Camp alumni lean in with unique gifts toward scholarships

Donors honor inspirational instructors and transformational experiences through planned giving, gifts of securities, and other creative giving options.

A black-and-white photo of Dr. Michael Bresler, M.D. playing timpani with the World Youth Symphony Orchestra during summer 1964.

Dr. Michael Bresler, M.D. rehearses with the World Youth Symphony Orchestra during the summer of 1964.

During the summer of 1956, Dr. Michael Bresler, M.D. (IAC/NMC 56-58, 60-61, 64; UNIV 65; IAC St 72, 77-79, 87-91, 02-04)—then a nine-year-old percussion student at Interlochen Arts Camp—performed with an orchestra for the very first time. Though Bresler went on to a decorated career in medicine rather than music, the memories and relationships he developed at Interlochen left an indelible mark on his life.

“There’s no way to exaggerate what Interlochen has meant to me, from my first day as a junior camper to today, over six decades later,” Bresler said. “Even now, most of my best friends are Interlochen connections, and I’m still enjoying the thrill of orchestral performance, which I first experienced at Interlochen so long ago.”

Over the years, Bresler has supported the young artists of Interlochen through both his professional talents and financial gifts. An emergency medicine specialist and Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at Stanford University, Bresler served as a member of the Arts Camp Health Services team for several summers. He also established the Dr. Michael Jay Bresler, M.D. Family Camp Percussion Scholarship to enable other emerging percussionists to hone their skills and forge lifelong bonds beneath the stately pines.

“Without financial assistance, Interlochen–and so many treasured friends and musical experiences–would never have been part of my life,” Bresler said. “Now that I am able to do so, I feel honored by the fact that I can help other young kids have the potentially life-altering experience of Interlochen that others made possible for me.”

Recently, Bresler deepened his financial commitment to the institution with a planned gift to support his scholarship in perpetuity. Bresler is one of the many Interlochen donors who have chosen to support Interlochen through unique gifts such as wills, charitable gift annuities, retirement plans, or gifts of securities.

Another former camper, who wishes to remain anonymous, recently celebrated their family’s multi-generational connections to Interlochen by gifting a closely held stock that they inherited from a family member who also loved Interlochen. The donor’s child, who is also a former camper, enthusiastically supported the gift.

Funds from the sale of the stock will be used to create two new scholarship endowments, which will be named in honor of two Arts Camp instructors who made a significant impact on the donor’s family.

“Our family has benefited from the Interlochen summer experience as wind players for two generations,” the donor said. “By funding two endowed scholarships, that opportunity becomes more accessible to other families and supports Interlochen’s mission in the long term.”

The anonymous donor has also given a cash gift to establish a deferred charitable gift annuity. Under this agreement, Interlochen invests the donor’s gift, and the donor receives fixed payments for life beginning at a date in the future. Interlochen will receive the remainder of the invested funds upon the donor’s passing.

“It was a joyful process to create the scholarships—which will be an ongoing source of connection for us as we see these funds allocated to students each summer,” the donor said.

Director of Planned Giving Kathleen Kasdorf says that deferred giving options such as estate gifts and charitable gift annuities reflect the creativity, vision, passion, and generosity of Interlochen’s alumni and supporters.

“It is always an honor when alumni show their deep love for Interlochen Center for the Arts by including us in their estate plans,” Kasdorf said. “We often talk about planned gifts as creating a legacy, but they're really about envisioning the future. Many of the planned gifts that are written into wills or trusts today will not be realized for decades. The alumni who create them believe that Interlochen and its mission of world friendship through the power of the arts will always be essential. They are creative thinkers, using their ultimate gift to provide for the young artists of tomorrow.”

For more information about ways to include Interlochen in your estate plans, contact Kathleen Kasdorf at or 231.276.7637. For other ways to give to Interlochen, please visit our website or contact the Office of Philanthropy at or 231.276.7623.