you jumping in the lake.
Glenn: I think some of my friends who don’t know a lot about Camp have been surprised to hear about things that I do, or they see a photo of me doing something. And they’re very surprised because that’s not the Glenn they know. But I also believe that I carry that on into my life as well. That I’m really, because of Camp, a different person, and my outlook is different than it would be otherwise.
Alexis: We even see it with campers. There is something about having the space to be silly and to do fun and crazy things that brings out the kid in us. Whether you’re a camper, a volunteer, a parent, a staff member, that, again, not just at Camp, but in, in life, having that space to be silly, and funny, and goofy really makes a difference.
Glenn: No one fails at Camp. And part of our credo is to always build up and we see that the kids get it. And that’s what happens. It’s really moving to see how supportive they are.
Alexis: We’ll end with two more cabin chat questions. And the first being, if you could fill a swimming pool with anything you wanted, what would it be?
Glenn: I’ve heard all of the answers, everything from marshmallows to one camper said, homeless people. I guess he was looking for somewhere for them to be able to go. But I think I might fill it with puppies, because who doesn’t love a puppy? When they see a puppy, and that many puppies. Oh, wow!
Alexis: I’ve got a big smile going ear to ear just picturing that. I’ll end with one more because I know you like to travel. If you could time transport or take a portal and be transported anywhere? Where would that be for you?
Glenn: I believe it will be the future. Because I’m all about the future. I’m not so much about the past. Sounds a little wrong for somebody who was a history major in college, but I enjoy looking forward. I don’t enjoy looking back. And so, I think it would be into the future. I’m not sure what the venue would be for that adventure. It could be space. It could be, another planet. It could be the ocean because I like the ocean a lot. But it would be the future for sure.
Alexis: Thank you, Glenn. I’m so appreciative of your time and for you sharing a bit more about your journey to Camp and your journey through Camp. I know we’ll have far more stories to share, and pictures that highlight your experiences. But thank you again for joining us.
Glenn: I always say that I leave Camp feeling better about the whole world. That’s even true for something like this where I feel like I’ve lived Camp for a few minutes with you. And I’m going to feel better about the world tonight.
Alexis: I couldn’t agree with you more. Thank you, Glenn.
Glenn: Thank you.