Coleman Family

Denis and Aletha Coleman (left) share their family's philanthropy story. Photo courtesy of the Coleman family.


In a recent conversation about their planned gift to Gladstone Institutes, Denis and Aletha Coleman shared a quote from the Shakespearean play Henry IV, Part 1: “The time of life is short! To spend that shortness basely were too long.”

“Aletha and I find ourselves in this scene; it is time to stop putting things off,” said Denis.

Heeding Shakespeare’s advice, the Colemans recently updated their estate plan and included a bequest to Gladstone based on the trust they have in the organization’s leadership. They are also inspired by the work Gladstone is doing and the impact it will have on human lives.

The Colemans began to embrace community service around the time that Symantec, a company cofounded by Denis, went public. That event provided Aletha with the flexibility to transition from working in the field of accounting to raising a family and serving on nonprofit boards. She was also mentored by noted Bay Area philanthropist Leonard Ely.

When Denis’s work responsibilities lessened, he followed in Aletha’s volunteer footsteps, joining the board of Cure Network Ventures, which is a corporation wholly owned by Gladstone to facilitate relationships with investors, contract research organizations, and established biopharmaceutical companies.

The Colemans spoke with Gladstone’s Philanthropy team about their legacy gift.

How Did You Get Started On Your Philanthropic Journey?

We established a charitable remainder unitrust in 1998. Doing so solidified our lifelong commitment to giving back.

What Are Your Charitable Goals?

We are blessed with good fortune and plan to donate at least 20 percent of our income and our estate to charity.

What Makes Gladstone Special?

We trust Gladstone and believe it will have a significant impact on improving lives. Sandy Williams, the former president, was an inspirational leader. Gladstone’s current president Deepak Srivastava continues Sandy’s excellence. Everyone we have met at Gladstone has tremendous dedication and expertise.

What Advice Would You Give to Someone Considering a Gift to Gladstone?

Get to know the organization: attend their presentations, meet with the researchers and members of the philanthropy team. They are great at talking about the science at your level and always from a big-picture perspective. Plus, it is a very welcoming place!

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