Donor Profiles: Miriam Sexton • Friends of the Earth

Donor Profiles: Miriam Sexton

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Miriam Sexton of Dunedin, FL has always believed in advocating for a healthy and just world. She was born and raised in Akron, OH, where she learned her love of nature from her parents. “My father grew up in Sparta, NC, and we visited his extended family there every year. I fell in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains at a very early age,” she says. 

Miriam has donated to environmental causes for decades. “I have increased these donations in recent years due to climate change, and so many environmental crises that could lead to the possibility of the extinction of humanity over the coming century,” she says.

Miriam attended college at Manchester University in North Manchester, IN, where she earned a degree in psychology, and earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Clark University in Worcester, MA. She then completed an internship at Boston Children’s Hospital in the Psychiatry Department and spend her career as a professor in the Department of Pediatrics for the University of Massachusetts. As a result, in addition to supporting environmental causes, Miriam is a passionate supporter of organizations that advocate for abused and neglected children. 

Upon her retirement, Miriam relocated to Florida, where she resides during the winter months, and Asheville, NC, where she lives in the summers. While in Florida, she enjoys walking along the beaches of Florida’s many state parks, including Honeymoon Island, where she can spot eagles, gopher tortoises and armadillos. 

Her hobbies include pickleball, hiking, photography, and walking the beach. “I try to immerse myself in nature every single day,” she says. This includes hiking along the Blue Ridge Parkway and the gardens of the Biltmore Estate in the summer in North Carolina, and walking along the harbor and on the beach and hammock trail on Honeymoon Island in Dunedin, FL in the winter.

When making her estate plans, Miriam chose to designate Friends of the Earth as a beneficiary of her IRA. In addition, “now that I am required to take withdrawals from my retirement accounts due to my age (Required Minimum Distributions), I have decided to use these to support charities, as this is one of the best ways to contribute without incurring stiff tax consequences,” she says. “It’s a smart move and provides a lot of satisfaction to give generously rather than get taxed heavily on these distributions.”  

For Miriam, the decision to designate Friends of the Earth as a beneficiary to her retirement plan was an easy way to ensure that our work continues to secure the future of our planet.  “We are clearly at a crisis point environmentally and the time is approaching when we may not be able to reverse the course of climate change. This is an essential time to do all that you can to help,” she says. 

“What could be more important than preserving nature, our environment, wildlife, and our oceans and seas?”