Donor Stories

The Foundation of Wesley Woods raises vital funds for wellness programing, pastoral care and rental assistance. The underlying impact on residents is immeasurable. Thanks to the generosity of donors like you and those who share their story below, we are able to support these programs and more than 1,800 residents across 10 communities benefit each year.


When Carol Erwin visited Wesley Woods Towers as a prospective resident nearly a decade ago, she immediately felt the warmth of the community. Having lived both domestically and internationally throughout her life, Carol has been exposed to a plethora of people and cultures. The community at Wesley Woods Towers (WWT) felt like home. She recently shared that the “friendliness of the residents and staff is ever present. I’ve always felt connected with the people here.” An active member of the WWT community, she enjoys organized social events and stays busy as the Chair of the Library Committee. The Foundation of Wesley Woods is grateful for Carol’s support of the Charitable Care program and the impact it makes on residents who have outlived their resources. “Contributing in this way is my pleasure.” Thank you, Carol, for your ongoing generosity!

Please contact Carson Raymond at 404-728-6204 or to learn how to leave your legacy at Wesley Woods.


Mrs. Linda Nalley has generously supported Wesley Woods for nearly five decades. Her relationship is both long-standing and multigenerational. Soon after relocating to Atlanta, Linda joined Decatur First United Methodist Church and contributed to the inaugural Mother’s Day Offering in 1976. She has been an active participant in our mission via her church, and her connection to Wesley Woods deepened when both she and her mother experienced the care of Wesley Woods. As a loyal donor to the Wesley Woods Mother’s Day Offering, and by including Wesley Woods in her estate plans, making her a member of our legacy giving Torchbearers’ Society, Linda has made an enduring impact on Wesley Woods. She poignantly reflects on her philanthropy by expressing, “I give to Wesley Woods so that others can share the blessings of care that my mother and I experienced.” 


by Susan Walraven

I was blessed to have joy-filled, loving parents. They both worked most of their lives and were active in church and community. They stayed busy and never paid anyone to do something they could do themselves, evidenced by a time I asked about the very shiny light pole at the end of the driveway. Dad explained he had held the extension ladder on top of the picnic table while Mom climbed to paint from the top of the light pole down. I learned to ask fewer questions that day. 

In 2008, Mom announced she was ready to move to Wesley Woods, and Dad always wanted what Mom wanted. I stayed close and watched as their Wesley Woods years were filled with love, growth, relationships, and care. Fourteen years later, they are now both in heaven, and I give to Wesley Woods out of gratitude and appreciation for the people, so many beautiful people, who truly loved Mom and Dad every moment of every day.

Championing Our Purpose

C.L. “Nikki” Fain lived life to the fullest. He had a penchant for fast cars—a passion he shared with his mother, Catherine, who continued to drive (and drive fast) well into her 90s. He was the third generation in his family to manage the food business founded by his grandfather in 1898, C.L. Fain Co.—a company he successfully ran until it merged with FreshPoint in 1992.

Pillars of the Atlanta community, his parents, Leake and Catherine, fostered in Nikki a sense of responsibility to those less fortunate. This was strengthened by the family’s close relationship to Wesley Woods’ founder, Candler Budd or “Preacher Budd,” as they affectionately called him.

Nikki’s father first met Rev. Budd at the State Farmers Market, where the reverend counseled World War II veterans. A friendship began that would last through their lives. Every year, the two celebrated their May birthdays together with lunch at Wesley Woods. While Nikki’s mother was cared for at Wesley Woods, the family’s connection existed at a much deeper level—a shared vision of helping those in need.

Thus, it was no surprise that when Lillian Budd Darden asked Nikki to consider leaving a legacy gift to Wesley Woods, he graciously obliged, leaving a substantial portion of his estate in honor of his parents. As a member of the Torchbearers Society, Nikki left an indelible mark on Wesley Woods. His legacy gift of more than $9 million will help Wesley Woods plan for future strategic growth as we prepare to serve the ever-growing population of older adults in need of housing in metro Atlanta.

Nikki’s gift is a legacy that will change the lives of older adults for years to come.

Please let us know if you have made provisions for Wesley Woods in your estate plans or if you would like more information on the Torchbearers' Society by contacting Diane Vaughan at 404.728.6286.

Lea (74) and Joe Andrews (77) are leaving their legacy at Wesley Woods by joining the Torchbearers' Society. Having no family to whom to leave their estate, they searched for an organization that provides programming and support to enrich the lives of older adults. They chose Wesley Woods because of its mission to create communities of connection, well-being and promise by providing wellness programming, pastoral care and financial assistance for housing and meals to those who have outlived their resources. Wesley Woods is grateful to Lea and Joe and other Torchbearers who are providing future support for Wesley Woods and the older adults we serve.

HOWARD BUSBEY left his larger-than-life legacy at Wesley Woods. He served on the board of directors and entertained residents through his theatrical group, the Phoenix Players. He was also a member of the Torchbearers' Society—leaving a paid-up life insurance policy to support the mission of Wesley Woods to create communities of connection, well-being and promise.

To learn how you can make a difference in the lives of older adults by leaving your legacy at Wesley Woods, contact Diane Vaughan at 404-728-6286 or


My husband, Smoky, and I have always appreciated the wonderful way Wesley Woods has cared for older adults. The combination of loving physical care, meeting emotional needs and providing spiritual direction makes Wesley Woods stand out among its peers in senior living.

Our respect rose to a new level when Smoky’s mom moved to Atlanta no longer wanting to live alone. Although we looked at many options for her, nothing came close to Wesley Woods. Mother Hicks loved living at Wesley Woods for twelve years and lived to be 101. We cannot repay the love and care shown to her during that time, but we have shown our appreciation by leaving a bequest to the Foundation of Wesley Woods in our wills.

Those who cannot give significant amounts during their lifetimes can be generous through their estate plans, thus paying it forward.

To learn more about leaving Wesley Woods in your will or estate plan please contact Diane Vaughan at 404-728-6286 or

Recently, in a medical setting I was asked, “What is your blood type?” I, without thinking, replied, “United Methodist.” After I saw the technician’s puzzled reaction, I was embarrassed until I realized it was the truth! As avid sports fans “bleed” a certain color for their team, I believe my blood is the color of a bona-fide United Methodist because it has been my lifeline for all the years of my faith journey. After 43 years of service to eight churches, Wesley Woods was a natural choice for my retirement. It was just as natural to include Wesley Woods in my estate plan. Leaving my legacy to the Foundation of Wesley Woods is my way of expressing gratitude to God who called me to the church and to this sacred community.

Please, join me in making Wesley Woods a part of your legacy.

- Ron Pruess, Torchbearers' Society member

My relationship with Wesley Woods began more than two decades ago when I was asked to serve on the advisory board of Talmage Terrace Lanier Gardens. Having served on the Athens-Clark County Commission, I understand first-hand the vital role Wesley Woods plays in serving older adults in our community. It brings me great satisfaction to know that Wesley Woods provides safe, affordable housing to individuals regardless of race, religion or financial means, and is heartwarming to know that residents who require financial assistance to remain in their Wesley Woods homes are never identified to others. All residents have access to pastoral care and wellness programming as well, which are more.

When doing my estate planning, it was gratifying to know that through my will I could continue to impact the lives of olderadults who live at Wesley Woods. I strongly encourage others to do likewise.

- Kathy Hoard, Torchbearers' Society member

"The very first philanthropic gift I ever made was to the Wesley Woods Mother’s Day offering in honor of my mother, Katherine Brannen. I felt called to contribute to Wesley Woods because, while I was a student intern and part-time employee in physical therapy at Georgia State University, I came to understand that not all older adults have a strong family or financial background. That belief, along with the message from my church pulpit from current residents who expressed the joy of not having to worry about how they would make ends meet, truly touched my heart. They shared how important the mission of Wesley Woods was in allowing them to reside in a community that felt like home and fostered their independence and health.

Over the years I have both volunteered and served professionally with Wesley Woods. Now, as a board member, I am even more proud of what charitable giving allows the organization to offer residents. I know that my contributions enable access to pastoral care and wellness services, as well as provide housing financial support and personal care for those who have limited means.

When I think about how blessed I am, I know that the inclusion of the Foundation of Wesley Woods in my estate plan will help enable this legacy and mission to continue long after I am gone.

- Beth Cayce, Torchbearers' Society member